Islam being homophobic is fake news put out to make gay Christians and Jews hate Muslims. This is the message from the Afghanistan Catamite Dancing Association (ACDASS). They point out that homosexual behaviour has been normal in Afghanistan for hundreds of years.
The ACDASS spokesperson told us that when an Afghan wants a good time he has a choice of a sheep, a donkey or a dancing boy. While most prefer a sheep or a donkey a fair number go for the other option.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, no wedding party is complete without a transvestite dancer. The Guardian reports:
Known as hijras, a group including transgender people, cross-dressers and eunuchs, they have an ancient history in South Asia. They are mentioned in the pages of the Kama Sutra and served as senior courtiers to the subcontinent’s Mughal rulers in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Pakistan’s transgender population is estimated at about 500,000, many of whom survive in a precarious social niche as wedding dancers and providers of blessings in exchange for cash – often from motorists stuck at traffic lights.
Their position has improved in recent years after a series of historic rulings by the supreme court, including an order that they should be recognised as intersex on their national identity cards. Previously hijras had refused to declare themselves as male or female, meaning they were denied an ID card and therefore the right to vote and stand for election.
The country’s provincial governments were also ordered to create jobs for hijras. Sindh province put a small number to work as municipal debt collectors who sing and dance outside the houses of defaulters to embarrass them into paying up.