All Oppression

It’s been a while. We at Chay Magazine have been reassessing, rethinking, revamping and also resting and recreating as we figure out where and how to take this publication. Much has happened in the months since you last heard from us. Much of it has been horrible, such as the massacre of Ahmadis in Lahore in their own mosques. So now, as we move forward with a new look and some new opportunities, we also possess a new mission.

When we began two years ago, our mission was to talk about that which we do not talk about; not just say “chay” when we mean “chootia” or “chaalaak” or “charya”; not hide behind culture and civility those things that make us human, that are at the core of our being.

We chose sexuality because sexuality is the hardest spoken of and most difficult of challenges to Pakistani society and norms of acceptable behaviour. But we are finding that there are so many things we do not speak openly about, so many symbolic “chay” words that it isn’t enough to pick a niche and stay in it. Not talking about sex and not talking about religious difference are intertwined because we are equally silent in the face of sexual violence and a massacre. What is it that allows us to be up in arms about drawing images to the Prophet, but leaves us silent when a teenage girl in gang-raped in police custody for over three weeks. These silences must have the same root – they are all linked to possessing “sharm” and keeping your head down and not getting involved with things that don’t concern you. They are related in equal measure to occupying a privilege position in society, whether by virtue of money, or gender, or religion, and the fear of being deprived of privileges. In the words of activist poet Staceyann Chin: “all oppression is connected, you dick.”

So this summer, as we being our third year in publication, we say, “bay se Bol.” All oppression is connected and we must bring it all to light.


If you are looking for a place to voice your views, be they on sexuality in specific or the unspeakable in general, Chay Magazine is your platform. We will still and always centre sexuality and our bodies, but we recognize that aside from desire, love and identity, our bodies also experience war and violence and enlightenment and knowledge and God. We wan to talk about all of it. We believe, above all, in conversation.


Write in to chaymagazine AT gmail DOT com and tell us what you want to talk about.


A Gay of No Importance

It has been an audacious and difficult decision for me to finally come out and accept my gaiety. Coming out has seemed like deliverance from my every sin, for which I will be pardoned and will start living happily hereafter.

But I forgot that life isn’t a fairy tale with a King Midas with a golden touch or a magical kiss which can transform a toad into a handsome prince. I used to think that my perennial tears for being unaccepted and unloved would be gone as my queer folks will take me in with arms wide open. But it turned out to be a different story. I was unaware that my gaiety has to go through a lot of litmus tests before I could be certified as an Authentically Valid Gay. Continue reading “A Gay of No Importance”