The ‘guiding light’ is the prince of Rajpipla, Manvendra Singh Gohil, who the media refers to as the ‘face of the gay community’, completely forgetting how exclusivist the idea is. He, like most people who lead pampered lives has happily jumped on the ‘freedom from legal issues’ gravy cart:
“Ever since gay relationships were decriminalised, a lot happened, like the inauguration of the store in Mumbai for the gay community. Greeting cards were brought out for homosexuals for Valentine’s Day. This is another step in that direction.”
It is, of course, prudent to point out that even among other sections there will be elitist ideas propagated. For a group that has issues of social acceptance, especially among the less privileged class, consumerism ought to hardly be the first step towards an understanding of what judicial independence entails.
Although the magazine is available in the main cities of all the states, it isn’t the first. ‘Bombay Dost’ was openly sold at kiosks and while it did not have a glam quotient, there were ads for partners and other material. It had advice columns too. ‘Fun’ has other claims, as its editorial staff believes:
“There was no material to cater to the gay community on the lifestyle front…We have promoted it as ‘For Everyone Who Loves Men’. But it is true that a bulk of the content focuses on gay men.”
From the reports on the first issue, it appears that there will be the usual stuff about gay icons and they seem to be from the West, except perhaps for our handful of celebrities, who have suddenly become quite excited about being appreciated by men for their butts and biceps. It is a seller’s market and they are willing to be objects of desire if it markets their films or the products they endorse.
Here again, there is little room for gay women; lesbian love, lust and longing are pushed into some corner. It applies even to the mainstream western media where a lip-lock between two pop stars or Hollywood actresses or a tease and twist act by a social butterfly convey same-sex sexual freedom.
There are, indeed, different kinds of sexual preferences and am sure the market can cater to those as well. The problem is: how many people are interested in crossing the barricades of mindsets? And is personal openness a true manifestation of acceptability? If acceptability is not important and going against the tide is not a luxury, then the fight for rights appears to be mainly for facilitating flag-holders rather than flag-bearers.