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Hookup Apps Are Giving Pakistan’s Gay Sex Scene A Helping Hand (Job)

4624090988_42c159073f_bPakistan may hate the gays, but it sure loves the gay sex.

In June, we learned that Pakistan leads the world in Google searches for “man fucking man,” among other similar terms. This fact defies a recent Pew Research Center study, which found that only 2 percent of Pakistanis think that society should accept homosexuality. Clearly, some people are not practicing the hate they’re preaching.

So it’s not surprising that BBC reporter Mobeen Azhar has discovered a thriving underground gay scene in the country’s largest city, Karachi, where gay men use social media to meet and have sex. Azhar spoke to several people connected to Karachi’s gay scene, including a man identified only as Danyaal, who helps to organize invitation-only parties.

“These days there are smartphone apps that use GPS to tell you how close you are to another gay person with an online profile,” Danyaal explained to Azhar. “There are thousands of gay men online in Pakistan at any one time.”

Those numbers make sense, when you realize that 23.5 million people live in Karachi. Yet despite the prevalence of gay men having sex—often in unexpected places, such as the city’s largest shrine—it is less common for them to enter into long-term same-sex relationships. Pakistan is a patriarchal country governed by sharia law, which penalizes homosexual acts. As a result, gay men and women often enter into heterosexual marriages, regardless of whether or not they continue to engage in homosexual intercourse.

Azhar interviewed one lesbian couple, Fatima and Beena, who disagreed about the future of gay rights in their country. While Fatima believes positive change in on the horizon, Beena adopted a more pragmatic view.

“Gay rights in America came after women had basic rights,” Beena told Azhar. “You don’t see that in Pakistan. You are not allowed a difference of opinion here. My father is a gentleman but I wouldn’t put it past him to put a bullet through my head. I’m all for being ‘true to myself’ but I don’t want to die young.”

By:           Tommy Jordan O'Malley
On:           Aug 28, 2013
Tagged: , ,

  • 14 Comments
    • Kevin
      Kevin

      What a way to end an article – about how a father will put a bullet through his daughter’s skull. No wonder many of your readers leave the most inane comments on your site, they view people that different from themselves only in the most negative terms. Any second now we’ll see a bunch of anti-Muslim comments and things to the tune of “screw Pakistan”.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B Damion
      B Damion

      Jesus…is this shit for real?

      “My father is a gentleman but I wouldn’t put it past him to put a bullet through my head. I’m all for being ‘true to myself’ but I don’t want to die young.”

      I am dumbfounded by the ending of this article.I am so proud to be an American. I can only wish her all the best. What a set of hypocritical muslim people.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B Damion
      B Damion

      I’m apologize if I offended anyone. Maybe I should not have said that. I was just so stunned.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B Damion
      B Damion

      Also, I feel as though this is a rehashed story. Queerty! are you having a slow news day? or… is someone getting lazy?

      Aug 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Polaro
      Polaro

      So much wrong with theocracies…this is just part of it. If I were gay there I would do whatever I could to get the heck out.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stache1
      Stache1

      @Kevin: Yes because there’s so much to admire in that kind of culture.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg
      the other Greg

      @Kevin: “What a way to end an article…”

      Are you saying Queerty should have put that part – about how a father will put a bullet through his daughter’s skull – at the beginning or in the middle of the article, instead of at the end?

      Aug 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • iluvcakes
      iluvcakes

      @Kevin:

      You sound dumb and really that is a realistic view for that area and it was a quote.

      Didn’t they hang 2 15 year old’s there in public for being gay? Apparently of queerty’s readers are also naive.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kangol
      Kangol

      This is great news for gay men, but the ongoing problem of women’s equality remains. We should remember that we can’t all be free if some of us aren’t.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mykelb
      mykelb

      The religious should just be wiped off the planet.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin
      Kevin

      Queerty should write articles that provoke thoughtful, not emotional responses from readers. Making people angry, afraid, warm-and-fuzzy, or aroused is remarkably easy, but making people think – an action that requires energy – is not (indeed, readers become upset when Queerty issues articles that challenge their perspectives). As I predicted, comments like “The religious should just be wiped off the planet” have appeared, just as nearly every article mentioning some religious body has (readers routinely and naïvely seem to believe irreligion would ameliorate all of the world’s woes). And of course at least three comments are directed at me negatively. It is as though Queery’s readers are here to fulfill some personal need for moral superiority, whether that be over the subject or object of an article, dissenters in the comments section, or both.

      I’m keenly aware of how morally hollow many aspects of Pakistani culture can be. However, what I’ve noticed among many Queerty articles is that its commenters want to zero in on the culpability of the people in question (Pakistanis in this case) without considering other variables. For Pakistan, such factors include, but are not limited to, the history of the British Raj, its blasphemy laws that remain to this day, and Britain’s decision to draw borders along religious lines. These are things that incubate intolerance. But ye commenters that also dismiss Pakistan wholesale do an immense disfavor to people such as Salman Taseer, a governor who challenged Pakistan’s blasphemy laws who was assassinated for it. Or the transgender television personalities that attempt to create a serious conversation around gender. Or even these gay Pakistanis who are too afraid to have a voice for themselves. To completely disregard and abandon people who are attempting or have a longing to usher their nations and cultures into modernity is utterly reprehensible and a reflection of sheer thoughtlessness. Shame on all of you.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 2:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin
      Kevin

      At the risk of being abrasively persistent, I’m driving this point further. For those who have questioned to me whether anything good has ever come out of Pakistan, I’d like to ask whether anyone recalls Professor Abdus Salam? Perhaps not. He was the first and only Nobel laureate to emerge from Pakistan. He is responsible for making ground-breaking discoveries in the world of physical science, including research into the Higgs boson – one of the most fundamental components of the physical universe. What of him? One might think that Pakistan would enshrine him among its most revered citizens (a sentiment India and Bangladesh have extended to him). Instead, because Salam was an Ahmadiyya (a member of an Islamic minority sect) he was disavowed, silenced, and ultimately brushed under the rug.

      Ahmadiyyas, it turns out, face legal isolation, discrimination, and violence. In 1974, the Pakistani government declared them to be non-Muslim, and in 1984, they were prohibited from even addressing themselves as Muslims. They are banned from making publications. They are even forbidden from making the Hajj – the religious pilgrimage to Mecca and one of the five pillars of Islam. Ahmadiyya mosques have been shut down, desecrated, or destroyed. The same has happened to Sufis and Ismailis, two other religious minority sects. All of these sects practice far more pluralistic and peace-loving philosophies than their orthodox Sunni contemporaries. Yet according to the commenters here, they are among those that “should be wiped off the planet” and have nothing admirable to contribute to Pakistani culture.

      Because of all of this, someone who made the world a better place became a victim of circumstance. Dismissing Pakistan wholesale also dismisses people like Abdus Salam, a man who tried and failed to imbue a spirit of innovation and discovery into Pakistani culture. I’ll say this again: let us not make the mistake of ignoring those who would move an otherwise backward country forward.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 4:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg
      the other Greg

      @Kevin: An analogy would be if Hindus in India, after independence, were to reinstate the practice of suttee (burning a widow alive on her husband’s funeral pyre) that the British abolished, and officially reinstate the caste system at a governmental level, etc.

      But the Hindus haven’t done that.

      I agree that Partition was a disaster – but it was certain Muslim leaders who were clamoring for Partition the most because they didn’t want to be a minority. If India had become independent in one piece, it wouldn’t have stayed that way for long anyway.

      Thanks for telling about the Ahmadiyya, since I’d heard the name before but was unfamiliar with them. But I suspect they might fare better under colonial rule – and they probably did, right?

      You have a point that there is always an element of racism in the comments here. There are always comments for instance that “Jamaica should be nuked,” Pakistan “should be wiped off the planet” etc. – which would obviously, also kill all the GAY people there. (Nobody ever seems to get quite that frantic about Russia!)

      Aug 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WinterViolets
      WinterViolets

      Anyway, here’s a sample of what Pakistan’s gays think. Worth hearing their opinion on the situation too, no?

      Anyone who describes Pakistan as ‘a gay man’s paradise’ is either delusional, or is someone who thinks with his dick. Paradise for gay people — gay men and lesbians alike — is not a homophobic, patriarchal society where males have the ability to engage in anonymous sexual activities with other males. Pakistan is a male supremacist society where males interact with each other relatively freely. Sexual activity can be a part of that. This isn’t surprising, and it definitely is not enough for Pakistan to be a great place to be gay.

      Gay people need more than just the ability to have sex easily. Lesbians in Pakistan do not even have that ability, but even if we did, it would not be enough. What we need is to not be discriminated against if we come out, to be able to be gay openly, to be able to live with our partners openly without fear, to benefit from the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to marry. What we need is for our existence to not be regarded as immoral or criminal, for people to stop scapegoating us, for gay children and teenagers to be able to grow up and discover themselves without shame and guilt. We need the hetero-patriarchal system to be abolished. Lesbians need for patriarchy to be abolished more urgently than gay males because we are also oppressed as females. And gender non-conforming gays need for genderism to be abolished too, since we are also oppressed as people who violate gender norms.

      The author has not distinguished between mere same-sex sexual activity and homosexuality. Straight people, bisexual people, and people with no determinate sexual orientation can and do have sex with those of the same sex. The frequency of same-sex sexual activities between males is not an indicator of how free gay people are, or even how free gay men are. It is simply an indicator of how free males are to indulge themselves sexually, and to interact with other males. This is compatible with gay males and lesbians being oppressed. Underground sex between males does not even partially constitute gay liberation.
      (Source: http://gruffybear.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/no-mobeen-azhar-pakistan-is-not-a-great-place-to-be-gay/)

      Aug 30, 2013 at 11:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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