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Finding Blingistan: My Journey Home to the LGBT Community in Pakistan

By Urooj Arshad

In 2011, my partner at the time and I broke up after ten and a half years of being together and my world fell apart. I was devastated, but it gave me the opportunity to do something I had meant to do for a while. I grew up in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Since then I had only been back home two times. On these trips back home, I didn’t experience a sense of belonging that I was hoping for, instead I faced relative upon relative asking me why I was not married yet. You see, heterosexual marriage is an extremely important cornerstone of the Pakistani society. After both visits, I came back to the U.S. deflated and dejected and slowly re- immersed myself back into the queer world here. In my mind, these two worlds of mine sat distinctly apart: my queer U.S. world and my Pakistani world filled with annoying Aunties.