2.8.09

The Paranoia of the New Gay Family Saga

Maverick: Paranoia of the New Gay Family Saga
by Farzana Versey

Covert, Aug 1-15


A gay friend once called me homophobic. I had mentioned in passing that he was trying to be “too gay”.

“What is too gay?”

Being gay is essentially about a sexual identity, and although sexuality is an important part of human existence it is not something that has to be flaunted. Does it mean I do not accept it?

Alternative sexuality has changed the way we look at families. With decriminalisation, there may be an element of becoming legitimate either by giving relationships a stamp of social approval or retaining the sanctity of gayness. Many ‘pure’ gays have always had a problem with bisexuals; they believe that it is a compromise and seek to co-opt them.

There is every likelihood for a demand to legalise same-sex marriage, which the pure gays again have a problem with and rightly so. They do not wish to mimic heterosexual behaviour and marriage is a most conservative option.

The very idea of homosexuality gains currency due to it being outside the realm of any stratification.

The legal ramifications of consensus are often vague; the likelihood of brainwashing or bribing is not unusual. Last year in Surat, an 18-year-old killed a 35-year-old man for coercing him into a relationship. The boy was arrested for murder. This was not consensual, both were adults and there was a crime committed that could be termed self-defence or revenge.

How often do we hear gays speak up against paedophilia, rape, promiscuity in their community? How many have been arrested, imprisoned and punished for homosexuality? How many gay icons – a part of the celebrity brigade that has joined these carnivals – come out in the streets to oppose police action against innocent young heterosexual couples who dare to marry above their caste or outside their religion?

Don’t prominent gay couples realise that it is only their fame that protects them? A fashion designer in Goa married his French partner and the Indian media went gaga over it. Would the high society types who were blessing them have the same standards if their maid or driver turned out to be gay?

India’s criminal law against homosexuality has looked the other way when well-heeled Indian and foreign gay partners ‘bought’ mothers. Anand in Gujarat is often referred to as the ‘surrogacy capital of the world’. An Israeli gay couple took their baby home last year. These two guys took their time choosing the mother, even sending a psychology questionnaire. Did the woman know that she was helping two men and not a woman?

The gay issue is riddled with patriarchal notions and its proponents tend to ignore the complexities of other factors, promoting instead the luminaries in their midst.

Recently, at Sao Paulo’s gay pride parade the chief guest was an Indian, the ‘Pink Prince’ Manvendra Singh Gohil of the erstwhile Rajpipla royal state. It was double whammy exotica. No one in India had heard about him until he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. His father had threatened to disinherit him, but now the king has restored all his titles. He is being idolised only for his position and he plays along by dressing the part of a royal heir in a democracy. On what grounds, then, is he is seen as the “global face of the Indian gay movement”? In an interview he had once said, “Gays are talented, creative, imagine a world without us.”

There is no reason why all gays have to be creative and talented. This reveals a disgustingly posh isolationist attitude.

A few years ago, I had met a top-notch model who happens to be gay. A glossy magazine wanted him on the cover and he refused only because he did not want to exhibit his homosexuality, which was certainly not his claim to fame.

Of late, unfortunately, he seems to have copped out. The man who did not want to flash his sexual choice is now doing just that. He is invited to the best shindigs in town. And he plays to the gallery. Crimson lipstick. Outlandish stoles. Wigs. Feathers. Baubles. In one newspaper photograph, his face looked like a mask.

Isn’t it strange that his true self is revealed only by appearing as a camouflage?

* * *

Additional information not in the column for those not aware about the legal aspect:

India’s attempts at decriminalising homosexuality have been seen as path-breaking. Section Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.”

The new 105-page judgement that wnast to change this has woken up to the fact that, “it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual”.

However, Section 377 will continue for non-consensual and non-vaginal sex.

When did men acquire vaginas?

It must be remembered that heterosexuals too indulge in forms of carnal expression that may be deemed unnatural legally.

4 comments:

  1. and yet if you strip away all the fluff, the hullabaloo, the pom poms, the ritzy glitter - all that is left at the end is a person who wants to be him/herself without any stigma, any label or name calling. the rabble rousers will rouse the rubble, demagogues will blow their horns, and behind the smoke and underneath the dust, is a person who just wants to be. If some homosexuals flaunt their gayness, could it be that most heterosexuals are obsessed with sex? After all, if one were to take away the sexual aspect , one is left with nothing. It than boils down to a majority enforcing a flaccid morality on a non-consenting minority. Who defines what's "natural"? Clearly, it's not mother nature, she knows if something is possible it is probable. Laws that can't be implemented, can only be used for coercion.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This could be a major step but has the Indian government passed the bill? Page 3 has become associated with all manner of people so the media is to blame. However your remarks about a change at the way we see families is important and not left out of discussions.

    Thanks for another incisive piece.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anon:

    If someone wants to be, they can just be. You talk about what if you take away the fluff...exactly...what then? There is nothing. So where is the issue at all?

    "If some homosexuals flaunt their gayness, could it be that most heterosexuals are obsessed with sex?"

    Huh? It is quite the opposite. I have stated and it is obvious that gayness is hinged on sexuality. Homosexuals aren't really doing this drill for any purpose other than to be accepted for their sexuality.

    No one is defining what is natural. The same people who go out to support them for what is deemed 'unnatural' will not say a word to stand up for heterosexuals indulging in the same; the legal proviso is applicable to them too.

    I am talking about a specific Indian ethos. I do not know your nationality or where you live. There are many less fortunate gays who have to suffer irrespective...and there ain't no fluff there.

    Thanks for your input, though.

    Ameya:

    The media discovered that the way to be labelled 'liberal' is to take up the gay cause, among others. It is interesting that all he celebrations took place in fancy pubs with celebrities.

    The Bill will come up for final approval next month. And, yes the family unit has to be considered, although families too differ in their dynamics. But this will change a lot of things for those fortunate enough to be the creamy layer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is as much evidence as we may need to show that homosexuality is not a western concept. It existed very much in ancient India and was as normal and as celebrated as heterosexuality. And if anything IS a western concept, it is the criminalization of 'homosexuality' in Section 377 which was imposed on the Indian Constitution by the then British Government. India, since time immemorial, was a country founded on a vision of fundamental right applying equally to all, without discrimination on any grounds. It was this very idealism that our invaders tried to break down, and unfortunately, successfully managed. India was always a sexually liberal country. It is the only country that had a sacred text in the form of the Kamasutra. However our sexual practices alarmed the prudish Britishers, who not just tried to criminalize homosexuality, they also propagated against the various artistic sexual postures prevalent here, as also seen in sculptures such as those of Khajuraho. This is why the 'normal and unperverted' position imposed upon us by the Britishers came to be called the 'Missionary' position - it was propagated by Christian Missionaries.

    Sexuality is one's personal matter, why should the Government interfere, if it is between two adults with mutual consent, it is not a crime. Who is it harming? It depends on one's natural orientation and forcing someone to go against that is a crime. Article 377 bans carnal intercourse against the order of nature and is used to justify the outlawing of homosexuality. Because this act is almost never enforced in a court of law, in reality it simply institutionalizes police brutality & bribery and allows practices such as electro shock therapy and discrimination to be justified under the law.

    Various sects of Indian society, as expected, have lashed out against the repealing of 377, some going to the extent of saying that it leads to perversions in society. This could not be further from the truth. To build a truly democratic and plural India, we must collectively fight against laws and policies that abuse human rights and limit fundamental freedoms. Section 377 is a colonial-era law dating back to 1861. As writer Vikram Seth has rightly written, in independant India, as earlier, this archaic and brutal law has served no good purpose. It has been systematically used to persecute, blackmail, terrorize and arrest sexual minorities. It has spawned public intolerance and abuse, forcing millions of gays and bisexual men and women to live in fear and secrecy, at tragic cost to themselves and their families. It is especially disgraceful that Section 377 has on recent occasions been used by homophobic officials to suppress the work of legitimate HIV-prevention groups, leaving gay and bisexual men in India even more defenseless against HIV infection. We will move many steps closer to our goal of achieving a just, pluralistic and democratic society by the ending of Section 377. In the name of humanity and our Constitution, this cruel and discriminatory law should be struck down.
    www.testtubebabyclinic.com

    ReplyDelete