A biased Article – Does it pay to be gay September 30, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, Deccan Chronicle, English.
Does it pay to be gay? By Farzana Versey Deccan chronicle 19.09.06
Gays are one lucky bunch of people to have leading luminaries write open letters to the government of India demanding a repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which prescribes punishment for same-sex relationships. The fine print is that the law mentions, “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 10 years and shall also be liable for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.” Unknown to many, primarily because the proponents keep their private interests strictly private, there is quite a bit of unnatural sex going on between non-gay people as well. No one comes orward to fight for their rights, simply because their identity does not revolve around their sexuality. Therefore, while one agrees that the Indian law does make gays into criminals, one would like to know just how many people have been arrested, imprisoned and punished for homosexuality. The figures will be negligible. No one is making a case for such punitive action, but every once in a while prominent citizens come forward to appeal
against such “outdated laws.” We do not see them similarly enthused about other such laws or publicly oppose police action against innocent young couples in parks and the disgusting oppression of Dalits who dare to marry above their caste. The reason is simple: the gay movement is a hugely successful public relations exercise.
The latest to join the fray are economist Amartya Sen and author Vikram Seth; the latter has said he joined the campaign because he is “partially gay.” This is a curious comment. There is nothing like a partial gay. This is the worrying aspect about the gay cult. It seeks to co-opt bisexuals who, if they were indeed inclined towards sodomy, could have perhaps been able to practise it in a heterosexual relationship, as many such couples do. Homosexuality has probably existed all along, but in the past few years it has begun to use celebrity endorsements and posthumous tributes to further its cause. Why is it necessary when it is being touted as the most normal thing in the world?
In big cities, passive gay men revel in being “pretty.” Their parties get publicised in the media. They fancy themselves as idols and a small segment has got legitimised only for its sexual preference, and little else. Often, this does result in glamorisation and many young men who are not yet aware of their sexuality find it a “happening” thing to be associated with. The “hormonal imbalance” theory has been slowly replaced by the iconisation of the
gays. When a prominent person like Professor Amartya Sen makes a clichéd pronouncement that the current law “curbed the enhancement of human freedom,” he
ought to have taken a closer look at the responsibility that comes with such freedom. The fact is that homosexuals have carved out a separate niche for themselves. They are not burdened with the bugbear of upholding family values, in that they are free of the constraints of other kinds of social pressures. Yet, do we hear them speak up against the deviants in their midst? Why was there no follow-up regarding allegations against the famous godman who had sexually assaulted a boy? They are quick to brand you homophobic if you raise questions about paedophilia, rape and promiscuity that beset them as much as heterosexuals. The sad fallout of this is that young boys are forced into homosexual affairs. The most vulnerable are those who come to seek employment from villages. Hawkers and maalishwallas at beaches are regularly subjected to such abuse. Forget about arresting them, the cops are happy to pocket hafta — in cash or kind.
The group that is spearheading this latest campaign is really quite ignorant about several basic aspects. They say they do not have figures. According to the Hamsafar Trust that works exclusively with the community the number in India is over 55 million.
Vikram Seth has stated, “It is especially disgraceful that Section 377 has on several recent occasions been used by homophobic officials to suppress work of legitimate HIV-prevention groups, leaving gay and bisexual men in India even more defenceless against infection.” Where vulnerability to HIV infections is concerned, just how many Indians, rrespective of their sexuality, come out and talk about it? Isn’t there the universal fear of being ostracised? And Seth’s comment can be counteracted with a more authoritative voice. Gay activist Ashok Row Kavi protesting against RSS chief K. Sudarshan’s remarks had written in an open letter to him, “Finally, HIV is spread by unprotected sex and has nothing to do with homosexuality. In India, the highest risk factor for women to get HIV-infected is being married to men.
It is our lesbian sisters who are possibly the safest because they rarely spread HIV.” Sensitisation towards marginalised groups is a necessity, but a blind acceptance of their credo will not help them or society.