A while ago, an American documentary person came to town and started asking my gay male friends for interviews. At first, one of my closest friends decided to meet up with him, thinking it might be a good hookup. The contact he’d got the name from had suggested some such. When he called this American man, he found out that in fact he wanted to learn about gays in Pakistan, the oppression, the heartbreak, the Islamic culture and how, HOW are you coping?
My friend got really pissed off. I mean really pissed off. Now, he’s easy to confuse and discourse analysis may sound like an exotic sexual position to him. But he knows his shit. And he knows when someone is trying to exploit him. So, while I never met the American myself or spoke to him, I trust my friend’s general assessment, albeit with the tiniest pinch of salt.
Apparently this man arrived and derided not just this gay friend I’m talking about, but another man as well, for not being activist enough. They aren’t in the liberation struggle, they just get laid or sit around, and why aren’t they doing more for the queer cause and by the way, can you answer on camera?
What’s the point? Why do people go off to some other country and find out what the natives are like? I’m all for anthropology, but why do assholes get involved in it? My friend’s major complaint was that this man was going to make some documentary out of all this and sell it to the west as a picture of Pakistani oppression and Pakistani perversion, rolled into one. And I can’t blame him. I mean, why would I want to broadcast to the world that we live in a dictatorial country which is extremely Westophobic and Westophilic at the same time, and so has a terrible relationship with sex and sexuality, and therefore is a bit of a freak show?
It’s not that that isn’t true. It’s sort of true. But what a ridiculous approach to it. “Look, they’re such religious freaks, but check out all the ass fucks and girl-on-girl action that goes on in those tish tosh private homes!” Fuck you.
I want to tell a story, too. But if it’s “our” story and we’ve defined “us” with some consideration for reality and the option of leaving the “us” whenever, then “we” set the fucking terms.