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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Man Who Proposed Pakistan’s First Gay Club Admitted to Psychiatric Hospital

The proposal for Pakistan's first gay club in Abbottabad sparks a heated controversy, revealing deep societal resistance and legal challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the country.

A bold attempt to establish Pakistan’s first gay club in Abbottabad has ignited a storm of controversy and led to the detainment of the applicant in a psychiatric hospital. The applicant, whose identity remains undisclosed, filed an application with the local authorities, proposing the club as a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals in the conservative city and across Pakistan.

In the application submitted to the deputy commissioner, the applicant emphasized the club’s role as a valuable resource for the LGBTQ+ community, aiming to provide a space for interaction without engaging in sexual activities on the premises. This move was intended to navigate Pakistan’s strict laws against homosexuality, including Section 377 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes same-sex relations.

While the local administration acknowledged receipt of the proposal, leaked images of the application sparked outrage among residents and politicians, particularly from religious and conservative factions. Threats of severe consequences emerged from various quarters, with warnings of protests and even threats to set the proposed club ablaze.

Legal and Social Challenges for LGBTQ+

Homosexuality remains highly stigmatized in Pakistan, with societal attitudes largely conservative and legal frameworks imposing strict penalties for same-sex relations. Despite rare prosecutions, LGBTQ+ individuals often face discrimination, abuse, and honor killings, prompting many to conceal their sexual orientation.

The proposed club, named “Lorenzo gay club,” sought to address these challenges by providing a space where LGBTQ+ individuals could gather without fear of persecution. However, the leaked application and subsequent backlash underscore the deep-seated resistance to LGBTQ+ rights and visibility in Pakistan.

Following the controversy, the applicant was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Peshawar, raising concerns among friends and supporters about his safety and well-being. Despite facing detainment, the applicant remained steadfast in advocating for human rights and expressed determination to pursue legal avenues if the application was rejected.

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