LGBT rights in Pakistan
||The English used in this article may not be easy for everybody to understand. (February 2012)|
There are few to no LGBT rights in Pakistan. Since 1860, it has been illegal to participate in homosexual acts (to have sexual contact with a person of the same gender). Unlike in the neighboring country of India, this law has not yet been repealed (or gotten rid of). Homosexuality is also thought of as a taboo vice in Pakistan. The major religions in Pakistan do not approve of homosexuality. Because of this, many people in the country are against homosexuality and other forms of alternative sexual orientation.
Pakistan is officially an Islamic Republic. However, in reality, Pakistan is largely secular (non-religious). It mainly has Anglo-Saxon laws which were inherited from the British. More and more, there are trends (or patterns) of liberalization (becoming more liberal) in the country. Globalization and social tolerance are also increasing. Because of this, public gay parties have been taking place in the country, and these parties have been thriving for a number of years.
Transsexualism and intersexuality[change | edit source]
Most South Asian nations have a concept, or idea, called "hijra", or third gender. People who belong to prevails the third gender are thought of as not being either man or woman. Pakistan is no different. In the country, there is a vibrant culture of hijras. They are sometimes called transsexuals in English writings. Like transgender people in many countries, hijras are sometimes ridiculed (made fun of), abused, and treated violently. However, they are also accepted, to a point. This is because of the position they held in precolonial Desi society. For example, they are welcome at weddings, where they will dance as entertainment for the men, and are also welcome among the women.
Hijras are usually tolerated in Pakistani society. They are thought of as blessed in the Pakistani culture. Most hijras are thought to be cultural descendants (or relatives) of court eunuchs from the Mughal era. Hijras are thought to be born with genital dysphoria. People sometimes feel afraid that the hijras might curse them so that they become the same way. Because of this, people listen to the hijras' needs, give them alms (or charity), and invite them to events and special occasions, like the birth of a child, a child's circumcision, or weddings. Hijra communities live a very secretive life. Because of this, many people see the hijras as mysterious.
LGBT politics[change | edit source]
A number of the more liberal, secular parties in Pakistan tend to agree in principle to granting rights to various LGBT communities in the country, but are afraid to act too openly or quickly due to fear of extremist religious groups such as the Taliban who are against any such rights.
Time and again, various such parties and leaders have said that Pakistan needs to be more open, in public, about sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Yet, the sense persists that no public organization, club, or society would be allowed to endorse (or officially support) LGBT human rights, or even act as a social network for LGBT people, in the Islamic State.
Only now, recently, in 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has acted in a very bold manner and defied the religious right, by granting for the first time, by granting three basic rights to transsexuals i.e. (a) the right to be recognised as a 'third sex or gender' (b) the right to vote as Pakistani citizens as transsexuals and (c) granted the fixation of job quotas in the public/government sector, for transsexual people. These are all landmark decisions by the apex court and hopefully augur well for LGBT rights in future.
Related pages[change | edit source]
References[change | edit source]
- Walsh, Declan (2006-03-14). "Pakistani society looks other way as gay men party". London: The Guardian Newspaper. http://www.guardian.co.uk/gayrights/story/0,,1730228,00.html. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Kiss and tell By Rabab Naqvi unday, 25 Oct, 2009
- "Out-on-their-luck teens turn to prostitution". The Daily Times (Pakistan). http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_22-4-2004_pg7_22.
- "Eunuchs warn of power outage protest dance". TopNews India. http://www.topnews.in/eunuchs-warn-power-outage-protest-dance-232318.
- "Eunuchs warn Mepco of ‘dance protest’". The Dawn Newspaper. http://www.dawn.com/2008/04/08/nat38.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
- "Fake bills business thrives in Pindi, Islamabad cities". The Daily Times (Pakistan). http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007\11\14\story_14-11-2007_pg11_1. Retrieved 2008-05-06.