0

Liveability

This is a queer problem. It requires a queer solution.

People are being killed. All kinds of people in all kinds of places. Targeted. Planned. Angry mob murders. Serial murders. And there is no real sense that can be made, no coherent thread that can be pulled between everything so that we can say, yes, this is why, let’s just stop this one thing and…

So the problem of fear and the problem of the closet and the problem of being suddenly hurt or killed one day are all the same problem. How do you live your life in this country and feel like you’ll actually live? How do you act yourself?

Let me become specific.

As a bisexual cisgender woman from an upper-middle class background, I have a lot of privilege. I’m aware of this privilege and I’m aware that others do not have some or any of these privileges. Therefore I have thus far imagined that I’ll be fine. Finer than others. I will not go hungry, barring absolute catastrophe. I’ll be okay.

But it turns out, I’m not okay. Because wellbeing is not the sum of privileges and misery is not the division, subtracted, dispersion of them. We are not determined by what has power over us, or what attempts to exert power over us. We are affected by it – but we’re not determined by it.

I have been and am being determined largely by fear. For years now. I don’t really talk about who and how I am, I don’t like people to know. I hid and dissemble. This is healthy, to an extent, in a highly homophobic, highly misogynistic society. It is healthy to dissemble; and, in different circumstances, it is commanded – takiya in Shi’i thought.

And as I imagine my future, as Lovely and I plan the next 1, 5, 20 years together, as we imagine our child’s life and our work and our universe together, I become so afraid that it’s not a liveable life.

I wonder how many queer women of any kind of means have left the country.

I wonder how many queer women want to leave.

I don’t ever want to leave. I don’t know where I’d go. I’ve lived in the US and I can’t really stand it. I don’t know how the US feels free to people. It doesn’t feel free to me. Every moment in policed.

And then at home every moment is endangered. Is dangerous. Someone somewhere might say something.

But I have to live. We all have to live. So how do we live a life?

This is a queer problem. There’s no life if you’re hiding. Being smart, yes, strategic, yes, but hiding, no. Hiding no longer works. Or rather, pretending. Pretending that if I conform, behave, act like a proper citizen, a proper Pakistani woman, look enough like it, become a facsimile, it will be fine. They won’t notice. I’ll be able to slip by. I’ll survive.

This does not feel like survival. This feel like slow suffocation.

So no. We don’t do this anymore. I’m queer. I am a queer person. I do not fit. I will not fit.

And that is how I must live. Acknowledging that is what will make life liveable.

Advertisements
3

Love Dhakka

lovedhakka

Penny Mathews

This is a crap culture to fall in love in. I kind of get why people will voluntarily go for arranged marriages. There’s no place anywhere to troll for potential mates. Gay men, you would think, have it easier, but actually, while gay men have a lot of places to find sex, there aren’t that many avenues for true love, or even true-enough love, in our culture. There is, however, a lot of fucking and running.

With straight people, there are more avenues – you can go out on dates and have relationships that are acceptable in culture. But even there, you have to fit a very narrow, tight definition of “girl” and “boy” to be successful, and that success tends to be outward more than inward. Macho guys and girlie girls. No variations allowed.

It’s luck and patience, finding a partner in love, and really hard work sticking together. And I think that’s true for gays, bis and straights – here anyway.

16

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.

4

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.

5

Fear volume 1 issue 2

Once again, it’s been nearly a month since I’ve written anything. Last time I wrote, it was about feeling like a crappy partner because I like to be alone sometimes, or because I just feel like a crappy partner. Now, I’m feeling very homesick and horrendous, so there is more whining afoot. Consider yourself warned.

I’m finding it difficult, also, to deal with negative feedback I get on this blog. There isn’t much. And it’s not overt. But there is the questioning of my life and decisions, occasionally, that makes me uncomfortable. Not because the questions shouldn’t arise, but because sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for answering those questions. Questions such as

  • why are you whining about a relationship  when you went through so much to get it, and so did she?
  • how i read it: you broke up a het marriage, you ingrate, how dare you be anything but blissful after doing something so despicable.

This reading is my problem. It’s not what is said that I’m quarreling with here. It’s how I’m reading it. I must still feel guilty. Even though I haven’t go reason to, intellectually. I have no reason to because you can’t break up a marriage you’re not in. Lovely did that. Lovely wanted to do that.

But I feel the need to make a public defense of it because this is Pakistan and in Pakistan women should’t end marriages. Women should be grateful that someone married them in the first place.

That is also subtext. I live a very privileged life. I’m out to my friends. I’m comfortable in my sexuality.  God is kind to me. In my life, there is no overt demand on me for a) marriage to a man, b) gratitude for the attentions of a man, or c) harassment on becoming an ‘old maid’ no one will marry.   But my father wants grandchildren and a straight daughter from which they issue, and my partner’s family wants her not to live like a married person with another woman. If she does, she’ll bring shame. No one will marry her siblings. We’ll be stoned to death. Ad nauseum. Ad infinitum. Soon my father will add to this  a mix of difficulties that I can’t even predict yet. And I’m afraid of that. So, by extension, every bit of feedback that isn’t utterly supportive and woman-loving flowery yayful stuff makes me feel like dying.

That is entirely my problem. But I wish there was a way to get past it with other people. I mean, other than just me and Lovely and this blog. I wish there was some way to form a community around it so it didn’t just always feel like the hysterical edge of an abyss of badness.

There. Enough whine for you?

The purpose of this blog has been to out some struggles without outing me in a context where me being too out will not benefit me even a little. Outing the struggles serves only one purpose – finding people to engage them and so, make it easier for gay people to be gay in Pakistan.

8

Reflux

Same fucking arguments over and over again. Same fight. Same questions. And we get excited for a day or two about us and all that we want to do together – and then again, the same arguments, the same anger, the same shit.

We’re going to have to leave the country. I’m afraid of that. The uncertainty of the future makes my belly bubble unpleasantly.

My girlfriend read my blog the other day and said I was colicky and complainy. Well, yeah, I am. I could write out what’s really going on with us, but that’s revealing details and the circles in which we move make up a tiny world. I want to say something else, but all I can do is sit with my family at Eid and miss her, wishing that when I said I was doing Eid with family, I meant her.

Some detachment would be … not nice exactly, but would bring ease. And detachment is impossible. Also, I’m just watching her deal with her family. When it comes to mine, it’ll be worse for me. Maybe. Different seat at the Bad Parade anyway.

There was a question embedded in a lot of comments to the Fear post a while ago: Why tell at all? Well, because we live those kinds of lives and have those kinds of relationships that not telling doesn’t work. Our family’s wouldn’t deal well with a lie. It wouldn’t survive long, and then things would be worse. Secondly, we’re raised in a time and mindset when “marriages of convenience” are anathema and we really do  think that we can have a better life than that. I pray we don’t get fucked over by that  hope, but honestly, I don’t think we will be. Which is to say, I don’t think our lives are in danger. I don’t think anyone will hurt us unless we attempt a pride march or go to a maulvi for a nikah. All the concerns are in a different layer: must we leave, can we ever come home again, how will we live when we do? Will Mom still love me, will Dad still respect me, can we ever sit together and talk about something else? Please can we talk about something else for a while?

Lovely’s dealing with a lot of shit right now and I’m not with her, because of Eid.  I feel like there’s a pendulum with a bowling ball at the end of it, whoomphing into my stomach every little while. It will be so until she calls.

Waiting for the day when this angst and hiding and fear won’t be necessary.

8

Ex-Gays

…can fuck off. I say this with all the love and compassion I can muster in my little queer heart. Ex-gays can fuck off.

I have no problem with ex-gay folks who are just, you know, not gay anymore, for whatever reason. I have no problem (okay, no huge problem) with religious folks who decide that since the Qur’an does not condone homosexuality, they must live celibate or straight lives. It upsets me, I think it’s foolish in a very this-world-is-going-to-suck-for-you-and-those-around-you sense. But to everyone their own religion and their own sexual preferences – who the hell am I?

BUT! – Those folks who think that since they are no ex-gay, have found the light, the rainbow, the pot, the gold, the whatever, they must come over to my world/life/blog/mobile phone/dinner party and tell me all the fuck about it? Those people can fuck off and take my dildo with them for assistance. Proselytizing about the merits of celibacy in the eyes of God, about how homosexuality is a test like so many tests Allah gives us (other tests you can pass, dumbass!) and about how, particularly, you are ruining your family and friends by being gay – these are things that I have no time for, no room for, no empathy for (and I’m full of fuckin empathy) and many bad bad words for.

I don’t go around proselytizing queerness or saying that everyone should be gay or that everyone should be lesbian except the men, who should be shot. I don’t exhort you kindly, dear reader, to see how lovely it is to lick pussy, just try it one time, you’ll like it, it’s like peaches. I don’t talk about how het sex and male penetration of a woman is a violation, inherently violent and oppressive, and you should realize every time you fuck your husband, girlie, that you’re bringing the sisterhood down.

Live your own damn life, and fuck off of mine.

This has been a reaction to several people saying shit, people privately directing me to ex-gay blogs recently and a general knowledge of gaymuslims dot org, which I don’t link to because they don’t bloody deserve a hat-tip. Got a crow-bar and a mean temper, though…

Okay, not really. I’m really short. I can’t take anyone. Bye.