ZERO FEET AWAY

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.”