Just finished watching “How Gay is Pakistan?” starring Mawaan Rizwan. Having grown up in the UK, Mawaan Rizwan visits the place his parents immigrated from – Pakistan. Mawaan attends a ‘gay party’ and meets with gay and trans gender people living in Pakistan. He also visits a clinic in Lahore run by a gay man who grew up in America, but had his citizenship revoked when he contracted HIV.
Sexual attacks and rape on LGBT in Pakistan is high. Often families will reject LGBT family members, which leaves LGBT more vulnerable, perhaps even living as young people on the street. Mawaan interviewed a couple of trans women who talked about their experience living in Pakistan.
Of course the percentage of LGBT born in Pakistan is roughly the same percentage as in any other country around the world. People don’t choose to be LGBT, and of course share the same variety of aspirations as cis gender and heterosexual people. The documentary talks about the difficulties for trans women to have stable relationships. Marriage it would seem is totally off the cards for same sex couples.
Mawaan decides to explore the options given to those who identify as homosexual in Pakistan. Expensive white pills are the answer! Apparently after 3 months of taking the expensive white herbal pills, your same sex attracted feelings are totally suppressed and you’ll be free to pursue heterosexual relationships.
Towards the end of the documentary Mawaan helps to give out condoms and information about STD’s. The condoms were given out to heterosexual men who have sex with other heterosexual men, the reason given that they are unmarried and can’t have relationships with women.
Overall the documentary was insightful on the issues facing LGBT in Pakistan. The question remains whether Pakistan, a country that has Islam as the official religion, can move forward with LGBT acceptance and equality. Certainly those participating in the documentary are on the front line of LGBT activism in Pakistan and deserve our admiration for their courage and strength given what they face.