Friday, October 24, 2014

Dear Ben Affleck: Words from a Woman raised in Islam (unedited)

A bit of a preamble before the unedited letter: 

To all you wonderful folk who have taken the time to read and help spread my message, my letter to Ben - I am truly honoured, humbled and grateful. Thank you so much. Your kind words and encouragement have meant a lot to me. Forgive me if I have been unable to thank everyone individually. 

There have been some interesting conversations surrounding this letter. Some have called me, predictably, an 'Islamophobe'. Some have called me, rather confusingly, an 'Islamist'/apologist. I certainly can't be both. I was told by someone that I was aiding genocide through such a 'hateful' piece, that's a bit of a stretch - come on now! And from the side that called me an apologist, I was apparently unrealistic and disillusioned to think any Muslims at all could be peaceful. *sigh*

Some have asked me why, if I have the courage to speak out, I have not left the faith? 

If you have followed me for some time - you will know that I am indeed an atheist - and a vocal one at that. I refer to myself as a 'woman born and raised in Islam' and loosely group myself in with other muslims when i say 'we' (because even as an ex-muslim I do consider myself as part of the community) in the article. I do not however refer to myself as a 'Muslim woman'. The difference is subtle, I know. The piece was for a Pakistani publication, and so had to be worded this way. Even publishing this was an act of courage on their part. I am especially grateful to them for giving me a Pakistani platform to speak from. That kind of openness on their part is truly game-changing. 

You might see some articles about this letter, with sensationalist headlines such as 'Muslim woman speaks out against Islam', etc. That is a misrepresentation, because I am not a practising Muslim. 

I'd also just like to take a moment to talk about journalism etiquette. I have been hearing from several journalists who want to reprint the piece - and that is excellent. Please, by all means reprint and help spread the message. If you get in touch with me, I will most likely welcome the opportunity to have my words heard by a larger audience. Maybe we'll even get a response/reaction from Ben? (Nah, that's a long shot) 

There have been some instances however, where journalists have felt it is ok to copy and paste my ENTIRE piece as a 'quote'. My artwork was also used without even asking or informing me. Even though *eventually* properly attributed to me, one would expect that it is a basic courtesy to ask the person who's work you are using to funnel traffic to your website. Even if the piece in question is titled 'open letter', and is intended for public reading, one assumes that common courtesy will still prevail. 

Its not just one publication, several large name publications have used my work without sourcing properly in the past. I have always found this unfair, but am really unable to control it, as a not-so-important blogger. When I call this behaviour out, I am told to show 'gratitude' for the extra publicity. :/ 

I was actually even told by someone that I had 'delusions of grandeur' for expecting that publications would ask before lifting my piece. 

I'm wondering though, if these publications would be ok with me taking their articles and publishing on my blog (as a quote) and attributing to the first name of the author? 

So there is a writer called Joe who has some stuff to say:

"Joe's words, Joe's words"

he also says:

"Joe's words, Joe's words, Joe's entire piece." 

Yeah, something about that would rub them the wrong way, I'm sure. I dare not try it. I'm also not a journalist, so what would I know? 

Anyhow, individual use is also different from public use. If you want to post it up as your Facebook status, go for it. Share it in any way you like. But if you are a reputable publication - I will at least expect you to ask before. Just ask... that's all. :) If you don't ask, there is not much I can do, my work is up on the internet....I cannot control what you do with it. But it would be nice if you asked before using it to get hits on your site. Cheers. 

And now below, I will share with you my original unedited letter to Ben. Which for obvious reasons could not be printed as is. 


Dear Ben, 

I am writing to you today, as a woman who was born and raised in Islam. I saw your discussion with Bill Maher and Sam Harris - And I must say, you did me a great disservice that day. Your heart was in the right place, of course, and it was lovely of you to step up and defend ‘my people’. 

What you really did though, perhaps inadvertently, was silence a conversation that never gets started. Two people attempted to begin a dialogue and you wouldn’t even listen. Why should any set of ideas be above criticism, Ben? 

Why are Muslims being ‘preserved’ in some time-capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it ok that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy -- waiting to be consumed? Why is it ok for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality, while we are told to cover our shameful bodies? Can't you see that we are being held back from joining this elite club known as the 21st century? 

image from
Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great -- but who stands in my corner, and for the others who have been oppressed by the 'religion of peace'? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. I am a blogger and illustrator, no threat to anyone Ben - except for those afraid of words and drawings. I want the freedom to express myself, without the very real fear that I might be killed for it. Is that too much to ask?

When I wrote a children’s book that carried a message of diversity and inclusivity for everyone, my life changed. My book, ‘My Chacha (uncle) is Gay' has the innocent anti-homophobia message, ‘Love belongs to Everyone’. This was not palatable to many of my Muslim brothers and sisters. 

Since that project I have been declared an ‘enemy of god’ and deemed worthy of death. All because I want to help create a world where South Asian children too can have their stories told, so they too can know that love comes in all forms, and that that’s ok. My muslim brothers and sisters were hit hard by this work because it addresses the issue of homophobia within our own community. It is not something they can pass off as ‘Western' immorality. Just like they deny that any issues exist within the doctrine of Islam, many deny that homosexuality exists amongst good, ‘moral’ muslims. 

Just like that, millions of people’s existence is rejected. Please do not defend people who think this way, and let me tell you Ben, many ‘good’ muslims do think this way.  

What you did by screaming ‘racist!’, was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. You helped those who wish to deny there are issues, deny them. You became an instant hero, a defender of Islam. It’s kind, it really is. I understand, because I too am plagued and affected by the issues brought about by actual Islamophobia. I have a muslim name and brown skin, my peaceful relatives have been pushed in the subway and called ‘terrorist’ for no reason. 

I get that. 

We must distinguish critiquing an ideology from being hateful towards a group of people. And for this reason I think that tackling the issues within Islam should be two-pronged. They must be brought up, but simultaneously we should stress that blame for these issues cannot be placed on individuals. 

I am Pakistan’s only sex blogger, I am also a woman. I am by default a lesser being within Islam. The fact that I talk about sex makes me even more worthy of disgust. Sex is not something easily discussed amongst muslims. And in the efforts of preserving our religious purity, we let some very immoral acts slide. Things that can often be justified by religious scripture. I speak to women every day who suffer under the religion of peace because they are not held as equals. There are things you can use to justify marital rape within the texts, and things you can use to justify pedophilia, there are things you can use to justify beheading infidels and apostates - just as ISIS does. That is not to say that ALL muslims are pedophiles, rapists or violent beheaders, or that Islam promotes these things. But if you are a person looking to justify such acts, you may find what you are looking for within the texts. Countless numbers of people suffer because of this, Ben. 

Who will stand up for those people? In the interest of being politically correct and ‘liberal’ we silence the voices of millions. I am turning to you because you were instrumental in starting this conversation. Those of us who want reform are muted by extremists, as well as the liberals who betray us in the name of multiculturalism. 

ISIS paints a horrific picture, so I understand the knee-jerk reaction to deny any link. Most muslims choose to interpret scripture in a peaceful way, but that doesn’t mean the raw material isn’t there for those who choose the path of violence. That material must be addressed.  

Can we talk about the blatant double standards and violation of human rights, for a second? Mosques are built throughout Western countries, usually without much issue. But in the hub of Islam, the heart of Islam - in Saudi Arabia no one but muslims are allowed to officially practise their faith. There are no churches, temples or synagogues - because Saudi Arabia will not permit any non-muslim place of worship to exist. Who will hold them accountable for such injustice if we hush everyone who speaks out against Islam? 

What is so wrong with wanting to step into the current century? Why is there shame in accepting a book that is over a thousand years old just doesn’t hold up anymore? There should be no shame. There is no denying that violence, misogyny and homophobia exist in all religious texts, but Islam is the only religion that is adhered to so literally, to this day.

In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies", like the Westboro Baptist Church for example. In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The lack of acceptance for any alternate sexuality, the punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, these things are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who “aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day?” Where are the Muslim protestors against Blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against Shariah? These sandwich-eating peaceful folk do not defend those suffering in the name of Islam Ben, and therein lies our problem.  

Maybe the points Maher and Harris were trying to make are more easily digested when coming from within the community, I can appreciate that. That is why I am writing to you, as someone who has personally been hurt by the lack of acknowledgement of these issues. 

If Muslims do not critique the atrocities that the religion *can* justify, then people on the outside will - and their message will not be listened to simply because of who they are. Its a vicious cycle, one that can only break if indeed, like Harris said, true reformers are empowered. 

I ask you and anyone reading this, to make an effort to seek out reformers from within our community, and support them in any way you can. 

If I were allowed to meet a man that is not my father, brother or husband unchaperoned - I would have loved to discuss this over drinks (which I am also not allowed to have) with you. So you see, things must change.


Friday, July 25, 2014


There were no references for me as a kid - in popular culture, storybooks or in the media that I was exposed to...there was nothing to find myself in, or any kid that looked like me. It was like sailing through childhood without an anchor.

There were no storybooks about Muslim kids, there were no movies about Pakistani kids. There were tons of cartoons, movies, stories about Christmas and Halloween...I wanted so badly for our holiday to be as fun. But it always seemed more about stuff the adults wanted to do, than making anything about the kids. It wasn't about passing on a feeling, a tradition that was made to be enjoyable for children, it wasn't tailored to fit us, we were tailored (literally) to fit Eid.

Sheer Khorma (a vermicelli milk-based dish) is not exactly a child-friendly dessert. A stark white envelope of cash is not really fuel for your imagination. Of course, some individual families may make the effort to buy gifts and wrap them up, do more kid friendly things - but as a whole Eid doesn't measure up. Let's face it. And it's on us, we as a culture don't make the effort to make things kid-friendly.

I am not a fan of religion, nor an adherent. But the Muslim part of me is my history. Its an important part of my identity. I may not be a practising Muslim who will raise Muslim children in the traditional sense. But all the biases and prejudices against Muslims do affect my life. I have a Muslim name, an olive-skinned face, my over 65 year old dad has been harassed on a plane before because of his Muslim name. My brother was yelled at on the subway and called a 'terrorist', because he has a tiny goatee. I won't even get into the countless issues my husband has had with travel because of his name. So being 'Muslim' is a part of my life, whether it is my religion or not. This is why I chose my next book to focus on the Muslim holiday of Eid.

I want our kids to see themselves in books, to see the diversity amongst Muslims. Every child in the world needs education about diversity, but Muslim kids are in desperate need of it. Increasingly so, fundamentalist Muslims interpret their religion in a way that is rigid, literal - with no room for diversity. In their eyes, there is only one kind of Muslim, one way to practice. People who practice differently or don't practice at all are worthy of death. This is the ignorant hateful mentality that is at risk of spreading.

Muslim children's stories should be told too. As I've mentioned before, in my opinion - Muslim kids have *very* little in terms of resources that are not written from an extreme religious perspective.

Diverse storybooks are also desperately needed globally, especially in multicultural societies like the one I live in, in Toronto. Non-Muslim children need to hear about Muslim children in a positive light, not just in the way the media portrays the culture and community...

I may be a non-believer, but I recognize that Eid or Islam, or religion in general is not going anywhere. Which is why I think its important to stress that we re-evaluate, reform and seriously update what we do have in existence.

I will not raise my future kids in the faith, but they'll definitely know what Eid is. And perhaps we will have a re-interpreted, non-religious celebration of it in our home. I'm sure there are plenty of other Muslim, Ex-Muslim parents who feel that way. But in order for that to happen, we need to bridge the gap between our lack of belief in the religion and our culture/history. As it stands right now, these aspects cannot co-exist peacefully.

What I have tried to communicate in the story below, is a delicate balance. It was incredibly difficult, and I don't know if I succeeded at all - but I will lay my aims out and patiently await your judgement;

I aim to speak to both non-theist families as well as traditional Muslims, while referencing the holiday of Eid. I hope to have created something that children will enjoy visually and conceptually. I also hope it is relatable to children from muslim families of all types, all over the globe.

I feel it's important to bridge this gap between the practicing and non-practicing especially in Islam, because it is really only us that interpret things so literally still. It is Muslims who cling on to blasphemy laws. It is Muslims who wish to punish people who have left the faith, and the less extreme wish to scrutinize those who are not as pious. In most other religions, whether you practice or not isn't regarded with such strictness...Imagine if our children were taught this fluidity, this softness and tolerance.

All I want to say is, that its okay - whatever your family is like and however they choose to practice or not practice... its okay. The degrees of religiosity of the characters in the book vary to a great degree. Some pray, some don't. There is mention of 'blessings from above' which I hope to be interpreted in whatever way you see fit - either the traditional 'God has blessed us' or simply that blessings from above could refer to the sun's energy and its link to our ecosystem...

I hope, for kids like myself who would have rather played Super Nintendo in their rooms throughout Eid parties, that more kid-friendly Eid things follow. I hope children can be taught that varying degrees of religiosity or non religiosity exist, that several types of Muslims exist. That Muslim kids in the West can see themselves in the general narrative...that they stop being seen as the 'other'...that the rest of the world gets to see Islam in a softer, more positive light.

For me, Eid didn't rock from an early age, and it definitely lost almost all its appeal when I was too old to receive cash (the only incentive I had). I think that happened when I was about 13...for my future kids I hope to include Eid in their life, and I hope its a little more fun by then. Its time Muslim culture did more things that were kid-friendly, that didn't involve harsh, rigid religiosity, it's time we let Muslim kids breathe, play, imagine...

This book is dedicated to everyone who has been told they are not the right kind of Muslim, to all those who have been told they are not Muslim enough, to anyone questioning and needing the space, to ex-Muslims who's history is delicately intertwined with their lives. To Ahmedis, To Shias, To Ismailis ...may we raise kids with more tolerance than the current generation.


Ps - I realize that some of you might scream 'Orientalism' about my minaret skyline, I will ask you not to be so tightly wound. A condo and skyscraper skyline was just not cutting it.

(click photos to enlarge)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Journey With Chacha

So a couple of months ago, I wrote an innocent little children's book, promoting nothing but love, tolerance and diversity. To my surprise, this little project took on a life of its own - I received so much love and encouragement, yes, even from Pakistan - that I was thrilled. For a long time the book was probably just being shared amongst people who loved it. Who loved the idea of teaching children in whats perceived to be an intolerant nation (and who are we kidding here, it IS) that being different is ok. This was meant to make us think about how we treat people, and how someone's orientation doesn't impact what kind of friend or relative they can be to you. It is told from the perspective of Ahmed, who is a child that is hurt and baffled by the discrimination that his uncle faces for being an openly gay man in Pakistan. And that is the reaction I have heard from several kids when this book is read to them. Most are upset at the 'trapped heart' page... and wonder why the heart is sad.

I was exceptionally fortunate to have come across some truly amazing educators/teachers - who wanted to make this book a part of their Pink Day resources. It was distributed electronically across one of the Toronto area School Boards and teachers did different things with it. Some read it in their assemblies, some did Chacha colouring pages with their class - and some have even printed it and kept in class as a resource! I cannot tell you how proud I am to be Canadian right now. Just beaming, that I live in a country where this type of revolutionary education is possible for young minds. Think about it, no one is born a homophobe, a racist, a misogynist - these are all learned behaviours. Imagine if we taught tolerance, in schools, if we taught the kids about all the differences amongst us, and to celebrate those differences, rather than discriminate against them. 

Chacha in the assembly!

Why I feel this book is necessary in a Pakistani context specifically, is because we have never really talked about this topic in our culture, on a large scale. I have personally seen people forced into the closet, or living in fear, not being accepted, and much much worse things. It is time to push back against the hate that has become part of our country's narrative. 

Unfortunately though, this book about love and tolerance, in the spirit of anti-bullying, was just not tolerated by some parents. There have been several hate-filled blog posts and articles talking about how Toronto does not respect 'religion' - to the writers I will say this in response - Toronto, clearly respects everyone, and respects diversity. Canada is a secular country, and our public schools are also secular. Religion is not part of the equation here. There is no disrespect meant, but when human rights are being violated and kids are being picked on, you can certainly expect that schools will step up and teach them about love and tolerance. What could you possibly find wrong with that? And if you take issue with secular education that doesn't exclude anyone, including your children - why not send them to a religious private school then? 

The article I came across today was ironically and rather nonsensically titled "I Got Bullied By the School Board on Pink Day"  Hahaha

Lets Take a minute. 

Seriously though, this parent is trying to masquerade her homophobia as tolerance, and complaining about the fact that the school board robbed her of her chance to speak with her kid about Homosexuality. You see, its the schools job to teach kids about things. Will you also feel robbed of the chance to talk to your child about trigonometry, when it comes up in school? I mean, homosexuality is just as much a part of reality and a part of life as trig. But to single it out as some anomaly, is incredibly homophobic of you. Do you also have issues when they read books to your kid that involve a mommy and a daddy? because you didn't have an opportunity to discuss 'heterosexuality' with your child? 

You are really missing the point here, and sadly being praised for your hateful ignorance, by like minded homophobic parents. 

What people like you are doing, is trying to bully the school board for stepping up on anti-LGBT bullying. Funny how that works... and then playing the victim, as though you were somehow bullied. Can you see how bizarre that sounds? 

"I love Canada, and I think it’s the most amazing place to raise my kids, with a deep understanding of diversity and acceptance of all kinds of people."

Um, no - you clearly don't think that Canada is so great, because it wants to teach your kids that LGBT rights are a thing. There is no age for teaching children about human rights, if you are opposed to this, then clearly you prefer a 'selective diversity' - maybe a school that teaches to respect kids from all races and religions, but excludes kids based on their or their parents' orientation. Human rights are human rights, you cannot pick and choose what is covered under the term. 

"my biggest goal in life is to ensure that my kids are extraordinary citizens."

Well thats great. Because that's exactly what your child's school was trying to accomplish. 

"But this week I felt disappointed. Disappointed by a system that stripped many parents of their right to raise their kids the way they want."

Oh, wait.... What? So they can't teach your kids that all people are people.. and deserve to be respected equally.. my bad. Yeah man, they totally STRIPPED you of the right to raise your kids as intolerant humans. Silly school. Now they have been corrupted, and made diversity-loving forever. But worry not, there is still hope.... with your hard work, you can return your hateful thoughts to their minds. You can repair the damage done, and get rid of the silly concept of equality from their minds - equality shouldn't be used EQUALLY...across the board... come on.... anyone knows that. Equality is a concept to be used to further your own personal beliefs, even if those may exclude some. 

"The truth is: Pink Day is awesome. It reflects our need to be understanding of others, and open minded towards differences. Which is ironic, because just this week, I felt a little bullied too for my difference of opinion!"

I think you are a little confused about what Pink Day is, I can direct you to a link, where you can read about it, and perhaps learn that it is specifically about anti-homophobic and anti-Trans bullying. So how exactly were you 'bullied'? Because your child was read a book that tells them to respect everyone regardless of orientation? Have you forgotten that you think Pink day is awesome? Then why do you hate what it stands for? 

"Many parents have spoken up on line as well about feeling hurt because their kids were read a story about a Muslim Pakistani boy whose uncle was gay. Now don’t get me wrong, am not here to judge anyone. "

Yes, here is a small sampling of the very civil, and 'hurt' comments Pakistani, Muslim Parents are leaving about a project that is supposed to teach love. They seem very 'hurt' indeed - but you know, maybe people who's entire existence is being defined as a 'sickness' or as 'immorality' - might be a touch hurt too.... but who really cares about them anyway. We must protect our kids from Satan's wishes for diversity and tolerance. So sorry that you were hurt by someones existence getting in the way. Ugh, hate when that happens.... I mean why can't they just 'not exist'.. right? 'Equality' would be so much easier to explain to our kids then. 

"If my four year old came home from school and asked me why his friend has two moms, I would sit and tell him all about how people are different and how he needs to understand that everyone chooses to live their life according to what they feel is best.
If my six year old brought home a library book about a family with two dads, I would read her the book,
Wait, so you're mad that it was exposed to them in the assembly hall vs. the library? Interesting. But sure, I can try my best to make sure it IS available in plenty of libraries, so many kids like your own can take them home and talk to their parents about it. I'm so sure you would've been thrilled to pull 'My Chacha is Gay' out of your kids' schoolbag. I can just sense how excited you would've been from your article. 
 and talk to her about how she felt after reading it. I would tell her that people do things differently everywhere in the world, 
(Except Pakistan, I suppose :/ )
and give her examples of families of single parents, and grandparents who raise their grandkids when their parents are no longer alive.
Oh, you mean kind of like this page? 

So let me just get this straight, you're just mad that the school taught them exactly what you would, just before you got a chance to? I mean, like I said, I'm sure there are a lot of things they learn in school that you haven't had a chance to talk to them about yet... that is kind of .... you know... the point of ....sending them to 'school' - if this is the crux of the issue - have you considered homeschooling? Because then you would get the first chance to teach them everything...and wouldn't have to compete with those pesky 'teach-ers'! 

"When my children come across homosexuality on their own  – want to be able to teach them."

Yeah, I feel your pain. I would hate it too if teachers taught my kid something. :/ 

And what if they come across homosexuality for the first time when someone is bullying another child and they decide to join in because they have never been taught 'its ok to be different in that way'?  

"What happened across several Peel Board Schools this week was hurtful and saddening. I’m outraged as a mother."

 YES. So saddening they tried to corrupt our kids by teaching them to respect people equally. You should be outraged. But you still think Pink Day is Awesome right!? Just not what it stands for... yeah ....makes perfect sense. 

So when white supremacist parents *shudder* are offended that their kids are taught about racial diversity and tolerance - they have every right to be outraged too right? Because they should have had the 'right' to teach their kids about that when they felt they were ready to deal with such a 'subject'. 

"I’m fortunate that my kids fall under the jurisdiction of the Halton Board."

Wait what? why are you claiming to be bullied by a school board that your kids aren't even a part of? Please. Get your story straight. 

I have gathered some words from fellow Pakistanis to show that there are plenty of us who DO support the project, its just that no one wants to hear from us because that wouldn't fit the stereotype as well. Stereotypes are rather convenient. 

Ali S. : "This book is a really good first step in the right direction. There needs to be a wider discussion about homosexuality and LGBT issues, at least in the south asian communities and this book does that, targeting the very foundation. When children read this book, they WILL question their parents and teachers about this. Initiate the discussion. You do this and maybe we can combat homophobia with the next generation standing behind us."

S: "I hope the schools don't give in to these parents' requests."

Aima: "I 100% support the message that the story 'My Chacha is Gay' is trying to spread. I am a Muslim and try my best to be a practicing one. I do not understand how a God, who's many names include Kind and Merciful would be okay with people hating and being disrespectful to His mankind. My religion has taught me to Love everyone no matter what caste, creed or beliefs they have, or whichever way they live their life. Why? Because all were created by the Almighty, and if you claim to love your God and hate His creation as they don't share your mindset, then your claims are false I'm afraid. LGBT rights are as important as any other.
Get yourself educated, educate the children and let them grow in a more tolerant world. No calamity is going to come because of love and respect."

We see what you're doing here. Please don't try to 'Bully' the school board. Kudos to them for doing something revolutionary. Homosexuality is just as natural as heterosexuality, and it exists everywhere in the world.... it's time we had this discussion surrounding Pakistan, and in different cultural contexts. 'My Chacha is Gay' has already been translated into a couple of languages online... maybe we need to translate it into more! Lets spread love, not hate! 

If you would like to support our crowd-funding project, you can find it here - you will be happy to know that articles like yours only motivate people to donate to this cause and that we are almost halfway funded in less than 2 weeks! Cheers! 

Do check out this Toronto-based radio show the book was featured on. Some very interesting comments from parents... :/ 


UPDATE: The crowdfunding campaign was a huge success! Thanks to all you wonderful people who supported the project! Now its time to get the book into more hands :) Get your copy here

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Chacha is Gay

I've written and drawn a rather impossible children's book to get published in Pakistan. No one would want to touch this with a ten foot pole, I'm sure...some day perhaps. 

And no unfortunately, 'The West' did not pay me to spread this immorality and taint Pakistan. ;) Would've been nice though. 

There is no denying that we are a homophobic nation. And an oddly homophobic nation at that, where same sex experimentation is sometimes temporarily ok amongst boys, because they don't have access to girls (girls however, must remain virgins till they are sold wed). A nation where two men walking down the street holding hands is perfectly acceptable, but a straight couple might get shot for doing that (I honestly almost got driven over for holding my husband's hand while crossing the street, full burqa'd woman called me a slut through the window as she drove into us, forcing us to let go of each other). A playful ass grab is nothing amongst guy friends, but any mention of gay rights or equality, and the homophobia comes pouring out. Aside from all that - theres also the er, state-sponsored homophobia, which declares homosexual activity illegal. 

I mean that is fucked up. 

What better place to start, than with young fresh minds to combat such twisted thinking.

Pakistani children today, severely lack resources that are not painted over by a religious extremist brush. We have things for kids that glorify the burqa...sure. But not much that really embraces the 21st century. They've banned YouTube for fucks sake. That and the breast cancer page on wikipedia or something - because it contains the word 'breast'. Heterosexuality is barely allowed to exist in the public realm, homosexuality is unfathomable. 

As a country, we're drifting towards a more extremist mentality every second. And as a result - so are our kids. They are the country's future. By the time I have kids and they are grown, I want there to be a country left. 


Exciting news.... My Chacha is Gay has been translated into Italian, you can view that here


Folks: We are officially live now - please visit our crowdfunding page and donate what you can... you can also help by spreading the word! 


UPDATE: our crowdfunding campaign was a huge success, thanks to all of you wonderful people. Now its time to get the book into more hands! Order your copy here !