Let’s Try This Again

My friend Hadi has been blogging like a fiend recently and he’s been talking about it ad nauseum – how everyone loves his love stories but no one’s so much interested in his intellectual ramblings. Ab kon usko bataye that we all feel that way! :)

So I’m jealous. And I thought, let’s see if we can get back to this blogging thing.

Firstly, thanks everyone for the kind words and concern about my disappearance. I have no been eaten up by the grate monster of Paki homophobia. I’ve just gotten involved in a bunch of stuff and it became difficult, after a time, to figure out what to say. Sometimes there’s so much going on that to write about it is to go through it again and, for a while, there weren’t enough hours in the day.

There’s been some activism – a collection of queers, some research, some strategizing about what to do. Can we have a queer rights agenda in this country? What does it look like – a pride march? – lobbying the state? – community building? It seems that in the past couple of years a few initiatives have sprung up that are dealing with all this stuff. There is Pakistan Queer Movement, and an organization called O – these are LGBT initiatives. Then there is a transgender-based initiative called GIA – Gender Interactive Alliance. It’s interesting to see this sudden awakening. I wonder what caused it – some sociologist would know what kind of critical mass makes these things pop up. Anyway –

Having taken part in some of this gatting togather, I have thoughts. I will now post them.


Childhood Homophobia

When I was 15 or 16 years old, I had a falling-apart relationship with a boy who wasn’t at my school, a really close best friend whom I adored, a crush on another boy who’s now a good friend, and a (now very occasional) sex-buddy who was a girl.

Quite possibly at this time it was a toss-up who was more important to me – my boyfriend or this best friend of mine. He was waning and she was waxing, and I definitely worshipped at the altar of her. Still do, to some extent.

She was utterly straight and very homophobic. (She’s stopped with the homophobia now.) She used to say that these two sisters who were a year behind us were fans of my various studenty activity because at least one was a total lesbian. She had a crush on me like I wouldn’t believe, said my best friend. I said, heh, um, heh, no, why would she even know she’s, i mean, it’s scary IimagineIdon’treallyknow you know to say um heh really?

At school, there was also a couple, classic butch-femme dichotomy, who flaunted their lesbianness and didn’t give a fuck about anyone. Someone said (I think it was Boy I had Crush On) that they’d ben seen in the back, making out; and someone else said they’d been seen having sex; and someone else said; and someone else said.

I talked such trash about those girls. I would roll my eyes along with everyone else, laugh at all the disgusting jokes, the whole nine yards. My heart slammed in my chest every time they came up in conversation, or walked by when we were all sitting together.

It’s no fun pretending you’re not something you are, and it makes you act like an abominable shithead.


Anxiety Dreams

i woke up at 4:30 this morning from a dream in which, for the sake of some activisty project, my partner and i were moving into a new house, kind of in a garden, but not with other houses. Sort of aeon flux-y. Max from the L-Word is there and while i know my partner is there, shes’ not in the dream. she’s always just around the corner. As night falls we start closing the walls which are open, and made of canvas. and then slowly they materialize into glass walls and doors. But as the walls got more solid i realized that there are people coming in towards the house to out me and they have my real name and will out me to everyone in my life. Max is there to protect me but he can’t do too much because the house is made of canvas. My partner never comes out from around the corner.

There are things in my life other than my sometimes-closet. I mean, it’s really a small, though significant, portion of my life. And yet somehow it features regularly in my anxieties. I don’t know why.


Coming out again and again and again

I’m visitig family these days and my cousins, all of whom are younger, all have significant others. The youngest is 16 and he’s got a new girlfriend he’s terribly excited about. The oldest is 20 and has bee with the same guy for at least 4 years. All my cousins, despite my secret predictions, are straight (so far, anyway). And the whole famikly is really open to them being in relationships that are probaby quite physical.

I’ve been feeling awkward and strange since I got here because I can’t talk about Lovely to any of them. Not that I couldn’t come out to this side of the family: I could. But my mom doesn’t want me to because I’ll leave and then she’ll have to deal with making sure my aunt doesnt’ blab to my grandparents (who really can’t handle it and shouldn’t have to, I guess) and the low grade generica homophobia that is going to come from them. It wouldn’t be fair to my mom and it would be a huge family event and so, yeah, I shouldn’t tell them.

And yet. My aunt, my oldest cousin, her boyfriend and I went out for a late night dinnery snacky thing last night and my aunt asked me if I was being fixed up back home. I talked like it was completely normal and I talked about not having a boyriend and not wanting to get married any time soon (not exactly true, the marriage thing, but what can you say if you haven’t got a boy). In short, I acted totally straight and it didn’t even ruffle me, I didn’t even stumble over it. I just had a deep urge to say, well, I do have someone and she’s awesome. I had a deep urge to say, well, my father does try but the reason he’s being as weird as I’m describing to you is not because he’s old fashioned but because I came out to him and he wishes I wasn’t in a relationship with a woman. I wanted to say all these things and I was unable.

I suppose it’s easier. Or better. Or something. I feel like I’m betraying Lovely every time I hide our relationship from someone. Because, barring the most difficult, dangerous situations, she would want to be out. She is less out than she wants to be because of me.

Once upon a time, for a very short time, we were living abroad and we were out to everybody. And that was good. I didn’t understand a year ago when I finally made contact with some queer women in Lahore why they felt like it was so hellish to live there, even when they had some support, like we do. Now I’m sort of getting it. Maybe we should move.

Anyway. I wish I could tell my family. I think they’d take it in their stride. Weird stride, but still.


It’s comin’ on

Lovely and I have been together for over a year and a half now. Our lives are great, ma sha Allah. We have our own place, we have our friends that we are out to, we have family support – hers more supporting than mine, oddly enough (probably the baptism of fire thing). We’re both working and making some money, we’re both saving and buidling our lives. We have a tv where we watch the horrible news of our lives; we have warm blankets to sleep under; we have a housemate who adores us and whom we adore. Her family sends over food regularly, since they nearby. Life is good, alhamdu lillah.

So we’re starting to organize around queer issus. Right now, we’ve set up a semi monthly meeting of queer folk. We had our first one last week and it went oddly, but well, I think. The next one is middle of next week.

It’s scary. You don’t know who all the people are and you don’t know who to trust. And they don’t know if they can trust you. That’s probably our greatest asset, in the end – mutual distrust.

I don’t know what we’re building, but we’re building.


Full Disclosure

I’m a big fan of full disclosure. And honesty. I think honesty is great, particularly when your loved ones are involved.

However, I’m also becoming a fan of the doctrine of need-to-know. For example, does a parent need to know that the child’s first kiss was in the pre-teen years? Not from the child’s perspective, no. Does a lover need to know that, far back, before history was invented, you slept with six people at a time, and liked it? No. Why? Because it makes your tummy rumble in a bad way and causes incontinence and lack of sleep.

I was going to fess up my relationship with Lovely to my beloved parent. The one that doesn’t know. And then, in the presence, as it were, I realized: the ways in which said parent does not need to know this! I mean, the ways! And I don’t need the pain and aggravation of arguing daily, weekly, monthly about what a terrible idea it is, how bisexual meant MAN, dammit! and all that stuff.

So I’ve decided, for now, that no one else needs to know. And after five days of insomnia, depression, crying fits and general pissing my pants, last night I slept like a baby cradled in the arms of this decision. Today I jaunted merrily with the parent. Tomorrow, we’ll talk philosophy. And if it ever becomes necessary to fess up, I shall. But not out of some random adherence to the integrity of the relationship. Not torturing the parent with things that the parent cannot control is also chock full of integrity.