Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pakistan: The Heterosexual Nation

Inspired by other flag mashups I saw on the interwebs. 

Hey Eiynah,

This is Jawaad - A 21 years old university student. I've been following your blog for about a month or so and I found it really interesting. Firstly, I would like to tell you straight away that I'm a heterosexual male and by saying this I don't mean to disrespect homo/bisexuals. I just said it so you wouldn't make any presumptions on my sexual orientation. LOL.

Any ways, I've read a lot on the internet and heard this from a lot of people that from every 100 men, 5-10 are usually gays. I usually see a lot of western TV shows, Movies and in them you can see from a group of 10 friends usually 1 turns out to be a gay.

So right to the topic, I personally have a very large friends circle (male/female both) but i've never come across any one who claimed *not* to be a hetero. Usually in Pakistan, whenever a male starts to earn, everyone in his family considers for him to marry. I mean like its all natural, no one could just change their sexual orientation. Its just the way we are created. And if the above statistics are somewhat legit, we see that EVERY man in our society marries a WOMAN once he is capable of supporting his life partner. I mean, what if the guy turns out to be a gay? Does he suppresses his feelings and is too shy/afraid to admit even to himself that he is a gay? I have a friend, who was my school mate and when we were in our teens and discovered about this SEX thing and PORN we used to talk about it a lot in school like every other person. We were really good friends back then, and we used to visit each other's houses alot. Once i went to his house and just checked his porn collection on his computer and i was really surprised to see that he also had a collection of men fucking men videos other than the normal pornography. I was literally shocked to see this and when i confronted him he just kind of admitted that he is actually bisexual and turned the subject. You might be considering what actually is the point of all this fuss i just wrote but honestly, it just keeps bugging me sometimes. I mean, why people are too afraid here, what's causing them to not admit it or maybe every male in Pakistan is heterosexual which is not true obviously. Any thoughts?

Oh....well.....I have a lot of thoughts on this matter, Firstly; there is no such thing as 'normal pornography' - there isn't much normal/average sex in straight porn either. Porn is a big show, gay or straight....And secondly; the demographics of sexuality have always been difficult to pinpoint exactly. Sexuality is fluid, and labels can be too vague or not entirely accurate for people to identify with. That is, just because someone is attracted to the same sex on occasion, doesn't necessarily mean they identify as gay. The usual 10% estimate might actually be higher depending on whats included in your definition of 'gay' - does it mean someone who has had a gay experience? (If thats the case, believe me Pakistan's percentages would soar!) 

Does your definition include only those who 'openly' identify as gay? And in that case, how does one account for the reasons they might have to remain in the closet - such as; homophobia, religious intolerance, persecution, family pressure, no resources or system of support, etc. 

Jawaad, Pakistan is simply not a very gay-friendly country. People that don't fit the mould are often punished, severely. Why would they come out of the closet in such an environment? Where they can be harassed and abused, both mentally, physically - where they could potentially be killed... So I hope this answers your question of, 

"I mean, why people are too afraid here, what's causing them to not admit it"

Such factors should always be considered when you wonder why there just aren't that many gay people in Pakistan. 

They are there, but just not open about it. In our culture, young people are sadly still not given much independence regarding major decisions in their lives. Others decide who they will marry, when they will marry, when they will lose their virginity, etc. This is why, gay men in Pakistan often marry women, because that is simply what is expected of them, and there is no feasible alternative....without the fear of discovery. I assume this addresses the part in your email where you ask,

"we see that EVERY man in our society marries a WOMAN once he is capable of supporting his life partner."

"I mean, what if the guy turns out to be a gay? Does he suppresses his feelings and is to shy/afraid to admit even to himself that he is a gay?"

Its very sad for both parties in this situation, but especially the one who has no knowledge about their partner's orientation. I find that to be one of the saddest deceptions ever. Often in these situations, a gay husband is free to sleep around with whoever he pleases, because he still does have the male privilege that comes with owning a penis in our culture. No denying that. "Men will be men, they have high sex drives, and shouldn't really be held accountable if they have extramarital sex. Must be something the wife is not doing right, perhaps she is unable to satisfy him..." < ------ these, fawaad, are often things said when such a situation becomes public. I have heard them being said more than once about wives who's husbands just happened to be gay, through no fault of their own. 

I have not heard many stories of gay women marrying and having same-sex affairs with women. Though I'm sure it does happen. Equally sad, and equally deceptive, but sometimes in our intolerant culture there truly is no option. If there is an option to stay unmarried, I would recommend that for sure. 

But to answer your question, yes, they must have to suppress their feelings, and go through with a life changing decision they have no control over. I would say the word 'afraid' is more accurate than 'shy' - there is fear of losing loved ones; friends, family.... there is fear of persecution, harassment, shaming the family etc....all these fears, that should not be a part of our world in this day and age of science. Where we know variety in sexual orientation is a perfectly natural occurrence and not some symbol of a curse or whatever other ridiculous shit people say. 

I was in fact recently speaking with a desi gay man I know, who is 'out' to his family, and is very confident in who he is.... but even his family is 'praying' for his conversion to hetero-ness. Clinging to the hope that he might marry a woman some day. I just don't get it. Pakistanis often have trouble accepting things different from 'the norm'. 

We really must evolve past our witch-hunting phase. We witch-hunt all types of people.... in the 21st century. We have to sign a bloody declaration of idiocy on our passports, that should tell you something about our levels of tolerance.

1. I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad the last of the Prophets.
2. I do not recognize any one who claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or any description whatsoever, after Prophet Muhammad or recognize such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer as Muslim.
3. I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an impostor prophet and an infidel and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori, Qadiani or Mirzai groups, to be non-Muslims.

----For any non-Pakistanis reading this, yes...this is a real thing we have to sign before we can get a Pakistani passport. We have to denounce Ahmadi Muslims and call them 'imposters'. Just a little glimpse into our state sanctioned discrimination of minorities. Imagine what Pakistani Ahmadi Muslims feel, when signing this...just to get a passport. :( -----

Now, back to your story Jawaad, you were shocked by the discovery of gay porn on your friends computer. Ok.

I can understand the shock if you have never been exposed to different sexual orientations before. But really, its not that shocking.... people should be allowed to be attracted to and jerk off to whoever they like - as long as both parties involved are consenting adults, and no one is being forced to do something they are not comfortable with, then what does it matter what kind of porn he watches? Hopefully it will not change your friendship. I'm sure he felt uncomfortable too, acknowledging something that is so frowned upon in Pakistani society. Kudos to your friend for having the balls to admit it. 

I hope this clarifies some things for you. And thank you so much for addressing this topic. I'm sure so many people wonder the same things... but don't want to ask. 



  1. While reading this post I realized that although there are homosexual men in Pakistan, none of us really know about the prevalence of homosexual women in the country. I'm a Pakistani and not once have I met or known about a homosexual women although I know some guys who are homo but haven't come out openly. The thing is, I think that I'm bisexual but I'm not really sure because this might just be a phase. So if you manage to get interviews from any lesbian or bisexual Pakistani women/girls, please DO post them here. I really want to know more about this. Cheers!

    1. I do have several interviews of women who identify as lesbian and bisexual up on the blog :)