Superiorly Stupid Question Feb02

Superiorly Stupid Question

Superiorly stupid questions I come across as a LGBT rights supporter with answers and explanations. Ever since I started supporting rights of LGBTs, I have been confronted with quite a few exceedingly hilarious questions. 1. What???!! There are people ‘like this’ in Kerala also? You mean people with a different sexual orientation or gender identity than the traditionally defined ones? Yes. The fact that they are not visible in our society shows how non-progressive and non-inclusive we happen to be. Nothing to be proud of. 2. Oh God!! You have gay friends?? I have never seen one in my life. Too bad. Chances are you never will. They’re too awesome to be friends with you. Homosexuals are human. You haven’t seen humans? Oh right! You only see heterosexuals. Please tell me how you have this sexual orientation-filter? 3. I saw your photograph where you hold the “I am gay” sign. Will you be arrested by the police? We enjoy the freedom of speech and expression under article 19 of the constitution. (I think you should be stripped of your citizenship rights for asking this question. But ya. Freedom of speech & expression= freedom to ask stupid questions too.) 4. If a person is openly homosexual and found in sharing a private space with a person of the same gender, can’t he/she be arrested? Here’s the explanation. (Read in Malayalam film star Suresh Gopi’s voice) IPC section 377. Unnatural offences: 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 ten years, and also be liable to fine Interpretation: Though devised to criminalize and prevent homosexual sex, the ambit of section 377 extends to any sexual union involving penile insertion. Thus, even consensual heterosexual acts such as oral sex and anal penetration may be punishable under this law. Anyone could be arrested. Not just homosexuals. This is why you should join us in the effort to rid our nation of this outdated law that is incompatible with fundamental rights and lacks logic in any shape, size or form. (Just remember that) 5. Homosexuals and transgenders are different? I thought they were all the same. Every person is unique and has a unique gender identity and sexuality. Sexuality and gender roles are not monolithic. You and your best friend won’t have identical sexual interests and preferences (even if both of you are heterosexual and of the same gender). Just broaden this spectrum a little more and you will be able to see lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders- everyone. So yes. We are all the same. We are all...

I AM PROUD TO SAY, MY GRANDSON IS GAY Jan02

I AM PROUD TO SAY, MY GRANDSON IS GAY

It was the eve of Delhi Queer Pride parade, 2010. My home seemed like a madhouse. I live in a joint family and that night, we were double the number with my cousins, aunts and uncles who I had invited for a family dinner. I had intimated everyone well in advance and had plans to talk to them about gender and sexuality, and how these come to be experienced in a Punjabi middle class family. Most of the male relatives took a lot of time to come to terms with my sexuality. But it was worth all the effort. It has been four years since I came out to my mom. I was 17 then. The time since then has seen a series of battles with ignorance and hatred; and now, I can finally see glimmers of realization and love. Back in 2007, when I came out to my mom, I knew that I had to exit the narrow and dark roads, and open myself to a massive exploration of my life. But having seen my heroes fight for their rights at the forefront over the years, I became determined. All those activists, writers, filmmakers, lawyers and many other everyday heroes, gave and continue to give strength and messages of hope to middle class guys like me who often come from very conservative households. I live in Kashmeri Gate, in old Delhi, among about 20-25 other joint families that have managed to survive over the years. People tend to get deceived by the appearance of the place and think it’s a slum, when it in fact one of the more economically developed places in old Delhi. Another advantage is its proximity to the metro service. Which takes me back to 29th November, 2010, the day of the Pride. My brother was away on a road trip with his girlfriend so we didn’t have our car. My mother suggested we take the metro. I looked at the painted banners and placards we were carrying for the parade, and then looked at her in open-mouthed disbelief. ‘So what?’ she said. ‘They are going to stare right? Let them. For years I have seen people struggling to change our society for the better and, like you told me, this is no small cause.’ Left astonished, I simply nodded and said ‘yes Mom, you’re absolutely right’. It was a little difficult for my grandmother as she is really old, but on the eve of the parade, I remember listening to her talk to the rest of the family about the relevance of participating in the Pride parade. I can’t describe the joy I felt, at witnessing such a revolutionary and drastic change that night in my own family. It makes me think about how far we have come in these four years. Earlier, on hearing homophobic comments, I would argue for myself, but now, my family steps ahead. It is they who support me and defend my right to live the way I want to; they understand my sexuality and slowly and steadily, they are coming to terms with it. A lot was decided that night itself—who were the courageous ones, or shall I say the activist kind in my family, who would come forward and participate at the Pride event the next day. Upon which, my grandmother was disappointed to see that it was only my mom and my cousins and herself.  My brother wanted to come but he couldn’t because he wanted to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday in the hills. So, I was okay with that.  Besides, I still remember that moment in 2009, when the Delhi High court had passed the landmark judgment; we had assembled at Jantar Mantar after a year to celebrate one year and my brother came there and supported me. My grandmother is an old but energetic and fierce woman. She has taught me a great...

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR TRANSGENDERS Oct02

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR TRANSGENDERS

The honorable Supreme Court on its landmark judgement (dated 15/04/14)on the rights of Transgender community has directed the federal and state governments to bring welfare for the third gender people including education, healthcare and employment opportunities and to aid them overcome economic and and social challenges. The community  with souls of one gender trapped in body of the opposite, had always been marginalised for being born the way they are and in their attempts to train and catch up their bodies with their actual mind they find themselves as the third gender who establish a rigid symbiosis with their minds and bodies. Yes, when it comes to gender the transgenders break the societal rule being male or female and hence they are found as a threat by the same patriarchy, the very existence of which depends of every individuals’ compliance  which denies presence of them in politics, government or in the public. Moreover, if they live visible and Open , in most cases, they are tagged as perverts and are hated and hurt.   I had only seen those media  representations in which transgenders were portrayed as over-sexualized species, sex workers or drag queens and I hence carried the wrong idea that due to the visible presence of the Hijra individuals  at the queer pride marches,  quite an orthodox state like Kerala finds gay men too as trans persons. My pseudo notion towards the third gender individuals was jolted when I had met them in real life and spend time with. I had always been told that men don’t cry, and I didn’t at least for things that directly affected me, which proved wrong when I confronted with them in person and to know the shocking lives they pass through counterbalancing their dual identities.  I felt extremely shameful for myself for knowing only a little about them before and my hate for them vanished in a jiffy as soon as I realised that I was wholly wrong. The ignorant ones easy fall into the trap of such stereotyping and often miss to grasp that they too do things like every one else does. Hardly few knows the truth that Trans people have a gender(male, female or inter sex  and an orientation(homo, hetero or bi) as we are persons who inhabit only the conventional gender roles. Their identity, about which they are not ambiguous , leaves them with much more emotional and mental stress than we do. They deserve respect for the fact that each person’ bond with her/his body is unique and in doing what works to adapt their bodies for their true minds . We must not understand them  from their performances for earnings but as real people and lets have enough empathy to be conscious to not find their attire as cross-dressing but just their way of wearing clothes. When it is quite vivid that these fellow humans of alternate gender do not have proper place in the society for not being real male or female,  let us remember that there are many ways to be HUMAN than being only Man or Woman and hope that the law stay enough strong ,following and with justice to the verdict,  to enable the officials to integrate transgenders into the mainstream society and may be even a level beyond so as to amend 377 in near...

Oh Right, Gay Rights Aug02

Oh Right, Gay Rights

It is a funny thing, the human intellect. The same person who would discuss Non Newtonian Fluids with you, in the same breath would go all conspiratorial and say ” Pssst, I think he is gay”. It does put things into perspective. We live in an age were sexual orientation or sexual preferences get as much screen time as real actual news and real actual science. How many movie stars were purported to be gay? That in itself tells us that people are really interested in what other people (whom they don’t even know) do in their sexual lives. Sit back for a moment. Just think, just imagine what exactly may be going through a person’s mind when they talk about the sexual orientation of another person. I have been asked “can you imagine him putting his thing into him”.  No I can’t. More to the point, I do not want to imagine where they or whoever puts their whatever.  But by that theory, conversely, if such a thought is used to judge a gay couple, does that mean that you can imagine what people whom you know who are straight do with their genitalia?  How perverted can you be, if you need to imagine where people put their sexual organs so that you can approve of another person’s relationship.  This need for people to pry into another person’s sexuality brings out the most contemptible aspect of man. A need to create a society were everyone has to approve of another person’s most private aspect of life. A need for people to conform to the narrow-mindedness of a set of people who put themselves on pedestals fuelled by the imagined power of religion or politics. I have heard from my friends who are gay about how...

HUMANISTS IN FORT KOCHI Jul02

HUMANISTS IN FORT KOCHI

The echoes are still there, when we called out for supporters of Humanity and Equal Rights and Kochi responded like never before. More than 40 people joined up to rock Fort Kochi for an impromptu...

Never Too Much Love Jun10

Never Too Much Love

If we are honest with our selves, with  the deepest parts of our soul, we instinctually know that sexuality is not a neat concept with a stamp and seal of FOREVER on it.  It isn’t simply being attracted to one person, one gender, one expression of love or passion or about sex.  It is many things to each person as well as changeable in both definition and expression.  Humans  try and make sense of love and matters of the heart by making everyone follow the same rules whether imposed by society, a culture, or worse – a religion.   Supposedly life won’t be nearly as messy/chaotic/real/shocking when we all follow the same rules of attraction. In reality, though, it is messier.   Yes less messy on the outside – the mask we wear to make others happy or to follow the rules and all act the same – but how very messy it is on the inside of each person forced into a role they can’t authentically  play.   Our hearts ache for the true path of love and  we are bruised so deeply when teased, ignored and humiliated by others for our true selves.    We deeply hurt when people malign that which they don’t understand.  We grow up afraid to  show who we really want and how chaotic our own thoughts about acceptance become when we can’t openly and freely follow love where it takes us and who it takes us to.  Living in Fear is a messy, joy-killing and heart damaging life that leaves NO survivors!!! Of my 9 children more than one of my sweet babies identifies with LGBT. And yet, they don’t. They don’t because they refuse to label themselves ONE thing when they have the capacity to be...