CC Malayalam Blog

Join News Letter


Peak Oil

Climate Change

US Imperialism


Latin America










Gujarat Pogrom



India Elections



Submission Policy

Contact Us

Subscribe To Our
News Letter

Name: E-mail:


Gender Identity And Homophobia
In Pakistan

By Tahmina Rashid

01 June, 2007

Pakistan is in the grip of homophobia after the same sex couple was imprisoned for three years for perjury. The sensational response that this incident received in Urdu and English newspapers highlights our homophobic attitudes, Issues surrounding gender identity and lack of empathy as human beings. Many draw reference to Islamic Laws as well as Pakistani laws dealing with homosexuality. Homophobia is not unique to Pakistan; Western societies are equally unable to grapple with the complexity of related socio-legal issues and social attitudes towards same sex relationships.

Comments suggesting homosexuality as a western issue, outside our social norms & spectrum or a psychological problem needs to be referred to specialists rather than leaving to people who lack compassion for fellow human beings and have a very narrow view of human psychology and issues. People born without a defined male or female biological and psychological identity may suppress their feelings and continue to live with the socially assigned gender identity. However, Pakistani socity seems to lack the capacity to deal with these issues in a humane manner. Generally, such people become social outcasts and this was reflected through the language used by newspapers as she-couple etc.

Keeping our social attitudes aside for a moment, we need to contextualize the question of homosexuality. It's not a new phenomenon and religions have similar views on homosexuality - the only accepted form of gender relations is between a man and a woman and procreation being the prime driving force. Quran has referred to homosexuality on three different occasions:

What! do you come to the males from among the creatures. And leave what your Lord has created for you of your wives? Nay, you are a people exceeding limits.
(Al-Shuara, V: 165-166)

What! do you indeed approach men lustfully rather than women? Nay, you are a people who act ignorantly. (Al-Naml, V: 55)

And (We sent) Lut when he said to his people: Most surely you are guilty of an indecency which none of the nations has ever done before you. What! do you come to the males and commit robbery on the highway, and you commit evil deeds in your assemblies? But nothing was the answer of his people except that they said: Bring on us Allah's punishment, if you are one of the truthful. (Al-Ankaboot, V: 28- 29)

Two important things need to be kept in mind, the accepted and prevalent form of sexual relationship is heterosexual therefore refers to gays and not lesbians. The act of penetration is not involved in this situation therefore; previous works refrained from penalizing or criminalizing lesbian relationships. Current Pakistani laws do not deal with such issues and need serious debate not hastily made moral judgments on issues as well as people concerned. It would be unwise, even to suggest that courts can give capital punishment or life imprisonment in such cases without examining the issues involved. Homosexuality neither is a curse, nor vulgarity spread by local media, or obscenity preventable through prayer and Friday sermons.

Many areas in Pakistan have historically been known homosexuality, therefore suggesting that this is a new phenomenon, is distortion of our own social realities. If religion leaves few things outside the purview of laws, society should also learn to leave people alone and not judge them because they have different choices in life. Hardly have we heard voices of reason, compassion and love, and need to stop punishing people just because they have the capacity to love differently.

Also Read

The Case Of Shahzima Tariq And Shamial Raj
On Entering Into "Same Sex" Marriage

By Nighat Majid


Leave A Comment
Share Your Insights

Comment Policy

Digg it! And spread the word!

Here is a unique chance to help this article to be read by thousands of people more. You just Digg it, and it will appear in the home page of and thousands more will read it. Digg is nothing but an vote, the article with most votes will go to the top of the page. So, as you read just give a digg and help thousands more to read this article.


Get CC HeadlinesOn your Desk Top


Search Our Archive

Our Site


Online Users