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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 27 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 26
My Chacha is Gay - First Gay-themed Pakistani children's book
Section One
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My Chacha is Gay - First Gay-themed Pakistani children's book

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Pakistani woman living in Canada has published what is thought to be the first-ever Urdu language children's book with a Gay theme.

The author, who goes by the name Eiynah, is also the creator of the Nice Mangos blog, which deals with sexuality and Pakistani culture. Publication of her new children's book, My Chacha is Gay, was crowd-funded through the IndieGoGo website.

'Chacha' is Pakistani slang for a paternal uncle. The book tells the story of Ahmed, who lives in Karachi with his parents, sister, grandmother, and uncle Chacha. They are visited often by 'uncle' Faheem, Chacha's boyfriend, who is a pilot.

In the story Ahmed says he likes his uncle Chacha because they have fun together. They fly kites, go for camel rides on the beach, and have ice cream sodas. 'Uncle' Faheem also lets Ahmed wear his pilot's cap.

In the book a conservative Muslim shouts at Chacha telling him to get a wife, but Ahmed says he knows Chacha and Faheem's love is the same as his parents for each other.

Eiynah said she wrote the book to dispel stereotypes about Gay people in Pakistan, but also stereotypes about Pakistani people and to show they have a diversity of views.

'I dream of a progressive Pakistan as opposed to the extremist state it is close to becoming,' Eiynah told Gay Star News.

'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. We are a varied people; amongst us there are many kind, gentle, and diversity loving souls. But sadly, those voices are drowned out or silenced by extremists.'

Eiynah said she knew the book would be controversial in Pakistan where homosexuality is strictly criminalized, but she was hopeful the book would find its way into schools.

'We'd be happy to donate copies to any school in Pakistan that would accept our donation,' Eiynah said.

'Right now, we are working on finding such an open-minded educational institution. Even if one copy makes it in, and we can all collectively make enough noise - it will make a difference, and will give strength to those who do not have the luxury of being open about who they are.'

The author raised $5,000 to print the book and intends to ship the book to Pakistan from Canada. Fifty-four people signed up to contribute to the printing and shipping cost in less than a month, she said.

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