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Muhammad Moiz says different economic groups use different methods to meet.Lower-class men tend to meet in cruising areas such as parks, bridges or other public spaces, though they are increasingly gaining access to online social and cruising sites too, such as Manjam and Grindr.“Homosexuality is very common in Pakistan,” Sinaan tells me as the Muslim call to prayer rings out along the streets of Islamabad.
Sinaan recounts the story of a man he knows, an Ahmadi Muslim, who moved to Canada to avoid religious persecution and now writes to him saying, “I’m in hell.” In Pakistan it was extremely easy for the man to find macho, straight men to have sex with, Sinaan explains, but in Canada, this is not the case.
Pakistani law includes provisions against “obscenity” and having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” making homosexual acts illegal, although the provisions are rarely enforced as the charges are difficult to prove.
Rather, it is discrimination, police blackmail and brutality, and their own families that are the greatest threat to gay men.
Pakistan is a world of contrasts: a land of fundamentalist Islam, Osama bin Laden’s hideout, and terrorist attacks, where children are gunned down going to school or accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
Yet it’s also a land where secular, liberal, young adults socialize by drinking whisky and smoking weed, where you can find used lesbian erotica or buy a dildo on the black market.
Moiz eventually came out to his entire family a few years ago and, while he was not immediately accepted, he says, “the dust eventually settled because I’m male.” Others aren’t so lucky.