Last week I met a woman researching queer women’s lives in Pakistan. She’s American, half-Indian and very nice. And did not cause me to vomit up my lunch in any way.
I’m not sure why. First of all, she understood bisexuality. Secondly, she wasn’t patronizing and didn’t assume that all Pakistan women are oppressed and all queer women must be dying of suffocation. And finally, since queer women are pretty much suffocating in a way that queer men are not, I didn’t feel particularly defensive, apologetic or untruthful about talking about that.
So I spoke about my own experience and how it may well be exceptional in that I’m not answerable to my family for everything in my life. And how my girlfriend lives a life of compromise and is more answerable than I am. How it’s all about autonomy. It was pretty good.
But then she said, “I feel like I’ll go do this research, or this article, and show to folks in the West and it doesn’t do anything for the women it’s about.”
“Yeah,” I said. “It doesn’t help much.”
And it doesn’t. What good does it do a woman here who has been interviewed for a paper or radio? What does it do for discussion here? Nothing. Just makes us more defensive because now, in addition to being Islamic fundamentalist third world shits who beat their women, we’re also queer haters.
I suggested that she publish her work here. An article in Newsline or a book easily available in Pakistan – whatever the work is.
Anyone have other suggestions?