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My chacha is gay: Children’s book fights homophobia in Pakistan
My Chacha Is Gay: Children’s Book Fights Homophobia In Pakistan. Eiynah, a Pakistani-Canadian blogger living in Toronto, has written a new book for children that she hopes will teach tolerance towards LGTBI people in Pakistan.
Eiynah, a Pakistani-Canadian blogger living in Toronto, has written a new book for children that she hopes will teach tolerance towards LGTBI people in Pakistan.
The brightly colored pages of My Chacha is gay tell the story of Ahmed, a little boy from Karachi, his favorite uncle, and his boyfriend Fareem. Unlike many children’s authors that make their characters fairer than in reality, Eiynah’s family is dark-skinned and resembles a true Pakistani family, right up to Chacha’s moustache, a cultural symbol for masculinity. Ahmed’s family resembles many urban Pakistani households. He lives with his parents, sister, grandmother and Chacha. Chacha’s boyfriend Faheem often visits them.
Ahmed likes his uncle Chacha, who takes him out to fly kites and to ride camels on the beach. He likes ‘Uncle’ Faheem as well, because Faheem is a pilot and lets Ahmed wear his pilot’s hat.
Ahmed sees that his Chacha isn’t like all the others, but it doesn’t matter to him. “People think Chacha is different because he’s gay. That doesn’t change anything, especially not how much fun they have together” Ahmed doesn’t understand why people sometimes abuse his uncle. One conservative muslim shouts at Chacha, telling him to get a wife. But Ahmed knows that his Chacha and Faheem love each other in the same way as Ahmeds parents love each other. “Ahmad doesn’t understand when people say that only men and women can love each other. Because everyone can see how much Chacha and Uncle Faheem love each other”.
The story ends with questioning how anyone can control love anyway. Love should be free. The book ends with this sentence: “Love belongs to everyone.”
Euiynah’s book was born from her dream of a more progressive Pakistan. In her own words, “With all the religious intolerance and extremism I believe it’s important to push back with the arts and with education. The best way to do this in my humble opinion is to start early and teach our children tolerance and diversity from a young age. 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.“ On her blog Nice Mangos, she strives to bring about more liberation and less intolerance in Pakistani society. Her blog and her book celebrate love, regardless of social boundaries.
Now, her dream has become a reality. Via crowd-funding, Eiynad managed to raise her goal of $5,000 to print the book, which she intends to ship to Pakistan and donate to schools.