When our Supreme Court turned its back on the LGBT community, it was clear that India was taking a determined step into intolerance. The idea that a group of religious leaders can present a united front and inflict their prejudices on the country had come true in the most unnoticeable of ways. It was fascism, gender fascim.
It was sugarcoated in many nice sounding words. Hardly anyone has been booked under this law. This law provides a means to prosecute for gay rape. The Parliament can always amend it, and so on. No one bought it. Everyone knew exactly what had happened. We had just declared homosexual men to be not acceptable among us. And I am not going to mince words. It is man on man sex that has the zealots shuddering with alarm. They are men, right? They could be treated like they treat women? Hell no. That was the subtext.
Woman on woman sex has never been that big an issue. We have marginalized transgender men for as long as we have existed as a civilizaton, but it has not been an issue to the point of needing to be banned. I doubt if the chauvinists want “men who look like women” returned to them, so to say. Gay sex is a different story.
“If it looks like a man, quacks like a man, what if I became like that too?” is the single greatest driver of paranoia about gay men. And let me be even more blunt. The problem isn’t even with penetrating a man. The problem is with being penetrated – like a woman – at least from what I gather from the angry tweets I had got at that time for my blunt criticism of the religious zealots. Which is why the pedophiles raping little boys never inspire any paranoia about pedophiles, though people may still be indignant about the rape. They aren’t raping adult men. That is the crux of the issue. “If men started having sex with adult men, that would make all adult men vulnerable to gay rape.” This perception of rape here is clearly one of being penetrated. Such men would continue to describe say… a woman forcing a man into intercourse as “why force the willing”.
The crude phrase “gand marwana” usually said to imply degradation. So if you mar someone’s gand, you basically owned them. If your gand got mar-ed then you got subjugated/conquered/whatever. The marwana is the victim blaming you got it done. Asked for it.
I know this is an ugly detour into the crude expressions of street slang, but necessary to understand that when we say homophobic, we aren’t talking of dislike of men who penetrate other men, we are talking of men who like getting penetrated by other men, and thus kind of bring shame on the team that is traditionally supposed to be the conqueror in this little hunting game called sex. In other words, homophobics may be paranoid about homosexual men, that won’t stop them from raping them.
A story in Gaylaxy describes the gang rape of a gay man. An excerpt.
The two policemen, in their mid-20s, were posted on duty during the Ahmedabad gay pride march held on December 1st, in which the victim had participated. Today as the man was returning to his car, the policemen recognized and accosted him, asking if he had taken part in the march (images of the victim were seen on the print and electronic media which had covered the pride march). On his confirmation, the cops demanded to see his license and papers and started hurling abuses at him. The victim protested and tried to get away, but the cops started beating him up with sticks and forced themselves on him, abusing him all the time and remarking ‘jab poori duniya se marwai hai, toh humse bhi marwa le’ (when you have got fucked by the whole world, then get fucked by us too) . The man returned home battered and bruised with multiple wounds on his body. The cops were not drunk and were in full control of their senses.
And of course all the ugly echoes of your regular, garden variety rapes. “If you have se that we don’t approve of, that means we get to rape you.” Then that gand marwana bringing in that near mandatory touch of “you got yourself fucked, we are only doing what is normal for you” victim blaming. The only difference is that Section 377 in this case is somewhat like Pakistan’s Hudood laws, where a woman making a complaint of rape is guilty of adultery by default. Few rapes get reported. With Section 377, we will be able to wipe out gay rape here. Not reported, doesn’t exist. Law doing no harm. Who cares what blackmail and assault and hate happens outside the courtroom?
Now I come to the point of this ugly post. Two cops raped a man. The “two” is important, because it is an act done by agreement, each cop witness to his partner in crime. Not something they thought they needed to hide.
I don’t want to go on a rant at this stage, because if I go, I don’t know if and when I’ll stop and the whole post will be unreadable.
I want to point out that the Supreme Court has just opened a whole new gay rape “scene”. Gay men, being illegal cannot disclose their identity without facing risk and further prejudice. Naturally by the Supreme Court of the country declaring them illegal, the act of coming out of the closet itself is now complicated when it comes to explaining to their usually ignorant families how they are criminals if who they are is not wrong.
On the other hand, reporting gay rape has become tougher. Section 377 had exactly one halo – with rape laws not caring about men being raped (and such monumental ignorance on such a high level is difficult to imagine) – Section 377 is used to punish it, because it is “unnatural sex”. A gay man getting raped would basically be violating that same law.
And we are back to the central problem with our gender rights in India. There is no difference between consent and lack of it. Only what the alpha male mind finds “right”.
In my view, in Supreme Court should be prosecuted for this rape, because without the victim filing a complaint, the policemen cannot be arrested, and we have successfully shielded two rapists in uniform.
4 thoughts on “Gay rape – law does not recognize a gay rape victim”
I don’t want to divert energy into whether this decision is morally wrong or right(that question comes later) – what I would like to point out is the technicality of the decision.
First of all, it is a wrong interpretation. Law is not clear on what un-natural sex is. So here interpretation comes into picture. This puts the onus of judgment on the interpretation of judges.
So in the end, it was a decision taken by a few elite people – not by the law or technical reasoning of it. It is also somewhat against the constitution – not in words but in spirit. But if anyone does speaks out, they have to be afraid of contempt proceedings. There goes my right to freedom of speech granted by constitution.
Not related to above but completely independent observation (due to technical reasons) – remember, it is always the few elite people who have f-ed the country many times over.
This is a stunning post. So well articulated and hits the nail on the head. I think the crux of the issue, which usually reduces me to an angry incoherent rant, is:
“we aren’t talking of dislike of men who penetrate other men, we are talking of men who like getting penetrated by other men, and thus kind of bring shame on the team that is traditionally supposed to be the conqueror in this little hunting game called sex”
“And we are back to the central problem with our gender rights in India. There is no difference between consent and lack of it. Only what the alpha male mind finds “right”.”
Thank you for putting these issues into words. This is why we have a ‘rape culture’. The Supreme Court should be ashamed of itself. It has been complicit in this man’s rape and brutalisation at the hand of the law-protectors.
This is a setback when people are requested to tolerate alternative realities because the whole phrase of tolerance is misplaced, it ought to be everybody has right to live, and if you have problem get yourself a new place. With highest law protector has betrayed the hope of LGBT community, i do not expect lesser mortals to even understand the value of coexistence, …Naa Ghar mein thikana hai aur naa zamanay ko fiqur hai, hum toh sanam dua kay marrane hain naa koi humay zanta hai or naa koi humay pehcana chahta hai…
Grrr. This makes my blood boil. The Supreme Court has failed in its duty and betrayed the people of India with its prejudice and specious legal reasoning. There was a time when we would all look up to the SC to do the right thing and not leave us at the mercy of the government. No more.
Let me put it this way. If Section 377 is constitutional, then anything is be constitutional. This should have been a no brainer. The SC has essentially reduced the Constitution to meaningless toilet paper.