Lifting the veil: Queer life undercover in South Asia

AMZ-photo

“Secret” – fine art photo by Ali Mehdi Zaidi

The struggle of Muslim homosexuals in Pakistan, South Asia, or as expatriates is not just about LGBTQ rights but part of the larger fight for inclusion and pluralism within Islam. My essay published in The Boston Globe Ideas section (July 31, 2016)  on South Asian and Muslim attitudes towards homosexuality, reproduced below with additional links, info and photos, as well as parts not included in the final published version. The attack in the Orlando gay nightclub put the spotlight not just on the perpetrator, but his victims — Muslim gay (queer) folk who are particularly vulnerable to homophobia besides facing as Islamophobia in the West, and receiving little or no support from the Muslim community at home and abroad. Plus they are now increasingly being targeted by extremists claiming legitimacy from Islam. Thanks to all those who took the time to speak to me, gave me feedback and entrusted me with their stories, and to the Boston Globe editors for their empathy and openness.  Continue reading

Combatting corruption with ‘zero’, Bindiya Rana, and more

This post is based on a note I began compiling over a week ago, sent to my yahoogroup the other day, which includes links to some articles on corruption and politics and a somewhat related note on Bindiya Rana, the Khwaja Sira (hijra) who features in Ragni Kidvai’s film ‘Bindiya Chamke Gi’…

‘Paying Zero for Public Services’: An Indian NGO called 5th Pillar gives the public a powerful ally, an imaginative way to combat petty corruption: a zero rupee note (“eruption against corruption”! – love it). Why can’t we do this in Pakistan?  (thanks Omar Ali)

Speaking of corruption: “The NRO judgment cannot be all about the evil in Asif Zardari. It must be seen on its own. It is a reminder of the time when the military’s illegal acts against Nawab Akbar Bugti were being tolerated because the latter was an unsavoury person” – Flaws in the judgment‘ by Asma Jahangir
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