Homosexuality in Afghanistan

There’s a really engrossing article in the LA Times, "Kandahar’s Lightly Veiled Homosexual Habits", from 2002 on the coexistence of widespread homosexual practices with Afghanistan’s infamously rigid "traditional" values.
[HT: Saracen.nu]

The most interesting thing is how they do not define it as homosexual, even though it sounds like some of these guys are very actively engaged in what in the US would be considered a gay lifestyle.  (Only the recipient, as it were, is gay.) 

This macho doublestandard isn’t unique to Pashtoons, of course.  I’ve heard of similiar attitudes in Mexico, for example.

  • http://www.rickshawdiaries.blogspot.com Baraka

    Salaam,
    Intersting.
    I worked at an NGO in Pakistan that did a study of Pirwadai bus stop where they have male child prositutes. Interviews with clients revealed that they didn’t consider themselves gay in the Western sense of the word – just frustrated. Most of them had wives and kids too.
    -B

  • http://abusinan.blogspot.com Abu Sinan

    This happens all over the place. Homosexuality is actually very common in places like Saudi Arabia. At the universities being a lesbian is actually kind of a fashion at the moment.

  • svend

    I think one sees a lot of prison-style “situational homosexuality” in strictly segregated Islamic societies. When heterosexuals are denied any access (whether sexual or just social) to members of the opposite sex, I think something has to give. That’s why madrassahs can be such dangerous places for young boys.
    It’s just interesting how some Muslims will automatically excommunicate an openly gay Muslim as a rebel against Allah’s message, but will not apply the same standard to those who repeatedly and willfully violate those taboos. If you struggle with it philosophically and talk about it, you don’t have the right to call yourself a Muslim; but if you don’t reflect on your urges and instead enthusiastically engage in homosexual practices in secret, you can still call yourself a Muslim.
    Yeah, Abu Sinan, I’ve heard a lot about homosexuality in the Gulf, especially Saudi. A friend of a friend worked in Saudi for a year. He’s a really good-looking guy. The first thing he told his friends upon returning to the States was, “Finally, I can go shopping, or even just walk down the street, without being propositioned.”

  • http://asylum60.blogspot.com walski69

    Salams Svend,
    I came across a book, “Unspeakable Love” which investigates the prevalence of homosexuality (both male and female) in the Middle East. I’ve not read it, personally – doubt I’d find it in Malaysia to begin with.
    This site (http://www.al-bab.com/unspeakablelove/default.htm) has a book review, which is where I came across it while doing some online research on the subject.
    I suppose when the most innocuous of male/female contact is forbidden in ultra-repressed societies, same-sex attraction is bound to happen, despite it being haram. Some parties in Malaysia would like to see our society equally as repressive, as evidenced by recent news on public “immorality”.
    (By the way, thanks a bunch for the Spock plug. We don’t get G4TV here, so I can’t tell you much more about Star Trek 2.0.)

  • Aaron Silver

    Why am i propositioned so commonly among good Muslim men for sex. Many are married and i have been told that even though it is very taboo, nearly all Muslim men engage in homosexuality at times throughout their lives. What are your thoughts on my experiences of being commonly propositioned by gay married men? Thanks, Aaron

  • Aaron Silver

    why am I so commonly approached for homosexual sex by many Muslim men including married men. They have told me tha that it is very commonly practiced. Your thoughts please?

  • http://akramsrazor.typepad.com Svend

    I’m not very surprised, Aaron. Without getting sidetracked in the debate about the source/cause of homosexuality, cultures that neurotically limit interactions between men and women lead to homosexual even among “normal” heterosexual men. Hormones will find an outlet, whatever the official norms may be.

  • Hyde

    It is called bachha Bazai. It is not two grown men holding hands with rainbow outfits, but a sense of men having sexual feelings towards young boys (pedastry). It isn’t that they are gay in the western way of the world, but that is an invitation to do what the nafs wants. Sort of like the Spartans. Again there is no gay love, but just a tumble or desires. The gulf Arabs are notorious for that, as most traditional societies are.

    Even in Sharia, grown men are not allowed to be the room with
    very young boys. Did anybody wonder why there are not too many male first grade teachers? Handsome men are desired for beauty, not for their lifestyles. In Afghanistan there is a saying “Grow a beard, or cover your ass”. Even the Taliban when they first came to power, were being requested by mothers to help stop their children from being raped. Even earlier in the 1990′s, during the mujahedeen civil war, street battles erupted over who is going to get the young boy to sleep with them. And these were holy warriors. Again this is not gay love in the western sense at all. YOU will never see two men holding hands in Kabul trying to get married, ain’t going to happen.

    Homosexuality exists that is why there are consequences for
    that in Islam.


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