YouTube vlogger Mawaan Rizwan recently returned to his home country of Pakistan with a crew from BBC in tow to see what his life would have been like if he had stayed there. Let’s just say he ended up happy he had left.
Though that result was fairly predictable, Mawaan also discovered some things that were more surprising, including what could be called a bathhouse without the sauna, underground gay parties, and a subculture of transgender women that is developed enough to have its own norms and customs.
It’s pretty clear that when LGBT people are not accepted by society they get creative in how to connect with one another. You can see it both in the experiences of people in closed societies now and in gay history in cultures in the West. I’ve seen and heard about it as I’ve traveled. I’ve been to hidden cafes and bars. And I’ve heard stories of gay life under communism (posts on these forthcoming). Queer life goes on. The gay parade keeps marching. The homo world turns.
Sometimes we assume that if you don’t live in a country that accepts homosexuality you live alone and miserable and living a lie your entire life. Of course that happens to some people, but others are able to live a full, happy life under the radar.
Anyway, here’s the video if you want to check it out. It’s a little long but worth it. The most surreal part to me was when an imam stated the cause of Mawaan’s homosexuality as semen in his urine caused by an overheated liver, which he could diagnose by checking his pulse.