Nargis Mavalvala Would Be An Outcast In Pakistan Due To Her Sexual Orientation

Pakistanis are over the moon after Nargis Mavalvala, a Pakistan-origin American astrophysicist, was appointed as the dean at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Science. But an important point that most seem to be missing is that she wouldn’t have achieved the same had she been living in Pakistan.

Patriarchal boundaries and societal norms would have certainly held her back, considering Mavalvala is a Parsi and identifies as a lesbian.

Pakistan is a place that has never been kind to its minorities regardless of their achievements. For example, physicist Abdul Salam, a Nobel laureate, had to stay in exile because of his Ahmadi faith, whereas Atif A Mian was sacked from the Economic Advisory Council for the very same reason.

Homosexuality, on the other hand, is criminalised in the country, with the members of the LGBTQ community living a double life due to the fear of persecution.

What would be the fate of Nargis Mavalvala, who is both a member of both religious and sexual groups, then?

As officials celebrated her elevation, people on Twitter pointed out the hypocrisy prevalent in society. A social media user said: "Nargis Mavalvala’s elevation to Dean at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Astrophysics department is fantastic. She is an open lesbian, has a partner, 2 kids, and is a Parsi. If she had not left Pakistan after her O-Levels from Karachi, this nation would have guilt-tripped her into a shoddy arrange marriage at worst, and tried in every possible way to stop her from reaching top positions due to her faith & gender."

"Make no mistake about this, as we have seen on so many occasions," the user alluding to the treatment meted out to the members of the minority community in the past.

Another user took a dig at homophobic tendencies in society.