Shrien Dewani returned to the UK this week after being cleared of plotting his wife’s murder. A case that has been at the forefront of the nation’s mind for four years has finally come to an end in a surprising verdict from Judge Jeanette Traverso.
The British businessman, whose wife was shot whilst on their honeymoon in South Africa, was acquitted following Judge Traverso’s ruling that the prosecution had provided insufficient evidence to convict him. Giving her ruling, she claimed that witness Zola Tongo’s statement was “riddled with contradictions” and “highly debatable.”
being gay is unacceptable amongst Asians - an issue that Dewani himself battled with
Although deemed “irrelevant,” the Dewani case was rocked by surprise confessions from Shrien Dewani about his sexuality. Irrespective of the case and whether or not his innocence is veritable, it is certain that Dewani intentionally hid details about his sexuality from his wife and both their families.
Asian Gay Men
Admitting to being bisexual and having relationships with men, including male prostitutes, Dewani’s confessions have reawakened the debate about sexuality in the South Asian community. It is a long standing issue that being gay is unacceptable amongst Asians - an issue that Dewani himself battled with. Dewani’s revelations cannot necessarily be used as implications of his guilt, but should instead be used as a way to highlight underlying issues in the Asian community.
80 cases of forced marriages involved members of the LGBT community
It’s surprising that old-fashioned views are still very much rife amongst Asians in Britain. The Asian gay community is still vastly underground – despite there being a few prominent figures who have braved ‘coming out.’ People such as Asifa Lahore – the first British Asian drag queen – have definitely helped the Asian gay cause but certainly haven’t solved the problem of the lack of acceptance.
Dewani is just one of many stereotypes which prove how difficult it is to be gay (or bi-sexual) and Asian - stereotypes that exist solely as a result of a disobliging Asian society. Many cases of false marriages, murders and even suicides have emerged purely because of non-acceptance within the community.
The existence of active websites dedicated to gay Asians proves there is certainly a covert group of individuals desperately seeking likeminded people. Sham marriages – involving gay men and lesbians - are also becoming increasingly common to keep up appearances to unsuspecting families. According to recent figures, the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit has reported dealing with 80 cases of forced marriages involving members of the LGBT community. However, because these marriages are for the most part voluntary, many go unreported.
It is a sad state of affairs that in modern times men and women cannot live their lives openly and honestly. It is much worse once you taken into account the innocent victims whose quality of life deteriorates because of a simple lie.
Can the Asian community really justify the loss of innocent lives for the sake of what they deem ‘normality’?
We only need to take a look at the headlines in the past couple of months to see that it is a pressing issue. The horrific case of Jasvir Ginday who murdered his new wife and burned her body in an incinerator following her threats to ‘out’ him to the community, highlights his desperation to ‘save face.’ This desperation of acceptance or peace was prevalent in the case of Harley Street doctor Nazim Mahmood who threw himself off his apartment balcony after being told by his mother to ‘cure himself.’
In the face of so many tragic murders and suicides, can the Asian community really justify the loss of innocent lives for the sake of what they deem ‘normality’? Is it reasonable to drive people to murder and mental illnesses just because their families are afraid of what ‘people might think’?
The Asian community has to evolve with the times, take an introspective look at their issues with the LGBT community and allow people to be themselves.