Ifti Nasim, the gay Pakistani Muslim poet who authored Myrmecophile (in English) and Narman (mostly in Urdu), died Friday following a heart attack.
According to the Associated Press, "Nasim was a fixture in Chicago’s South Asian community, known for his activism, flamboyant fashion and touching poetry that dealt with themes including homosexuality, politics and his native Pakistan." The founder of SANGAT/Chicago, a South Asian LGBT organization and former president of South Asian Performing Arts Council of America, Nasim was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996.
His first book, Narman, was believed to be the first book of gay-themed poetry to be published in Urdu. It told the story of his transition from immigrant (30 years ago) to all-American gay writer and activist, tackling tradition, religion, and gay desire.
Nasim, who wrote in Punjabi as well as Urdu and English, was 64.