Lone Star Muslims: Transnational Lives and the South Asian Experience in Texas

By Ahmed Afzal | Go to book overview

4
“I Have a Very Good Relationship with Allah”
Pakistani Gay Men and Transnational Belonging

The Pakistani Muslim American gay male represents a multiply hyphenated1 and complex figure, confounding easy categorizations in classificatory schemes of subjectification. Stigmatized in diasporic nationalist projects,2 Pakistani Muslim American gay men draw on South Asian histories and epistemologies of same-sex sexual eroticism and relationships in constructions of diasporic identities.3 Criminalized for a deviant sexuality in transnational revivalist Islamic movements that espouse literalist interpretations of Islam, Pakistani Muslim American gay men nonetheless mobilize Islam in fashioning a religiously conceived transnationality. Marginalized and racialized in Anglo-centric queer movements and organizations (Das Gupta 2006), Pakistani Muslim American gay men draw on Western epistemologies of sexuality to construct a gay identity. Homogenized as the Muslim “other” in post-9/11 U.S. policies supporting the war against terrorism, policed by the state, and marked outside emergent forms of nationalism and patriotism in the United States (Puar 2007), Pakistani Muslim American gay men build alternative communities and counterpublics (Munoz 1999) to claim rights, entitlements, and privileges as Americans.4

Though stigmatized, criminalized, marginalized, racialized, and homogenized, Pakistani Muslim American gay men narrate their lived experience in terms of invocations of South Asian epistemologies of same-sex sexual eroticism and relationships and narrative traditions, a religiously conceived transnationality, and appropriations of Western epistemologies of gay identity. The complex intersections of race, religion, sexuality, and transnationalism in what I call “transnational Muslim American sexual cultures” advance the exploration of

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