Thursday, February 2, 2012

I don't Know how I'll tell my Family.....

Being desi is hard enough..don't even get me started on that....but as we've been discussing...its pretty damn complicated, gut-wrenching, confusing... etc... to be gay and desi.

Our people are so judgemental as it is, and so afraid of anything that's different from 'the norm'...that its almost impossible to be accepted as a respectable member of Pakistani society unless you fit their mould to a tee. And despite being straight myself I've had a hard time being accepted by Pakistanis all my life. A couple of tattoos, a few piercings.... and in my younger days, hair that was every colour of the rainbow...excessive black eyeshadow, bah these superficial things were what kept me kind of..uh 'separate' from the desi crowd...especially in university... where i was most 'expressive'...

.... i remember the desis would hang out in this one corner of the food court at our uni.... and every time i'd walk past there'd be whispers....and they'd say things like 'astaghfirullah', 'tobah tobah' ... assuming i didnt understand what they were saying....and if they didn't have that wtf, omg you're a devil-worshipping freak attitude, then they often treated me like i was an 'interesting specimen' ...asked me questions about my beliefs etc. I felt like I always had to defend my existence around other desis, or watch what I was saying, lest it be misinterpreted and held against me, simply because I chose to look different. For example, a desi aunty, who's own daughter was sleeping around town... told my mom to keep an eye on me because my interest in animals was unnatural... and she offered that perhaps I was sexually attracted to cats as an explanation for why I dressed so strangely.

Yeah.... you heard right.

This crazy bitch had the audacity to say that to my mom... and my mother promptly told her to shut the fuck up, in politer terms I'm sure - but, thats the kind of incident that punctuates my life from time to time... especially with desis.

And if people are not offering weird theories about why I'm so into dressing in black...they have often been interested in my 'quirkiness' for all the wrong reasons. Now unlike the other brownfolk at my school there was one character in my dorm who did want to befriend me, a seemingly sweet enough guy, from Islamabad.... He was always very interested in what I had to say, or what I was doing... a little too interested it seemed, but he was engaged and his fiance was also in our dorm... so I thought nothing of it. Till one day, on a routine visit to my room... this guy just outright said, "Hey if you ever have a guy spend the night in your room... do you mind if I come watch? That would really turn me on." And he wasn't joking, he was all seriousness. 'Course, people just say that kinda shit sometimes, or if you're really into watching people be intimate, then I assume you wouldn't bring it up so nonchalantly, with someone you don't know that well. But I was so weirded out - that I passed it off as a joke at the time...and quickly got him out of my room. He got weirder and creepier as time went on, the more I avoided him, the more he'd follow me around. When I started going out of my way to not talk to this guy, I started receiving weird pictures of myself in envelopes under my door. Pictures that were taken from far far away, from a height leaving our dorm building, me bringing back food to the building with friends, etc. It just really creeped me the fuck out. Then finally after a long stretch of not seeing this guy for a while I saw him in the hall...ugh my skin crawled, something about the way he looked at me...he said..."so have you been getting my pictures?"

WHAT - THE - was him all along, and I kinda knew it in the back of my mind too...but thought I was being paranoid. So he was telling me how he had got this crazy zoom lens and proceeded to describe how from his 12th floor dorm room he'd photograph me.... *shudder*

At that point, honestly, I was afraid...I just went cold. I ended the conversation...walked away... and didn't see him again, because it was the end of semester and I think he graduated then. Went back home to get married. I often thought of that poor girl he married...and how she prolly knew nothing about this stalker side of him.

But i got majorly sidetracked there.... My point is this, because for a lot of my life i've looked very different from the norm, I tend to bring out the crazy in people. Especially desi people...I have a wealth of stories I could bore you with, but I'll spare you for the time being. Right now I just want to say that I can seriously relate to feeling like an outsider, to feeling different from being treated being cast out...Of course, how I feel is nothing in comparison to how a gay desi person feels. Sure I look different, people may whisper and say I'm a devil worshipper, blah blah...but they get over it. Though they are disgusted, they aren't completely and utterly scandalized like they are with homosexuality.

Plus, with age one outgrows these appearance based rebellions. The more mainstream my appearance becomes the more accepted i become. But you can never outgrow your sexual what then? Its definitely a lifetime of struggling. Knowing that the second you show your true self, everyone you love could walk away from you.

Its slow, but people in the desi world are starting to speak up. There are websites, online forums, blog posts, etc. There are places for gay (desi) people to be heard. It can't be long till it trickles into the mainstream. This is how acceptance starts. We have to stop being afraid of things, beliefs, people - anything that's different from what we're used to. And the more people that are willing to talk about it, share their personal experiences, their stories - the more avenues it'll open up for those who live in fear.

No one should ever have to live in fear, or hate themselves.

I've gotta hand it to my next interviewee, It really takes a lot to open up when you're Gay and Pakistani. I hope this inspires other gay Pakistanis to be proud of who they are.

Bilal, 24, Male

At what age (approximately) and how did you come to know about sexual intercourse?

I think i was about 10/11, when my interest was piqued by a sex scene in a movie with Bruce mother shouted out “FORWARD THE SEX SCENE”, so the next day when no one was home, i played the sex scene over again in slow motion. Then i looked it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica..this was pre-internet days mind you, so that was my only source of information, and boy, did they have some detailed diagrams of human anatomy.

At first i was sightly shocked, then disgusted, after a little while it began to interest me so much so that if any film had a good “scene” in it, i would hunt out an opportunity to watch it by myself.

Is Pakistan sexually repressed as a nation?

God yes! It was a taboo subject when i was a teenager, and amongst the teens of Pakistan today, it still seems to be. Let me tell you this, guys conversations in Pakistan have ALOT more homosexual overtones than Ive ever seen in my life. I suppose when you cant act as openly with the opposite gender, it leads to a such circumstances.

A girl who had sex with a guy was instantly labelled a slut, whilst the guy a hero, that i never understood quite frankly, and still don't, and this view i think, sort of stems from the above dilemma. If they didn't make such a big deal about sex it would hardly be an event of any particular noteworthiness

Have you ever had/Do you enjoy having sex?

Yes, wasn't so great the first time though - I was thinking way to much about it. After that it become much more enjoyable, it was more about about responding to my partner, then being expected to do something - Without getting too graphic it all about counter acts rather than thinking about what would be enjoyable.

On premarital sex:

I'm a live and let live kind of guy - i see no particular harm in it at all, as long as you know what you are getting into, and you know its right. Sure, i frown upon one night stands, but that's only when it comes to me. People are different, if you can handle it, then i say go for it!

On Arranged Marriage:

Doubt this really applies to me, for obvious reasons - but here is my 2 cents on arranged marriages - They have just as much of chance of success and failure as do love marriage - it depends entirely on the people getting married and what they make of it.

As for its effect on sexuality, there is no doubt that in places like Pakistan, many a gay man has probably married a woman instead of coming out to their family.

I however, have no such intention (of getting married that is - to a woman at least anyway), i don't know how I’ll tell my family, but God help me when the time comes.

Have you had more than one sexual partner in life?

No more than two

On Sex & Equality:

Difficult one to answer .You can try and make it pleasurable for your partner, and you will succeed most of the time, which results (in my limited opinion) in great sex. Id like to think of it as a sort of natural selection - If you have good sex, you stick around, if not you move on and find someone you enjoy having sex with and vice versa.

But then again, good sexual compatibility isn't always the basis for a good relationship.

And i think Ive somehow missed the point of this question completely! But there you go!

What do you think nature and the physical differences between men and women have to do with gender roles in society?

I was born in a very matriarchal family, so my perceptions on gender are rather skewed - In my opinion there are no reasons why women cant do stuff men can - the obvious things that pop into mind are “Oh But men are generally stronger” ( the standard Pakistani response). The only limitation that exist are the ones that society put on you,

Have you ever experienced a multiple orgasm?

Is that even possible for men? Im not the One and done kinda guy, but id imagine for men, its more the intensity of the orgasm than the number.

Have you ever found or had your g-spot found?

Apparently its my prostrate. I'm not entirely convinced. Ill definitely let you know when i find out.

Do you know anyone who has sex but has not yet experienced an orgasm? What are your thoughts on that?

Although i don't know anyone like this personally, i have heard of it happening, and to be honest I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Do you think about sex everyday?

Initially id like to say not really, but its always lurking there, in my subconscious

Do you think sex plays a major role in your life?

No, its not central to it. For some reason id think i was a very shallow person if it did.

On Masturbation:

I quite enjoy it - there seems to be a unfortunate amount of negativity associated with it, even though it has somewhat decreased somewhat recently. Unless its getting in the way of your sex life, there shouldn't be a problem

Would you morally, ethically or in any way, have a problem with marrying someone who had had sex with someone before you?

Nope. Everyone has a past. It might be difficult to deal with it, but you got to.

On Pornography:

Healthy in small doses, Can be quite addictive, and set up false expectations. As long as you remember there is whole lot more to sex than “Wham Bam, thank you ma’am” , enjoy it!

To what extent, in comparison with the rest of the world, do you think people practice bestiality (sex with animals) in this country?

Oh god. Really? No.. I wasn’t really aware of any such practices.

As far as sex lives are concerned, do you ever wonder what other people in this country are doing and what do u think they are doing?

I have rarely wondered how other peoples sex live are going – the married friends I know, however, seem to have no problem sharing this information with me for some reason…(Maybe I just have one of those trusting faces).
In general however, id say there is definitely more to it than meets the eye – especially because its such a hugely taboo topic!

What are your thoughts on homosexuality?

Its natural as heterosexuality. I honestly don’t believe you can be turned gay, nor do I believe it’s a product of nurture. I just honestly wished my family saw it the same way. Id like to think they would want me to be happy, but it’s not likely that they will accept me

Do you think education is important, when it comes to something like sexuality?

Definitely - it would make coming out for me so much easier. Most of the the Pakistani community are stuck with images of old stereotypes when it comes to sexuality - the effeminate gay man, the butch lesbians, the in-denial bisexuals - and even though these stereotype are alive an well in the global gay community, that's not the all there is! I use to deny being gay for the same reason - i couldn't be gay - i wasn't effeminate in the least bit, so i how could i be gay?

It wasnt till i moved to London that i realised you don't have to be girly to be gay, and slowly started accepting myself.

Long story short - if the community were educated and stopped all the stereotyping, LGBT folk would have a much easier time.

* * *

On a side note: you all must think I look like a serious freak now eh? hahah no no.... not really... but believe me just having blue hair is enough to scare off the aunties and uncles. But most of that was in the past, I have definitely toned it down... but every now and then I still like to rock a corset ;)

* * *

As for the interview, *sigh* Bilal is someone that I personally found very inspiring. He truly captured my imagination. I certainly wasn't done with him yet. A man comfortable with his sexuality...better yet, a Pakistani man..comfortable with his 'alternative' sexuality. Do you know how hard that is to come across? Of course I wanted to pick his brain a bit more...

So tune in next time for my follow up questions :)

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