Anti-LGBT Serial Killer Publicly Heralded and Praised in Pakistan
Most people do not fully appreciate what it means to be a closeted LGBT person.
To be, “in the closet.”
It means that when one is in public they are wearing a mask of heterosexuality, of sexual neutrality or whatever it is means to be, “normal.”
Being a closeted person means that you wear whatever mask is required by the society the closeted person lives in to feel comfortable.
A closeted individual cannot express who they are or how they feel about their true identity in public.
One might say that anyone who would hide their true identity is ashamed of it or subconsciously knows that it is wrong or immoral.
Another might say that we live in a world where 49 people in a nightclub can be slaughtered for publicly expressing their true identities. In a lot of countries around the world it is a criminal offense, punishable by harassment, fining, ostracizing, imprisonment and even death, to be LGBT or to offer advice, help counsel or medical support to an LGBT person.
Where is the middle road? The common ground?
In a world as violent as this one, for LGBT people, there isn’t one. You are either closeted or out.
For a lot of people in this world, the only time in their entire lives that they can truly express themselves is secretly, through clandestine hookup or meeting in clubs.
It is not a matter of hiding one’s identity, but of wanting to feel secure and safe enough to publicly express identity.
LBGT people are learning that the U.S.A. may not be as safe as once believed to freely express identity.
In other countries, freely expressing an LGBT identity really isn’t an option.
It is illegal to be gay in Pakistan. Being closeted is an art form in the country. Also because of the contradictions in societal law, as long as you do not express you are gay, you will have no problems, legal-wise anyway.
Most closeted Pakistani gay men can only fully express their true identities via social media or clandestine sexual hook-ups.
In April 2014, serial killer Muhammed Ejaz took deadly advantage of this fact of LGBT Pakistani life.
Ejaz, a married paramedic technician with children started expressing his true sexual identity as a gay man via gay dating websites and apps. Ejaz started meeting and having sex with men he met over a Pakistani gay dating site called manjam.com
Ejaz was arrested in April 2014 on suspicion of killing three gay men he met online. Ejaz met the men, ate dinner at their houses, drugged the dinner of his victims, engaged in gay sex with the victims and then strangled them.
Ejaz was sexually abused at 10 years of age. He was interviewed by Pakistani TV, according to Public Radio International, via his jail cell after his capture. By killing his victims, Ejaz said he wanted to, “warn them to stay away from this evil of homosexuality.”
At his court date, Ejaz did not confess to having sex with his male victims, though Pakistani police authorities were adamant in pointing it out.
The Pakistani Penal Code of 1860, enacted during the colonial era, criminalizes homosexuality with up to 10 years in jail.
Pakistani culture usually looks the other way. The law is hardly used or referred to in reality. LGBT people have more to fear from vigilante violence, police harassment, blackmail concerns, ostracizing and being treated as a pariah.
Violence and death are common concerns for LGBT people in Pakistan. But it is more complicated than that. There are actually laws in Pakistan to protect transgender rights.
In the case of public opinion in Pakistan however, it is deadly difficult to fully express oneself as gay.
Because of strenuous public morality concerns, a heterosexual couple kissing or expressing affection provocatively in public may garner more attention than two men walking down the street.
As long as you are closeted, never express your true LGBT identity and are careful only to express your true identity in secret, LGBT can theoretically sidestep violence and harassment.
In fact, as consumer technology and internet-capable phones become more commonly affordable in Pakistan, social media dating apps and websites only recently became the only outlet for closeted gay men to meet others and clandestinely express themselves.
After the Ejaz killings however, such enthusiasm waned.
Extremely frightened by the anti-LGBT serial killings, and the public approval of them in the aftermath, many Pakistani gay men deleted their social media accounts or became more deathly wary of them.
Social media has become a go-to tool of mass-killing for homophobes and self-hating LGBT people like Ejaz.
More to the point, men like Muhammed Ejaz and Omar Mateen, the Orlando, Florida Pulse Nightclub Killer, cruelly take advantage of the LBGT identity and community, via social media, before their acts of violence and mass killing.
Ejaz and Mateen were gay, closeted and emotionally conflicted men who nihilistically wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They clandestinely expressed themselves as gay men when it was convenient for them to do so.
Mateen was a frequent patron of the Pulse nightclub, going once every few weeks for 2 or 3 years before he committed the killings according to media reports. Several men reported to American media outlets that they hooked up or communicated with Mateen via gay dating social media apps.
Ejaz met his victims via manjam.com, engaged in sexual intercourse with the victims in their own homes and then killed them. Ejaz claims to have committing his crimes, as per his Pakistani TV interview, to warn the men he killed against the evil of being gay.
When Ejaz righteously and unapologetically bloviated about killing his victims, he failed to mention that he engaged in gay sex with his victims before killing them. As if the act of killing his, “gay,” victims absolved his own homosexuality.
Mass killings and mass shooting events in the United States are not a new event and, unbelievably, the public has become accustomed to the cable TV news, “breaking news,” banner and bracing themselves to hear about a new shooting event.
Yet, what was especially repulsive and odious about the Pulse nightclub killings was that a emotionally troubled gay men slaughtered a club full of LGBT people.
Mateen’s actions may also have provided a blueprint and precedent for the next emotionally mixed up, delusional, self-hating LGBT person or militant homophobe to commit similar acts of homophobic mass killings and chase high body counts.
How many U.S. school shootings were modeled after Columbine?
However, beside local and regional statues to the contrary, being an LGBT person is not illegal in the United States.
It is in Pakistan. Moreover, because of long standing regional, traditional, customary and religious beliefs, any future acts of violence as inspired by Ejaz’s evil are just as likely to be publicly heralded and praised as criticized.
Ejaz may have provided a precedent and blueprint for future homophobic vigilantes and serial killers to follow in Pakistan.
For closeted LGBT people in Pakistan, the fear of being outed has to be a lot more palpable than ever before.
And the allure of expressing their true identities via Pakistani social media may seem more like a deathtrap than an opportunity to freely express themselves.