'Section 377 imported, not homosexuality'

I am sorry for putting my bedroom out here in public view. Exhibitionism is not my kink. It is but important now, more than ever that I don’t show you pictures from silhouettes of restrain, but give you the real view – uninhibited. I am a homosexual man.

I make love to men. I made no choice about my sexuality, but I did choose to be open and am unabashed about it.  O come on, don’t throw the carrot of “choice” on me, seriously.  I don’t get up every day, look at myself in the mirror and say “hey, the sun is bright, let me be gay”. My sexuality is not an outfit that I wear or a personality that I adore; it is a part of my entire being.

Well, Section 377 or without it, I will continue being gay and I would rather be counted as a criminal in my own country for being a “practising” homosexual than hide my face in a closet that I several moons ago had bid adieu forever.  I used the word practising, because I do have a sex life, and Section 377 doesn’t really criminalise my sexuality, it criminalises the sexual acts that are “against the order of nature”. No one has defined what “order of nature” means, some destructive minds have made these words a basis for discrimination. Any sex which is not in the process of procreation (peno-vaginal) is interpreted as “unnatural” and “against the order of nature”, which means that in effect, the law criminalises even heterosexual cases of oral sex and anal sex.  I fail to understand the interest of the state in the intricate details of the sex life of consenting adults.

I wonder if heterosexuals make love only when they plan a family. I firmly believe that sex is normal and natural, irrespective of whether it is for the purpose of procreation, or for the purpose of recreation.  But since homosexual sex doesn’t give birth to babies, we are considered unnatural – abnormal etc. The problem is complex and deep rooted.
Psychiatric associations world over have de-listed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. There is a lot of thought that people put in about organs used for excretion being used for sexual acts. Not all gay men have anal sex. Speaking about myself, I don’t feel anal sex is the most important part of making love. I could be completely in love with a person of my own gender and feel orgasmic just kissing his lips and watch him going to sleep on my chest. We may engage in oral sex, may be, but anal sex is not how all of us define our sexual relationships. The debates surrounding homosexual sex give an impression that homosexuals are horny rabbits waiting for an opportunity to pounce on each other.

 I wonder if homophobes spend a good amount of time every day imagining about gay sex. I should tell them, that most homosexuals don’t think of sex all the time, and definitely not as much as homophobes imagine about us having sex. It is not an abnormality, it is not a choice, it is an orientation. Imagine this, if it was a choice, why would anyone choose a life where one has to face opposition, risk societal ostracisation, get browbeaten in schools and colleges and at workplace, and live a life of an oppressed minority whose rights to be are regarded as unworthy  by the highest court in his country?

Then comes the question of morality and how homosexuals have been a bad influence on society, are against Indian tradition, a Western influence. I think Section 377 is the worst Western influence. It was brought to India by the British. The British left leaving the law behind, which continues to rule and imprison us. India has always had an open and accepting culture. A trip to Khajuraho and other places in India would validate my claim.
Society and culture are not static bodies, they are a constantly evolving phenomenon.  About influencing society, I would love to influence people to be more liberal thinkers and non-discriminating creatures. Perhaps the word to be used is not “influencing” but “evolving”. However, one cannot become a gay person by getting “influenced” by gay people.

If we really go to see the whole debate surrounding Section 377, it is not about people who want to make love or people who don’t want them to make love. It is a debate about my right to be myself.  The judgment speaks volumes about how the view of a majority could rule over the minority voice. We are called a “minuscule minority”, we may be so too. But the question is even if I am just one homosexual in the whole of India, are my rights less significant? Am I less Indian?

I am not asking for the right to love men, I have loved men. I am asking for a life of privacy and dignity. I just want the state to not peep into my closed bedroom when I make love. Is that too much to ask for?

(The writer, an equal-rights activist,
was named one of the 100 most
influential LGBT persons in the world
by The Guardian, UK)

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