The YouTuber hosts new documentary with BBC Three about being gay in Pakistan.
What is life like as an LGBTQ+ individual in Pakistan? That’s exactly what British YouTuber Mawaan Rizwan wanted to find out when he returned to his country of birth with BBC Three to film his debut documentary, How Gay Is Pakistan?.
In Pakistan, homosexuality is illegal, an offence under Islamic law.
“My experience taught me that Pakistan is a complex country with contrasting cultures that coexist together,” Mawaan explained.
In How Gay Is Pakistan?, Mawaan spoke to religious leaders and discovers underground sex dens and LGBTQ+ communities. He even agreed to take prescription medication given to him by an Imam, who claimed it would cure Mawaan’s “illness” – it did not.
How Gay Is Pakistan? showcases some very disturbing and dark aspects of being an LGBTQ+ individual in Pakistan. However, Mawaan also had some positive experiences, with the internet proving to be a useful tool in helping bringing communities together.
“There are most definitely large groups of people in Pakistan taking daring steps every day to fight for equality,” he said. “Many also said that, thanks to the internet, they are finding ways to connect with each other, allowing an LGBT+ community to emerge.”
Reaction on social media has been mixed:
— Mustafa Qadri (@Mustafa_Qadri) October 21, 2015
I was shaking my head all throughout "how gay is Pakistan"
— Hamzah. (@_Hamzah_A) October 26, 2015
A host who speaks language & is from the culture makes a better doc than parachuting a celeb into a scenario. Amazing. #howgayispakistan
— Jazza John (@JazzaJohn) October 20, 2015
— Benjamin Cook (@benjamin_cook) October 20, 2015
Those wishing to watch the documentary can do so via BBC iPlayer.
During LGBTQ+ History Month, we spoke to a handful of creators about sexuality on YouTube and how being gay has affected their content. Click here to read Part 1 of the three-part series!