- Posted December 7, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
A gay man from Balochistan delighted to become an American
The best decision of my life was to come to the United States and become an American.
I come from the predominantly tribal territory of Baluchistan in southwest Asia that the British left divided in three countries – Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. My tribe is called Gorgej. Many of my tribesmen still eke out a nomadic existence, with camels as their sips to navigate the barren deserts.
My grandfathers — my parents were cousins — left Bahu Kalat in Iran nearly 150 years ago, travelled to Karachi, now the commercial capital of Pakistan. From there, they went to Perth in Australia and then to Assam and finally to Rangoon, Burma in 1902 to become rich stone quarry and rubber estate owners. I was born in Burma like both of my parents. I always feel very nice telling the world my eldest sister was and Burmese freedom fighter Aung Sang Suu Kyi were classmates.
My family fled Burma, when I was just three years old, after the military coup.
Though my family is reputed as being “Baloch Jews” for having lived in so many different countries, we still follow the Baloch honor code. Under this code being gay is not kosher.
The only word for homosexuals in Baloch culture is “faggot” or "Bugga." According to the honor code, it is all right for a Baluch male to do anything but take the "passive" role in sex with another man.
My mother used to tell us about my dad's eldest half brother, who was a cross-dressing gay in Burma. She hated him. This made it very difficult for me to accept my homosexuality.
After suffering in silence for nearly a quarter century in Pakistan, I landed on U.S. soil on October 20, 2000 – on the eve of my 41st birthday. “How true it is that life begins at 40,” I told myself. I kissed the U.S. soil in U.S., happy as a lark, as here I could proclaim openly who I was.