1. Earlier this year, Toronto-based Pakistani blogger and artist Eiynah ‘Nicemangos’ wrote a blog post titled “My Chacha Is Gay”.
The post was shared over 10,000 times in two days and hundreds of readers suggested that Eiynah start a crowdfunding campaign to publish it as a book. She met her crowdfunding goal quickly, and “My Chacha Is Gay” has since been released in print.
2. “My Chacha Is Gay” is about a little boy named Ahmed, his gay uncle, their family, and Pakistani and Muslim society as a whole.
“The treatment of LGBTQ people in Pakistan is incredibly unjust, as is the treatment of most minorities, or anyone that doesn’t fit the expected mould,” Eiynah told BuzzFeed in an email. “The concept of LGBTQ rights does not exist in any large-scale mainstream way. People are isolated from family, friends and loved ones over things like this. It’s no way to live… Admittedly we are not as extreme as countries like Iran in our homophobia, but that doesn’t mean the situation is not horrendous. I’m still working on getting “My Chacha Is Gay” into Pakistan, but that is proving to be quite a challenge, not unexpectedly.”
The book has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew, Pashto and Russian so far.
“It may be a children’s book – I’ve broken it down and simplified it – but it’s definitely not just for children,” Eiynah told BuzzFeed.
“I feel there are very few resources for children in our country that are not painted with a religious brush. When I see the state Pakistan’s in, I feel like perhaps we need to start on teaching social acceptance and tolerance at a younger age. I don’t think majority of us see the urgency of doing that. If we did, things might be different,” she said.
“Of course I knew that Pakistani culture/society was homophobic but since this project the extent of that homophobia has shocked me. The kinds of hate mail I get – calling for the death of Chacha, equating my book with Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”. People have literally told me I am worthy of death because I am an enemy of “god” because of this book.”