Maverick: The Paranoia of the New Gay Family Saga
by Farzana Versey
Covert, Aug 1-15
A gay friend once called me homophobic. I had mentioned in passing that he was trying to be “too gay”.
“What is too gay?”
Being gay is essentially about a sexual identity, and although sexuality is an important part of human existence it is not something that has to be flaunted. Does it mean I do not accept it?
Alternative sexuality has changed the way we look at families. With decriminalisation, there may be an element of becoming legitimate either by giving relationships a stamp of social approval or retaining the sanctity of gayness. Many ‘pure’ gays have always had a problem with bisexuals; they believe that it is a compromise and seek to co-opt them.
There is every likelihood for a demand to legalise same-sex marriage, which the pure gays again have a problem with and rightly so. They do not wish to mimic heterosexual behaviour and marriage is a most conservative option.
The very idea of homosexuality gains currency due to it being outside the realm of any stratification.
The legal ramifications of consensus are often vague; the likelihood of brainwashing or bribing is not unusual. Last year in Surat, an 18-year-old killed a 35-year-old man for coercing him into a relationship. The boy was arrested for murder. This was not consensual, both were adults and there was a crime committed that could be termed self-defence or revenge.
How often do we hear gays speak up against paedophilia, rape, promiscuity in their community? How many have been arrested, imprisoned and punished for homosexuality? How many gay icons – a part of the celebrity brigade that has joined these carnivals – come out in the streets to oppose police action against innocent young heterosexual couples who dare to marry above their caste or outside their religion?
Don’t prominent gay couples realise that it is only their fame that protects them? A fashion designer in Goa married his French partner and the Indian media went gaga over it. Would the high society types who were blessing them have the same standards if their maid or driver turned out to be gay?
India’s criminal law against homosexuality has looked the other way when well-heeled Indian and foreign gay partners ‘bought’ mothers. Anand in Gujarat is often referred to as the ‘surrogacy capital of the world’. An Israeli gay couple took their baby home last year. These two guys took their time choosing the mother, even sending a psychology questionnaire. Did the woman know that she was helping two men and not a woman?
The gay issue is riddled with patriarchal notions and its proponents tend to ignore the complexities of other factors, promoting instead the luminaries in their midst.
Recently, at Sao Paulo’s gay pride parade the chief guest was an Indian, the ‘Pink Prince’ Manvendra Singh Gohil of the erstwhile Rajpipla royal state. It was double whammy exotica. No one in India had heard about him until he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. His father had threatened to disinherit him, but now the king has restored all his titles. He is being idolised only for his position and he plays along by dressing the part of a royal heir in a democracy. On what grounds, then, is he is seen as the “global face of the Indian gay movement”? In an interview he had once said, “Gays are talented, creative, imagine a world without us.”
There is no reason why all gays have to be creative and talented. This reveals a disgustingly posh isolationist attitude.
A few years ago, I had met a top-notch model who happens to be gay. A glossy magazine wanted him on the cover and he refused only because he did not want to exhibit his homosexuality, which was certainly not his claim to fame.
Of late, unfortunately, he seems to have copped out. The man who did not want to flash his sexual choice is now doing just that. He is invited to the best shindigs in town. And he plays to the gallery. Crimson lipstick. Outlandish stoles. Wigs. Feathers. Baubles. In one newspaper photograph, his face looked like a mask.
Isn’t it strange that his true self is revealed only by appearing as a camouflage?