On the occasion of Pride Month 2023, Large Movements APS is pleased to dedicate this article to “Allah Loves Equality“, an independent Italian documentary film of great communicative and informative ability.
Focused on the Pakistani LGBTQ+ community, it is directed by Wajahat Abbas Kazmi, activist and author of various documentaries on minorities that aim to bring social change in the world thanks to the audiovisual power.
The successful mix of activism and creativity has earned Kazmi many awards, but also threats: Kazmi continues in his fight for inclusion and equality for LGBTQ+ people, especially in the Muslim world.
Watching “Allah Loves Equality” is not, therefore, just time well spent for the artistic quality of the documentary, but also support for those who, like Kazmi and many others, put themselves at the forefront of defending minority rights. Ergo, everyone’s rights.
The film is the result of an internet campaign in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Through interviews and scenes of everyday life of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people, it shows the status of rights in this country. In front of the camera, people and LGBTQ+ couples come out to tell their stories and truths, showing themselves to the world.
It is a cross-section of an often unpublished reality, kaleidoscopic both in showing more aspects of the Muslim LGBTQ+ world, and for the people interviewed. The documentary, in fact, ranges from the way queer people are treated by society, to what Islam says about homosexuality, to the question of civil and social rights and the prevailing public opinion. Community members, activists, artists are given a voice.
Of particular power, both social and introspective, are the sequences dedicated to the transgender community, which show the most facets and specificities, from sex workers to the fight for HIV awareness, from the point of view of both patients and supporting NGOs. “Allah Loves Equality“, therefore, neither neglects nor leaves behind anyone, in tune with the principle of equality of which he makes himself the bearer and auspicious.
It puts before our eyes the real risks caused by fundamentalist rhetoric against those who only want to live their sexual identity without hiding and for this reason considered immoral and blasphemous, the object of abuse and violence but never victims, for the strength with which they risk their lives for others and to be themselves, not to be relegated to the shadows.
“Allah Loves Equality” strikes, inspires and instructs, showing specificity of Pakistan as well as parallels that remind us of issues and mechanisms more familiar to us. The hijra culture reminds in some aspects that of the “drag houses” related to the American ball culture, the discrimination suffered in medical care make us think of the increasingly current discussions on freedom of choice that also take place in our country.
This documentary fights against the preconception of the incompatibility between Islam and homosexuality, both in the society-individual relationship and in the inner coexistence between religious beliefs and sexual and gender identity. It analyses what led Muslim society to make love between people of the same sex illegal and blasphemous, while in the past those who today would be considered members of the LGBTQ+ community were guardians of principles, advisors of kings, celebrated in homoerotic poetry. Of particular importance for understanding the phenomenon is the impact created by the British conquest of the Asian sub-continent and the consequent arrival of conservative Christian values, that have changed a culture more open to sexuality than it is today and contributed to the creation of what we identify as positions of religious extremism.
Not pulling back from showing without veils and with crudeness the harsh situation of repression and injustice currently present in Pakistan, “Allah Loves Equality” allows glimpses of hope, also thanks to those, individuals and associations, who fight for rights and equality. The documentary brings them to us, acting as a bridge, and for this we thank it.
Pride Month is freedom, struggle, equality, rights, manifestation of life in all its facets, each with its own dignity to be respected. It reminds us that rights are truly rights if they are recognised in favour of all. Large Movements APS therefore invites you to see this documentary, which represent such a successful expression of these principles.
“Allah Loves Equality” is available on Youtube, in English with Italian subtitles, at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT8uV-M83IE.
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