"Pakistan Paindabad has set others a model of what a blog/site should be."
Late Khalid Hasan, US correspondent for the Lahore-based Daily Times and The Friday Times
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Being gay in Pakistan's biggest metropolis.
[Text by Jalaluddin; imaging by Mayank Austen Soofi; the picture is not of the author]
These are edited excerpts from Jalaluddin’s Tuzk e Jalali.
"My blog is a place where I am who I really am."
04 Ramazan 1428
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good desktop computer must be in want of a laptop. I seem to be going through this very period in my life.
02 Ramazan 1428
My parents did drag me to Islamabad two weeks ago to see their friends’ daughter. I always knew that I have to get married one day or the other. Too many expectations from people who are affected by my life. Besides, my mother would nag the fuck out of my life if I don't marry. Since I am gay (and what the fuck else not), I knew that for me any girl would be the same as any other girl. Since this makes my choice useless, I let my parents decide.
15 Ramazan 1428
My engagement recently was a result of such a decision. For the past six years I have known that I could never lead the life of my choice. My father would have considered it a complete loss of face to have an only son who is gay. My mother would have felt that I have been led astray and that I would ruin my life. Two people I care about would have had the rest of their lives devastated. And I could not have accepted it because it would haunt me that I am the reason for their pain. So, the only way for me to go was to die. Not physically. Just that Jalal is becoming a separate person from me.
17 Ramazan 1428
It is as if my whole life has come crashing down around me. Questions that I asked myself and dreaded for the past ten years are in front of me again. Can I please lead my own life without fatally hurting everyone around me? Can I please be gay and my family accept me for it and let me live like that? And my sisters’ marriages are not sabotaged and their married lives not destroyed? And my parents’ position of respect and honour in our society is not destroyed due to my leading a gay life?
19 Ramazan 1428
Jalal, will you please stop fucking staring at men’s crotches you are talking to.
24 Ramazan 1428
There have been so many issues that I have had to deal with lately. My engagement and the prospects of my life have not been decided by me but dictated by others. Or perhaps dictated by my knowledge of the expectations of others. Expectations that I know are held so dear that I would not want to hurt them.
24 Ramazan 1428
Ok, ok, ok. I know I am 27 and moving swiftly towards oblivion and should start cutting down on starch in my diet. But, I am still a young man, and I have needs.
06 Shawwal 1428
Two powerful bomb blasts have hit the procession of Benazir Bhutto. More than 120 have died as I sit here and write this. With trembling hands and wet eyes.
09 Shawwal 1428
It seems that my current phase of depression has been going on for quite some time.
17 Shawwal 1428
At first I thought that I was having my periods and that had thrown me completely out of my emotional balance. But then I remembered that men don’t have periods. Perhaps I have been extremely depressed because of my being gay in Pakistan. No acceptance within my family or society. No chance of leading a gay life. No chance of being happy by not leading a gay life.
21 Shawwal 1428
State of Emergency has been declared in Pakistan on the orders of the Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf.
29 Shawwal 1428
So, I finally came out to my father. Late last night.
[Click here to read the second part of the diary]