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My rift with what passes off for the voice of Indian feminists in public space grows. This time, over reckless grandstanding with LGBT rights.

It has come to my attention that India's feminists have made LGBT rights an election issue. It is unclear how many of these feminists belong to the LGBT community (I don't either) and what gives them the right to decide such things for others when they insist in women having their own voice.

Indian feminists increasingly appear to be bloated on their own sense of self importance bestowed by a media happy to trigger thoughts of violence against women for TRPs under the guise of condemning it. Not unlike the mandatory rape scene of a certain class of films from when I used to watch films (long ago).

The idea of LGBT rights as an election issue is not just reckless, it is engineered to harm LGBT rights.

India is the country where you have all major religions of the country - normally squabbling till your teeth ache - standing shoulder to shoulder to prevent LGBT rights, a right wing that is potentially on the verge of taking control of the country and the idea seems to be to point out to the homophobic majority who the people are who will make their every homophobic paranoia come true if elected. And then they vote for the country they want. Try getting a vote for your right to wear what you want in Saudi Arabia. Or heck India will do. If others should't have the right to decide your dress, who died and made you God that you grant others the right to decide whether LGBT should have rights or not? Why not let Khaps decide your rights then?

Some religious zealot doing this, I can understand. The right to decide by mob whether an individual has rights. Feminists engineering this with pride? Have all the brains gone on collective vacation?

How many rights are going to be sacrificed by air heads greedy for the next grand stand in media? Media is patriarchy, because it is driven by TRP and male controlled corporates and politicians. Instead of some slim young professional "people like us" handpicked individual case with a story that sells, bring up marital rape, domestic violence, tribal women instead of only Soni Sori, a 42 year old mother of five from some slum raped and watch your halo wilt and TRPs drop and you find the earth under your feet. That is where the women of India are.

The LGBT community is somewhere below that in public perception. They are not even understood as persons deserving of rights, let alone persons whose rights should be legalized. Unlike half of society being women, they are tiny numbers scattered all over the country. Not even concentrated in one constituency. What bright idea was it to make their rights open to debate and the subject of a standoff. What gives any idiot the right to make someone's fundamental right the subject of debate?

What is the consequence if Modi wins and LGBT rights are thrown in the dustbin and the clear verdict is people would have voted if they wanted such things in society? More talk shows? What should the community do? Who is to prevent enforcement of section 377 claiming mandate of the people?

Votes should be for people's needs, not their right to impose their prejudices on others or grant rights, as though an LGBT person's right to have sex with who they like is a concession given to them by the heterosexual majority. A democratic government must govern to make the people thrive, but must also govern for reform - whether voters like it or not. You get your jobs and decreased inflation and whatever shit, and you shut up and obey a law that says people who are not you have rights too. Just like you. Not up for vote. Country belongs to all and all have freedom to be and thrive in it. You can't protect minorities by throwing them at the mercy of a majority that actively persecutes them.

Which is what you do, when you make LGBT rights a matter people can vote for or against.

Idiot bubblegum feminists.

4

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.

By: Jeanne Menj

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

Questioning the lack of age appropriate parenting and its impact on children as inadvertently sexually provocative behavior.

There is a kind of social, emotional abandonment of childhood itself, which I see as a growing phenomenon of our "modernity". Recently, I had argued on a group forum about the lack of really good children's films, and children's talent shows having children perform dances to very adult themes including emotions they are unlikely to have experienced in any way that does justice to the performance as art. Sexual attraction, betrayal, for example. A parent was very angry with me for calling this an example of neglect and said that her child LIKED and CHOSE to dance to those songs.

I beg to differ. Increasingly, busy parents have no time for childish things. Many will put on a cartoon on TV for kids to watch, but not sit with them to enjoy it. Many parents want to do intelligent things with children and ask them to play childish games with friends. Spending time together inherently has started requiring children to understand adult tastes to hold interest or be abandoned to their own devices. Choices influenced by these should not be seen as an interest in the content so much as an interest in holding the interest of loved adults.

Another way of looking at it is that sex repressed adults find unconscious enjoyment in sexual freedom being enacted publicly and freely. At the same time, their sexuality is so repressed, that they see nothing wrong with children dancing pelvic thrusts, because their own pelvic thrusts aren't sexual either, in their awareness.

A friend recently shared an outrageous situation. She said that the children being role modeled "sexy" all the time with few examples of self-respect or asserting personal boundaries, may have led many children to act in a seductive manner, which can give mixed messages to others - in the sense of implying consent.

She gave the example of her daughter's friend who was 11 years old, had not hit puberty and showed little sexual awareness, but wore, clingy, feminine clothes that were designed along the lines for more adult women in the sense of drawing attention to the body in a sexual manner - clothing many adult women would hesitate to wear too - she described strategic transparency, frills that would have framed a cleavage if she had one, but flopped meaninglessly on a flat chest, short skirts that flashed knickers all the time - while the girl herself was a tomboy and very friendly, but not necessarily in a sexual way - she was simply too young yet.

My friend said she constantly worried that a hormonal teenager or lecherous adult would read or choose to label the mixed messages wrong and lead to undesirable sexual consequences. The surprise is that the girl's mother, who wears salwar kameez and saris almost like a uniform is making these purchases for her daughter, saying that "she's a kid, let her enjoy now while she can wear exposing clothes". This is so warped on so many levels.... Freud would have a party with this. Many parents seem to live their desires of sexual freedoms through what they get their kids to do. Which, in my view is plain sick.

She is no prude, I am no prude, but I understood her to be saying that while there is nothing wrong about sexual attraction, children are rarely very self aware, and the friendly inputs from an adult can help them understand how they present themselves. It is a part of growing up. I agree with my friend that if the girl chose to wear clothes that flaunted sexuality, it was her choice, but if it was an unintended thing, then she was likely to be caught unaware by its impact on people and in either case, an adult ought to have been keeping a protective eye over her to ensure that her desire (if she chose) for freedom was not exploited. This, in my view is neglect on the part of a parent. The lack of that guiding into the world by showing meanings to things that may not have been noticed or intended. Children don't need to learn the hard way.

I call openly for sexual liberalization and acceptance of sexuality as a natural part of growth. However, what this girl's mother is doing isn't freedom, this is abandonment and possibly endangerment. When you set children free, as a responsible parent, your job multiplies exponentially, because the idea isn't to let them run wild and fall over cliffs, but for them to spread their wings safely with loving adults watching out for them, partnering them in their discovery of the world.

I brought this example up, because victimization of children gets spoken of a lot, but there is little talk about abdication of protective responsibilities of parents. We choose to ignore these things. This sexualization of children that is a social phenomenon, unless there is a rape, then we protest it. There is also little talk of the sexualization of children overall - for example, the mother may have purchased those clothes, but they are available in kids sizes in shops everywhere. Black net stockings for a girl to play in the garden? Gimme a break!

The intent and scope of MaalChaal and how it matters. Help us with your ideas and by recommending us to people and people to us so that we can engage the diversity that makes this as statement for all people.

I want to begin with saying that the name "MaalChaal" is directly derived as a "translation" of slutwalk. However, we see the scope of this protest as much wider. While sexual crimes are a large part of it, MaalChaal also makes a strong statement for the right of people to be themselves. With this in mind, I see the MaalChaal stating categorically:

  1. Every person has a right to dignity and safety. Any quality of a person is no reason to victimize them.
  2. Sexual aggression is less about attraction and more about an attack on a person. Whether it is eve teasing or rapes, Child sexual abuse or men being raped or older people.... the common factor is always that the victims refusal is overruled by force and their space is invaded - to whatever extent. Any non consensual sexual approach is a crime, regardless of the victim's clothes, looks, profession, area, or any other quality.
  3. Stereotypes play a large role in justifying abuse in society. Women and children in particular suffer for being attractive and vulnerable. Any sexual misbehaviour even within family or social circle is still criminal.
  4. There are certain stereotypes that are looked upon as fair game for sexual insults - women who wear "revealing clothes", women who smoke or drink, homosexuals, transgendered people, prostitutes, among others. We hope to challenge the notion that the guilt of a crime can be transfered to the victim because they belong to a certain "kind" of people.
  5. Police are used to dismissing the distress of women if they don't approve of their clothing. Prostitutes often cannot hope for an investigation into a robbery in their home because of their profession. The MaalChaal questions this discrimination and urges the police and the justice system to stop discriminating between citizens and providing or denying their rights on individual discretion. We state that as citizens of India, they have a right to protection from the state.
  6. At work, it is common to see homophobia or different treatment for women where people may be discriminated against for their gender or sexual orientation or they may be preyed upon in order to
What kind of people will attend the walk? We are hoping to have as wide a variety of people as possible. Some people we are reaching out to:
  • Colleges and universities
  • Corporate and other organizations.
  • Maid unions and other groups with members where victims of such abuse are common
  • Prostitutes
  • LGBT people
  • NGOs working with social victimizaiton - domestic abuse, women's rights, rescue of child sex workers.
This is an evolving idea and this page will keep getting updated to reflect the growth of our attentions and scope.
If you think of other statements we can make, or people we can approach, do help out in the comments. We invite you to share your thoughts and resources and volunteer to approach people you can to spread the word and help more people assert their vision of a society respectful of human dignity.
You can also send in your ideas on the MaalChaal page or by tweeting them to @MaalChaal or @Vidyut

14

I had been noticing for quite some time the increasingly aggressive and unreasonable nature of most debates. There is no sense of compromise or even a willingness to listen attentively before assuming. I had noticed that the most energy seems to lie around power/control and sex/gender related discussions, and things started falling into place.

Sexual frustration is the root cause of most social aggression #tweetlikeFreud
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

Sexual awareness is something humans around the world share. We come into it in the same way, we are curious about it in much the same way. Experimentation with the new sense of self is a preoccupation with teenagers around the world.

We come into sexual ability at puberty. Then, we spend a few years getting used to the idea.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

And that is natural. It is like exploring the space where a tooth was, with your tongue, or testing the edge of the emerging tooth.

It is changes in the body and instincts that we reorient our sense of self around. Some of the most important years in life in terms of personality.
Then, we spend a lot of years - the sexual peak, actually for men - twiddling thumbs, because sexuality is becoming increasingly taboo
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
This is actually sad, because the natural instinct of any animal, humans included is to reach maturity and begin preparing for reproduction - on a biological, hormonal level. Emotionally, it is a time of a lot of suppressed desires. The new self image is quite fragile and needs the reassurance of being "functional" - as in, capable of attracting a mate and having a relationship.
Whether the relationship lasts is immaterial, courtship is a natural instinct. However, our society looks down on it as something undesirable.
This largely stems from old fashioned concerns about the woman being "used", meaning, had sex with and abandoned - often pregnant. So it is actually a protective norm gone way out of its original context.
From advising women to refuse men "physical relations" as sex is euphemised, to forbidding, monitoring and controlling the contact of unmarried girls with men, this is a journey that is taking us down the rabbit hole where interacting with men "unnecessarily" or for pleasure is seen as a mark of "bad character".
The choice is very clearly between losing respect or acting on desire.
If you consider 30 as the average age of marriage, that is approximately 16 years since wanting to have sex and getting it
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

Add to this the increasing corporate culture and stress on being self-sufficient before marriage and increasing inflation and the age of marriage has moved past 30 for many people.

I have even heard match making mamas chitter among each other that settling down before marriage is such greate incentive for becoming secure in life! The classic carrot and stick circus.
What people don't realize in this process is the physical, emotional and psychological toll it takes to not do something that is a spontaneous instinct.
So, you have no easy source for sex, and the age of marriage is going further and further away.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
And this is a cause of great frustration among young people. Why young people? Even with 30 something unmarried people. Sex is taboo.
The age old service that prostitutes have been providing for mankind for precisely these reasons is now under attack from both sides. The traditional view sees it as immoral while the modern view sees it as the mark of a person unable to attract a woman.
In essence, if you are living with family, you can expect to be ready for sex sometime around 14 years of age, and not get it till about twice that age - usually longer. Those who don't live with family have it slightly easier from the lack of immediate shame and taboos.
That is a heck of a lot of frustration. Then you have a lot of frustrated, short tempered people getting offended at everything.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
It is difficult to realize the extent to which this suppression of natural instincts disturbs the victims. Some rebel, some break off ties, others get into aggressive, repetitive  arguments. Still others entertain themselves with passing women.
You have people "copping a feel" of a woman, hungrily looking at any woman as a sexual opportunity to be grabbed or lost....
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

#Eveteasing is a crime of opportunity and aggression.  One way or the other, the suppressed feelings will explode out. There are many who hunger for a woman so much, that they end up staring at women they see and knowing that it is wrong, they will create explanations about how that particular target is not worthy of respect or in other words, allowed.

It is a process of suffering and dishing out anger too. When a part of the mind is preoccupied with something it cannot legitimately get, the mind is disturbed and overloaded causing irritation and anger to spill over into their interactions with people.
Women are no longer people, but objects of entertainment to be judged and abused. And not just women, it is about anyone who seems to be an opportunity to get sexual experiences. Grandmothers and small children have been raped too!!! It isn't at all about actions inviting rape. That is an excuse.
Many suggest the solution for sexual harassment like eve teasing or rapes be harsh. That is a band aid. An emergency fix of a bad situation
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
Most people get angry with predatory men, and there are calls for severe punishments ranging from intricate tweaks of laws to make them more stringent to demanding that police act more strictly against complaints, to outright recommendations of castration for rapists.
Without calling any method of punishment better or worse, I want to stress that punishment, however light or severe is post facto. A heavy punishment will be some deterrence, but a bully rarely sees himself in negative light, so doesn't think of himself as criminal for the deterrence to matter.
On the other hand, I do see how a strong, well publicized punishment goes a long way than mere words. In any case, these are punishments. They rarely get to the root of what causes such criminals to be formed in society.
The real solution can only come if people have ways to engage in natural, hormonal, emotional instincts without being shamed for it.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

We need to get real about these things. While it is important that young adults are safe, it creates more problems than it solves if we go the other end of the scale and police them for something as natural as attraction and developing relationships. It only leads to hidden affairs and increased risk rather than decreased. Or it adds to suppressed sexual desires causing frustrations that warp other aspects of behaviour.

It creates a classic sour grapes mentality around women. We see already that misogyny has gone beyond being an attitude to being a very real danger to women with many instances of life threatening harm or deaths. The methods of victimization can be physical/mental or actual physical attacks or murders. The common fact, whether it is a catcall or a rape+murder is simple and obvious - the woman is overruled about her own self.
I am in no way excusing criminals, but I do think that in the process of segregating genders and shaming attraction, we deprive our own of very vital tools for dealing functionally with the other gender, as well as the much needed interactions that are so important for mental well being.
It is no coincidence that the more rigid a society it is, the more hot tempered people there are.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
And not just about sex. Hot tempered, intolerant people about anything. A person with frustrated desires is irritable and looking for ways to push people away. Doesn't take too long to categorize large swathes of people as one kind and be angry with them for their real or imagined qualities.
This unnatural moralizing also creates other problems. Gender roles are changing. People enter marriages clueless no compromise needed.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
The woman of today is very different from the women of twenty years ago. And still different from one thirty years ago, and so on. The world has opened to women. Opportunities, responsibilities, freedoms beyond anything women might have imagined thirty years before.
As such, traditional attitudes around marriage are often unfair, because they don't appreciate the expanding influence of the woman that didn't exist earlier, and their recommendations for women are often very unreasonable for a working woman.
Yet, without the socialization, very few couples actually get time to integrate with each other and families and the marriage is very often quite similar to a leap of faith.
And there IS no reason why all this should happen. It really is not necessary at all to interfere in the sexual life of someone else - unless you are their partner and thus subject to their choices.
Seeing as how we now have excellent contraceptives, there is no reason young adults can't be educated in their use and allowed to BE.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

A father once berated me for saying such things, because according to him, something like this will get his daughter pregnant by a creep, her life destroyed. This is not true.

If a woman is likely to get attracted to a creep, I think it is much better she have an affair with him openly than hide and eventually marry and remain tied to him. If children are not budy hiding from parents, vital conversations around morality, safe sex, emotional needs etc can happen and empower young people to make far more responsible choices.
Like I mentioned, contraception exists, and even if it fails, it really isn't the end of the world enough for the girl any more. Social acceptability is improving, as are the opportunities for earning and independence for women.
Most importantly, it is still better than a daughter pregnant and married to a creep.
It is a fallacy to think that shaming people from having relationships actually prevents them - it only renders some young people more vulnerable to other people who may exploit them.
It gives legitimacy to people victimizing women who are open about their relationships as though the woman is a public object without the right to have preferences or refuse.
If you consider 30 as the average age of marriage, that is approximately 16 years since wanting to have sex and getting it
Vidyut
August 4, 2011
That is more than half the age till then. That is more than schooling years. A loooooong time of intense feeling spent in forced denial
Vidyut
August 4, 2011

Very important. What does it mean, when we design our world so that fertile, interested people are kept away from each other by design for their most reproductive years and most intense desires?

What a depressing thought that if you are fourteen when you hit puberty, you have the duration of your life so far stretched ahead before you actually do anything about that ability.
The idea that another can dictate sexual norms itself stinks of seeing mts own children as possessions.
Vidyut
August 4, 2011