For Hamza Baloch, Grinder was about to make a living. As a gay man in Pakistan, an Islamic republic where homosexuality is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, his means of meeting others in the LGBT community have always been shrouded in mystery and danger. It was kept in well-known safe places.
But almost four years ago, the advent of dating apps like Grinder and Tinder in Pakistan started a small revolution in the field of sex among the youth. Here they could connect people to their terms and meet honestly about their sexuality, which was previously taboo and dangerous. This app proved popular: Tinder has been downloaded 440,000 times in Pakistan in the last 13 months.
“I used Grinder a lot for dating, sometimes I could meet someone for a cup or tea or dinner, or sometimes for a more comfortable hook-up,” Baloch said. Who are LGBT workers in Karachi. He stressed that Grinder is not only protecting upper and middle class people in cities, and said that for example he has also used gay and trans people in remote rural communities in Sindh province. Have seen the app.
But this week, the Pakistani government announced that it had imposed a strong ban on dating apps, accusing them of hosting “immoral and obscene content.” It has been seen as a ploy to appease Prime Minister Imran Khan’s conservative religious factions, which wield immense power and influence in Pakistan.
In response, Grinder, who describes himself as the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bisexual, transgender and strange people, said it “explores the ways in which We can serve the LGBTQ community in the region. “
Homosexuality is still widely regarded as a shame for the family in Pakistan and has resulted in killings in the name of so-called “honor”. But apps have also faced dislike for homosexuality, especially for women from more conservative families who are discouraged from dating on their own terms and are instead expected to leave their families behind. Enter into an arranged marriage with someone chosen by
“Which sensible government will stop its citizens from dating in 2020?” Baloch said. Even people who consider themselves religious and religious people use these apps to fulfill their desires and human needs for their personal lives, whether they are publicly or visually. Did not want to
He added: “It doesn’t matter what class of society they belong to, whether it’s a university grade or a village shopkeeper, these apps connect the queuing community to each other. Provided an excellent and secure platform to connect and communicate with them, without risking yourself. “
Apps weren’t without their risks. In the aftermath of a 2016 incident in which a 20-year-old man killed three gay men lured by LGBT Facebook pages, claiming that evil was stopping spreading, the LGBT community Was warned to avoid anonymous meetings with people through apps and social media. media. To protect their identity, LGBT people often do not post identification photos on their tender and grinder profiles.
The decision by the Khan government to ban dating apps has led to allegations of hypocrisy against the prime minister, who was a Test cricketer with a reputation before entering politics. Several criticized the move, saying it was further evidence of the weakness of the Khan government in light of its powerful religious right, while others criticized Khan as the “playboy” who promoted Sharia law. Has brought [Islamic law according to the Qur’an]”
Nisha *, a 20-year-old LGBT student at Habib University in Karachi, said apps like Tinder had allayed the fear of dating, which would now return after the ban. When there were small groups and communities of LGBT people long before the news reached Pakistan, Tinder and Grinder opened up the opportunity to meet people who might feel less comfortable attending LGBT meetups. Or those who are still looking for their sexuality.
Nisha talks about two university friends who didn’t know each other as homosexuals, both of whom are afraid to talk openly about it, until they see each other in the oven. Later they started a relationship. He described the ban as “pure hypocrisy”, saying “people say these apps are not for countries like ours but I think the opposite is true, we need them more because we are not public about it.” Maybe who we are, “he said, calling the ban” pure hypocrisy. “
The effect of banning apps was felt not only in the LGBT community. A 25-year-old student at the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science said, “In our society, it is considered wrong to go back in history. And it has made it easier to meet. ” And Technology, Islamabad. “Banning these apps is null.”
مناہیل, A student and activist at Accra University, Karachi, said the apps “definitely made it easier for gays to find love in Pakistan” and feared that the ban would crack down on the gay community. It’s part of the downfall that will ensure once again. “People in Pakistan are always in the closet.
“By blocking these apps, Imran Khan is trying to win the hearts of conservatives and hide his past,” he said. “But we can all see the hypocrisy.”
* Name changed to protect his identity
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