Gay man says life is easier in Pakistan than in the US

Gay man makes controversial statement in an interview with AFP, says he feels more comfortable in Pakistan than the US

Gay man says life is easier in Pakistan than in the US
09 May 2013

There are no gay bars, ‘LGBT rights’ is an unheard phrase and homosexuality is considered to be against the ruling religion – but one gay man has said he finds life easier in Pakistan than in the US.

Qasim, 41, made the controversial statement in an interview with AFP when the reporter met him and his boyfriend Ali in a coffee shop.

‘We can hold hands,’ said Qasim. ‘We can sit casually like this. Nobody gives it a second thought.’ He added that he’s never been insulted in the street in Pakistan, like he was when he lived in the US.

In Parkistan’s Islamic society where men and women are kept segregated, it is easier for a gay male couple to spend time together than it would be for a non-married straight couple. Men holding hands and hugging in the street is a sign of friendship.

Qasim lived in the US from the age of three until his mid-20s, when the law at the time said that he had to give up his US-citizenship because he contracted HIV. When he retuned to Pakistan he says it was a ‘culture shock’ but after a few years he set up a charity for gay men and transgender people, which is covertly supported by the government.

‘I get respect,’ Qasim said. ‘I feel appreciated for the work I’m doing. Hopefully I’m changing people’s lives and making a difference.’ 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Joan Rivers: Queen of the Gays

Joan Rivers was a champion for women and gay rights but her comedy recognized no no-go subjects
No thumbnail available

Police ‘are accomplices’ in rape and killing of Russian gay activist

LGBT activists are accusing Russian authorities of being complicit in the violent murder of a 23 year-old gay activist
No thumbnail available

Is Africa on the road to a gay genocide?

As Rwanda reflects on 20 years since the death of a million of its citizens, a tide of anti-LGBTI hate is engulfing Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, DRC, South Africa and beyond
No thumbnail available

First Asian Pink Awards honor 15 amazing heroes

Inspirational advocates from across Asia share their stories at landmark awards ceremony in Singapore
No thumbnail available

Saudi Arabia objects to .gay web address

Government of Saudi Arabia objects to a new .gay web address claiming it is offensive and will be used to promote homosexuality
No thumbnail available

UNAIDS 2013 Global Report stresses need for countries to legalize gay sex

The UNAIDS Global Report for 2013 has stressed the need for member nations to decriminalize homosexuality if they plan to reach their 2015 goals in containing the HIV virus
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage polling well in Washington State

Washington voters giving high marks to marriage equality in recent poll
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Mars defends Maltesers advert: It doesn’t turn people gay or ridicule male closeness

A long-running TV commercial has prompted complaints after a recent airing in Australia: some viewers felt it could turn people gay, while others felt that it was mocking man-on-man affection
No thumbnail available

Ikea Singapore under fire for supporting anti-gay pastor's evangelistic magic show

By supporting the anti-gay pastor who has been actively campaigning against LGBT equality, what message is Ikea sending to its LGBT customers and others who support equality?