As we contrive to assert ourselves in all possible ways (and with such force nevertheless) – we find ourselves constantly being bombarded by a plethora of terms concerning the question of ‘gay desire’. Desire we do – to assert ourselves to be taken seriously, to achieve more representation, to be treated normally, and the best of all – to be treated equally. While this conversation needs to continue, and continue on broader platforms, the question that demands to answer (and with utmost immediacy) is the question of ‘Gay Predicament’.
What it really means to be gay in this country?
It is an interesting time to be gay (and okay) in India. Thanks to the landmark judgment in September of 2018, the community can, at last, breathe a sigh of relief. By decriminalizing consensual sex between any two adults, the gates of being accepted, and by extrapolation, being treated normally, have been quickly opened to us. It is endearing to see how readily straight people accept you for who you are; sometimes to an extent that you wonder whether they had been waiting all their lives for this one pivotal moment where you could finally come out to them and pave the way for honest conversations. On this account, full marks should be attributed to the straight community.
The question then really is – as marginalized section of the society if we value freedom so much, should not this ‘sense’ of freedom be extended to the cause and suffering of any set of people who identify themselves as ‘minority’. Now there is an uncomfortable word, which drags along with it an uncomfortable truth. Do we really understand the true meaning of the word ‘inclusion’ and ‘equality’? Or, to cite the clichéd example of Hollywood, does inclusion mean selective inclusion? Are some people born more equal than the others? And could this subtle discrimination never change?
Within the community itself, a great transformation is required. It is here the question of ‘being Indian’ vs ‘being liberal’ would be fought the fiercest.
The seeds of discrimination are so deeply ingrained in us that we (well most of us) still identify ourselves with our religion more than we identify ourselves as individuals. Fighting for equality, by default, makes one a liberal. And if that axiom is true, should the gay community actively participate in politics? And should we confine ourselves to the matters concerning the community, or widen our field of vision by taking up the cause of anyone who feels marginalized, discriminated against, profiled, and what not?
Is it any surprise then that a majority of gay people are also artists? Art liberates. It is through art that we first started this campaign of being accepted in society. Never mind the closet. People still cherish a graceful dance movement, or an apposite simile, or a nuanced swar executed perfectly. It is the end product that matters, and the identity of an artist becomes incidental. History is a mirror to this innate sense of liberalism that, in my opinion, every gay is born with. Artists around the world have felt it their duty to express against the forces of tyranny and oppression. The onus assumes a humungous connotation for a gay artist. She has to fight for both the terms – gay and artist, ensuring that the term doesn’t turn oxymoronic. It would spell doom to the cause of freedom (whatever that is), if the community does not rise above the prejudices within itself.
We have been accorded a great responsibility by the Supreme Court Judgement. What should we make of it truly depends on our sense of understanding freedom? The battle, as I understand, is less with the straight community and more within the gay community itself. At this epoch-making juncture, should we unite only against the forces that wantonly discriminate us, or should we become the harbingers of true equality, where no person irrespective of the caste, creed, sex, colour, or community would ever feel insecure?
Are we the voice of rationality and reason? Or does the threat of complacency loom large? Will we look the other way when justice is being served to us while the less fortunate ones continue their lonesome struggle? Will this ghost of subtle discrimination ever be exorcised? Only time will tell.
This blog post is a submission by one of our well-wishers. If you feel like you can contribute too for the cause, write to us with your story and we shall share it with the world.