Pakistani comedian Fawzia Mirza, who is currently shooting her lesbian drama Signature Move alongside veteran actor Shabana Azmi, calls herself "a lesbian, Muslim, Pakistani, actor, activist, writer, producer, lawyer and creature of passion," and no matter how the world perceive those labels, she doesn't see that as a threat.
"I was told by everyone who mattered that it was dangerous for me to be an out-of-the-closet lesbian who is a Pakistani in America. But I've never played the game by the rules.," she says, reported DNA India.
However as daunting that may have been, Fawzia never let fear get in the way of her goals. "I wanted to be all the things that I saw myself being. And if some of my roles made other people uncomfortable, so be it. As long as I am comfortable being a Pakistani lesbian, who is also an activist and an actress, I see no reason for anyone to be upset about it," she adds.
Last year, one of her earlier works, play Me, My Mom and Sharmila saw a positive response from audiences in Pakistan, however, her play could not be staged in certain areas of the country due to threats.
Says Fawzia on the matter, "I am a Canadian by birth. But my ties with my heritage in Pakistan are very strong. No one can take away my lineage and my roots from me. I've been to Pakistan eight times to visit my relatives. The one occasion when I faced protests and threats in Pakistan was when I took the play there. I couldn't perform it in areas populated by Punjabis. It was an eye-opener."
But the hate doesn't stop there; social media is full of trolls, people policing others, and inciting hate.
"There is so much hatred on the social network. My initial instincts were to block the ugly attacks on my sexuality, my nationality, my work and my identity. But instead I chose to tackle the hatred, try to reason with it," says the actor.
"The threat is everywhere, not just in Pakistan. But that won't stop me from being the person I am and doing the things I want to do," she adds.
In her upcoming film, the Pakistani actor will be seen as the director, producer and an actor, playing the role of the lesbian daughter in a relationship with a Mexican girl, who is a wrestler.
Of her upcoming venture, Fawzia explains why she chose female wrestling as the main storyline. "Yes, I find female wrestling such an underrated and misunderstood practice. My character's lover is a Mexican-American, and that's where the wrestling comes,"
The cast also includes the Bollywood actor Shabana Azmi who will be playing the role of her mother.
Signature Move is set for release in 2017.