The first thing you notice when you click on Eiynah’s blog Nice Mangos, is a disclaimer warning you: “The blog that you are about to view may contain content only suitable for adults." In her own words, Eiynah, a pseudonym that she uses, is a Pakistani-Canadian blogger illustrator who blogs and draws about sexuality in South Asia (Pakistan, mostly). She also writes/illustrates children’s books in the hopes of promoting more inclusivity, diversity and secular values and also to create resources where South Asian children are featured as characters, because she feels they are very underrepresented in international children’s literature. Excerpts from an interview:

How did the concept behind My Chacha is Gay emerge?
It was something I had been planning for a long time. I write about sex, and sexuality. Homosexuality is something that comes up often. I always wanted to do a children’s book tackling homophobia because I think it’s a way of breaking down and simplifying the issue, and to possibly speak to some adults too.

Why did you choose to write a children’s book on this subject and not one for adults?
Who says this book is not for adults?

In all seriousness, though, I used this medium because simplifying the issue was the idea. I wanted to make a picture book. I think as an illustrator, it a great medium for me to express myself. And it’s actually been used in classrooms with older children too, so it’s not necessarily just for under five.

How has the response been to the book, especially in Pakistan? How do you plan to take it forward?
Generally Pakistani media has been very silent on the book, despite the fact that it has been covered all over the world, and in some major international papers too. The general response from Pakistan hasn’t been great, unsurprisingly.

But there have been some groups of people who have been incredibly supportive. Most of my funding for the crowd-funding campaign that published the book came from Pakistan. So there is support, even if it’s from a small number of people. Internationally the response has been phenomenal. I received more support for this than I could have ever dreamed possible.

Did you also receive threats or hate mail? How do you deal with them?
I receive a lot of hate mail and threats. So much of it that I’ve become quite used to it. I don’t usually take it seriously. Some of the things people get mad about are really quite entertaining.

But, of course, there is a very serious element to the hate, even though it might be funny on the surface. I am aware of the risks involved.

What other kind of support have you received from individuals and organisations?
The book was crowd-funded from all over the world. It was a tremendous help to get that support.

Some individuals have helped by writing stories about the project and about my blog. Spreading the word through media is always helpful as well. So I’m thankful to those who have done that.

Please tell us about your blog and the idea behind the name.
It started as a blog about Pakistani sexuality (the first of its kind, I believe), discussing the few candid interviews I had managed to get, despite major roadblocks. As word spread more and more people reached out with questions and concerns they had regarding sex or sexuality in Pakistan (and sometimes India too), I started including messages and emails from my readers, and answering them through blog posts (all anonymously of course) – and discovered that many people had similar concerns/thoughts/questions, and that many were just intrigued to read about others.

Since sexuality is such a taboo topic in our culture, there is not much discussion around it. Which results in a lot of misinformation. It’s important to provide a platform where people can discuss it openly, without experiencing the backlash. The blog has grown to include discussions about sexuality and religion, sexuality and politics, etc. Its main purpose is still discussions about sex and sexuality within South Asian and Muslim culture.

I chose “nice mangos” as the name because of the popularity of Pakistani mangos, and for the usage of mangos as a euphemism for breasts. I thought it was apt because I write about sex. It’s also meant to be a subtle statement about the objectification of women.

What are some of the interesting projects you have worked on?
#BearOurBreasts was a very interesting project. I would feature a pair of breasts every week, combined with a quote from the person featured to express some of the sexism and misogyny they experienced as a woman in Pakistan.

I got some really interesting feedback of course, many people – mostly men – were not thrilled with women freely expressing themselves in such a way, or exposing their breasts. I plan to get back to it soon, opening it up to women not just from Pakistan but all over South Asia.

ABCs for Pakistanis was a joke children’s book I created to highlight some of the issues our community faces. There was F for fundamentalist, and O for oppress, for example…

I tend to be viewed as someone who is “airing the country’s dirty laundry in public” a lot of the time. I get a lot of negative feedback from “patriots” who are unwilling to acknowledge any issues.

How has the journey been, talking about gender and sexuality?
It’s been a long, roller-coaster ride. A lot of it has been uphill, with a lot of road blocks and issues. People not wanting to associate with me because of the topics I speak about, or people not wanting to acknowledge that they read my work because of the content.

It’s been tough, because I have a large readership, but a lot of them are very silent and unsupportive. I feel like I run a one-woman media company sometimes, with no pay and no support. It gets exhausting.

Japleen Pasricha is the founder and editor-in-chief of A differently edited version of this article first appeared here.