Eiynah, a Pakistani-Canadian artist had the dream of a progressive Pakistan in her mind when she got down to write Pakistan’s first anti-homophobia children’s book My Chacha Is Gay. She firmly believes that if the children of the country are taught “tolerance and diversity from a young age”, religious intolerance and extremism could be handled.
“I would also like to show the rest of the world that *all* Pakistanis cannot be defined by the terrorism and intolerance you see in the media. We are a varied people, amongst us there are many kind, gentle and diversity loving souls. But sadly, those voices are drowned out or silenced by extremists,” she wrote in a note.
While Eiynah must be expecting some kind of impact, she never thought she would get such an overwhelming respose. Within 48 hours of her posting about the book, she got 10,000 hits. The project got crowd-funded very easily.
Eiynah is now looking forward to find a progressive school/institution that will accept the copies of her book. “We’d be happy to donate copies to any school in Pakistan that would accept our donation. Right now, we are working on finding such an open-minded educational institution. Even if one copy makes it in, and we can all collectively make enough noise – it will make a difference, and will give strength to those who do not have the luxury of being open about who they are,” writes the author.
The book has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew, Pashto and Russian so far.
What is the book about
“My Chacha Is Gay” is about a little boy named Ahmed, his gay uncle, their family, and Pakistani and Muslim society as a whole.
Read the book:
Excerpt from the blog
There is no denying that we are a homophobic nation. And an oddly homophobic nation at that, where same sex experimentation is sometimes temporarily ok amongst boys, because they don’t have access to girls (girls however, must remain virgins till they are sold wed). A nation where two men walking down the street holding hands is perfectly acceptable, but a straight couple might get shot for doing that (I honestly almost got driven over for holding my husband’s hand while crossing the street, full burqa’d woman called me a slut through the window as she drove into us, forcing us to let go of each other). A playful ass grab is nothing amongst guy friends, but any mention of gay rights or equality, and the homophobia comes pouring out. Aside from all that – theres also the er, state-sponsored homophobia, which declares homosexual activity illegal.
The life of lokshahirs, Maharashtra’s fabled people’s poets, is at the centre of the National Award winning film Court. On the trail of one such Dalit bard, Sambhaji Bhagat, you come face to face with a rebel and his cause.