Government of Pakistan Shuts Down Country’s Only LGBT Website
October 1, 2013 by HRC staff
Post submitted by Karim, HRC Global Engagement Intern
The Pakistani government has recently banned Queer Pakistan, the country’s only openly gay site. Queer Pakistan was launched in July and became the only website to offer support and counseling to the Islamic nation’s LGBT community.
Only a few months after its launch, the nascent site was banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the organization responsible for censoring the internet in Pakistan. The PTA has banned thousands of websites since September 2012, such as YouTube and other sites that the organization considers blasphemous or pornographic.
The founder of Queer Pakistan, using the name Fakhir, responded to the ban, telling GayStarNews, “QueerPK has neither blasphemous not pornographic content.” In fact, the site focuses primarily on advising the anonymous community of gay men on how to deal with social or familial persecution, depression, and isolation. Queer Pakistan also promoted safe sex practices and awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, which are rarely discussed in Pakistani society.
Fakhir went on to say, “Clearly, the government would rather have men who have sex with men and the LGBT population as a vulnerable community at high risk rather than let them educate themselves.”
However, rather than giving up, Fakhir and many other LGBT activists have pledged to fight the ban by creating mirrors of the website and redirecting traffic to Humijins.com, Queer Pakistan’s upcoming online magazine zine.