LGBT Rights And Practise in Pakistan

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Pakistan are considered taboo. Even in large cities, gays and lesbians have to be highly discreet about their sexual orientation. Pakistani law prescribes criminal penalties for same-sex sexual acts.

The Pakistan Penal Code of 1860,according to Wikipedia Source, originally developed under the British Raj, punishes sodomy with a possible prison sentence and has other provisions that impact the human rights of LGBT Pakistanis, under the guise of protecting public morality and order.

Punishment can lead up to the death penalty under sharia law, however, there are no known cases that the death penalty was ever enforced for homosexuality according to ILGA. Despite being illegal, acts of homosexuality are not always prosecuted in the country. Nonetheless, HIV infection, which affects heterosexual men and women as well, remains a serious problem.

Sexual encounters between same-sex partners are more accessible in big cities such as Karachi and Lahore, for gay and bisexual men in particular.

In the 2010 US National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, seven per cent of women and eight per cent of men identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

There is no such survey in Pakistan but one can assume that the same or a lesser percentage of the Pakistani population belongs to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

A child and adult psychiatry fellow Mr Hassan Majeed MD quotes in Express Tribune in a Blog about some Gay incidents taking place in Pakistan:

He says : Almost a year ago, in Lahore, a man confessed to the brutal murder of three gay men he met online after having sex with them. He took the self-assigned role of a moral policeman and claimed he wanted to teach the victims a lesson. His morality, if it existed, did not stop him from being involved in sexual acts with his victims. It raises the thought in his case that a deeply-closeted homosexual can often have violent impulses towards others because of his psychological and social conflicts.

Another incident according to him is:

One of my teenage patients, whose parents immigrated from the Indian Punjab, is currently struggling to come out to her family as a homosexual. She is afraid that her family, based on cultural and social traditions, will reject her. She is going through therapy to accept her sexual orientation as well as trying to keep a healthy relationship with her family. This fine balance is hard to negotiate and is causing personal conflicts, affecting her academic performance in school as well.

A Blogger in BBC News Magazine states Karachi as ‘A Gay Mans Paradise.’According to him: Underground parties, group sex at shrines and “marriages of convenience” to members of the opposite sex are just some of the surprises that gay Pakistan has to offer. Under its veneer of strict social conformity, the country is bustling with same-sex activity.

Daniyal, as he’s asked to be known, is a 50-something businessman who lives in an affluent part of Karachi, and uses his smartphone to organize Karachi’s gay party scene.
“One of the first things I did online, maybe 12 years ago, was type in G – A – Y and hit search. Back then I found a group and made contact with 12 people in this city,” he says.

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

Source BBC NEWS Magazine:Sex between men occurs in some very public places – including, surprisingly, Karachi’s busiest shrine.
Families go to the Abdullah Shah-Ghazi shrine to honor the holy man buried there and to ask for God’s blessings, but it is also Karachi’s biggest cruising ground.

Every Thursday evening, as the sun sets, men from across the city gather there. A tightly packed circle is formed and those in the center of the circle are groped by those on the periphery.To outsiders it looks like a writhing mass of men huddling around one another. Some even describe it as a “mysterious religious ceremony”. For participants, it’s anonymous group sex.

“We get important people – police, army officers and ministers too”
Ahmed, Masseur.

There are stories also about Lesbians residing in Pakistan:One such couple(Source BBC News) is Beena and Fatima living in Lahore.It is reported:

In Lahore, twenty-something lesbian couple Beena and Fatima have come up with an inventive way to stay together.
Beena, although not publicly “out”, says she is optimistic about the future. “I think we’ll have a marriage of convenience. I know some gay guys and maybe we’ll do a deal so we put in money together and they have one portion of the house and we’ll have another portion. We may as well do that.

“Fatima, who contributes to an invitation-only online gay support group, believes it’s only “a matter of time” before Pakistan begins to debate gay rights openly, and people declare their homosexuality with pride.However Beena is less hopeful.

On June 9, 2016, Vice News made a small documentary in which they showed different members of the LGBT community in Lahore. Young men who are sex workers were shown in the video and they explained the difficulties of being gay in Pakistan. The documentary also focused on some underground organizations that work for basic human rights for the LGBT community. In the film, there is a short clip shown of a young boy getting beaten up and is later sodomized with a tree branch after he was caught in homosexual acts by conservative religious society members. It also displayed how gay and transgender people use social media apps like Tinder to get in contact with other people of the community.

It may take a generation for any real change to occur – even liberal Pakistanis tend to regard sectarian violence and economic instability as more pressing issues. But there will still be private spaces where gay Pakistanis can express their sexuality openly.

Discrimination and disapproval of the LGBT community, along with the associated social stigma, mostly stem from religious beliefs and make it difficult for LGBT people to have steady relationships. Nevertheless, the LGBT community is still able to socialize, organize, date, and even live together as couples, if done mostly in secret.

Neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions are permitted under current law in Pakistan and are scarcely ever brought up in the political discourse according to Statistics on Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

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