Monday, June 25, 2007

Homosexuality in small towns.

The Indian metros have long been considered the mecca for homosexual activities, with a few other cities like Nagpur, Hyderabad, etc. being constantly considered. The media hype and the amount of information overload (with the internet and websites like orkut playing a major role) has changed the scenario a lot now. Even small cities like Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Patna, to name a few have recently seen a surge in the amount of queer activities. What is astoundingly noticeable is the fact that almost all towns have ‘gay meeting points’ which are just a google away! A number of NGOs are doing some work, mainly to make the ‘communities’ aware of the protection they need to have against STDs. While sexuality is a very complicated issue it is incredible how the number of people who have ‘come out of the closet’ has considerably increased over a few years in India.
I tried to find out more on this issue on the backdrop of a ‘gay marriage’ between two girls hailing from Harrayana. Journalism can be a very complex experience and I experienced it first hand in my first stint with ‘true journalism’. Getting a chance to interview a person who flaunts his sexuality openly over the internet was much tougher than I had imagined. I contacted a few people through but it was a futile attempt. (I wanted an interview for my podcast as well but it could never happen!). Having set my mind on the story I went the illegal way. I created a fake orkut account and joined a few communities which openly expose the lack of securities and the slackness in the implementation of the ‘norms’ of and its associated sites. As I browsed through the various communities and their members, a few facts were evident:

  • Getting ‘hooked up’ is very simple on the internet.

  • Nudity and obscenity is the order of the day.

  • For many it is just a medium to escape the monotony of their lives.

  • Pornography is not restricted to the business aspect; many sex chats (C-2-C, as they are called) show the individual and non-economic angle.

  • For quite a few fame hungry men and women, violating the norms of the society is the easiest option and internet provides them a private audience with secret admirers.

  • The serge in the queer behavior may be just a lack of opportunity with the opposite sex (even over the internet) and the strange restrictions that the Indian society imposes on such individuals (especially belonging to small towns).

  • There are however, a number of fascinated first timers who may have been ‘inspired’ by the MTV and other outlets of metro-culture. (If a big football star is Gay, it’s so ‘cool’).

Like always, I don’t wish to leave you with an overwhelming opinion that may obstruct your free flowing thought process. I just had my side of the story to tell you and encourage you to voice your opinions here and have a fruitful discussion.

PS: I’ve deleted the fake profile I had created on!!!


Nitin Joshi said...

Commendable...or rather i shud say ...courageous....
the most striking feature of the net is that it provides anonymity.

but homosexuality has been our society...always..its just that no body wud have the guts to speak out in open...
as far as c2c chats are concerned..i have had my share and many a times the 'gal' u r chatting with turns out to be a guy!the net provides them with an opportunity to have an alter ego online.
but at the end of the day, i feel its highly personal a be or not be gay!The law regarding homosexuality in india is no doubt archaic.I mean, its none of anybodys business how a particular person behaves in bed.I m not sure legalising gay marriages wud help,but atleast people shud be educated about this as i think its one of the prime reasons for the spread of AIDs and other STDs.

descrying the shadows said...

I wonder...why it felt awkward to receive a request on orkut frm a guy who not only sounded gay but also appeared to be screaming it out to the world in his profile ...i realy am not clear with what the motive was behind the article..but neither do i understand why i felt awkward..Maybe its got to do with our discomfort towards such issues and people..maybe some ppl jus do it for the heck of doing it..But really my question is why do we care...?

Anonymous said...

I'm gay but it's not a personal choice at all, or at least I don't believe it is. It may have been something that has happened to me in my childhood or maybe I was born with it? But I would give anything in the world or do anything to be straight. I've even tried to be straight before. I've even had a girlfriend before... it just doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely disagree to Mr. Nitin calling it a "courageous" experiment. (His second sentence contradicts the first when he mentions the anonymity involved). If there is anonymity, you don't need courage. You simply don't fear anything then!

Also, I am Gay and I've known it for over 10 years now. I am 22, and as Mr. Anonymous pointed out, I've at some point in my life wished that I was str8 too. But then common sense dawned on me eventually, and I realized that I was happy being Gay! :) I have had a boyfriend for a long time, and now I am settled in the US and plan to come out someday.

Also, your views and opinions on this topic are VERY skewed. You understand that if you act as a str8 guy, you can still get a hundred girls over the internet to do the same thing for you, right? Go on Yahoo Chat rooms! Being Gay is not only about sex, and I believe you should have explored that part instead of portraying it as a freak show.

Prasoon Joshi said...

Mr. Anonymous-2,
I would love to see you settle down with the person you love. Clearly, love is the driving factor in your case but the orkut profiles I was talking about in the article were of people who plunge themselves into Gay community only to satisfy their sexual needs (which may be better than those who commit crimes like rape, but nevertheless not something many people would appreciate).
The sad reality of the hour is that emotions are being dubbed as 'straight emotions' or 'gay emotions' and most people are either sex maniacs or homophobic assholes. I would love to be proved wrong here.
Do read an article I wrote a few weeks back on CnC on how India is still finding it hard to juggle sex and culture. Keep following CnC (not always as anonymous though ;P )

Anonymous said...

An interesting reply!

Well firstly,
1. Thank you for the good wishes! I hope that happens soon. My family is still back in India, and though I am out to my sister, there still are some barriers to cross. Someday, may be! :)
2. You aren't as bad as I had presumed! ;) :P
3. I wish I didn't have to be anonymous - would give anything for it. :) Someday, someday!

The sad reality of the hour is that emotions are being dubbed as 'straight emotions' or 'gay emotions' and most people are either sex maniacs or homophobic assholes.
On this point, I do agree with you. Homophobic guys are assholes! ;)

Jokes apart, in case now you need an interview, let me know. I like the fact that this and the other post also focussed on HIV/STD. Though I am well educated, I didn't really know about it when I was young and I could have been one of the victims today (I got myself tested 1 year back after coming to senses and have of course been very careful about it since). People need to be given sex-education and it shouldn't be treated as taboo.

Great work. Keep it up!
Mr. Anonymous-2 ;)

Prasoon Joshi said...

Dear Anonymous-2,
I'm not too sure if I would need an interview anytime soon again, cuz this was a one time stint (I'm lucky didn't screw this too bad).
About the fact that we need to educate everyone around us about the dangers of HIV/AIDS I would love to support you in any manner possible for this (I can pledge the support of all my blogs and websites if you have a campaign in mind, please get in touch with me at prasoonj [at] gmail [dot] com for this). I happened to read an article on instablogs yesterday by some mainstream journalist and he was of the opinion that instead of teaching people (young guys and gals) about safe sex we should make sure they act in accordance with our 'culture' and do not indulge in any such act, I cant tell you how ashamed I was to find out that this fellow was from my own city :(