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To The Goa Minister Who Wanted To ‘Cure’ Homosexuality: ‘Get Out Of Our Bedrooms’!

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By Moumita Ghosh:

Remember the basic premise of X-men: The Last Stand (2006), where a major pharmaceutical company found a “way” to suppress the mutant X gene and called it a “cure”? Well, something along those lines happened in our country quite recently.

Indeed, what news to begin the week with, folks!

delhi gay pride

Monday, observed as National Youth Day, saw the launch of the Goa State Youth Policy 2015 at Panaji, where the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister of Goa, Ramesh Tawadkar, also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was quoted as quipping – “We will make them normal. We will have a centre for them. Like Alcoholics Anonymous centres, we will have centres…”. Elaborating on the role of such centres, he further added – “We will train them and (give them) medicines too.” In case you are wondering who the term “they” represents in the above statements, Tawadkar is talking about the LGBT community. This news does not come across as much of a surprise. Does it? Not in a country which ‘criminalizes’ citizens who would not ‘get laid’, to use the colloquial term, in the exact way as dictated by the ‘order of nature’. Not in a country where slogans which ask the State to get out of our bedrooms such as “Amar shorir, amar mon. Durr hnato raaj shashon!” (My body, my mind. Step away, State rule!) and the like, fall on deaf ears. At best, they fall on the amused gaze of the bystanders on the street who retreat to their conditioned existence once the ‘spectacle’ gets over.

On Tuesday evening though, the minister manoeuvred a complete U-turn when he realized that his idea of vikaas and his genuine concern about the ‘disease’ which afflicts the youth was indeed, politically incorrect and instead, blamed the media for misquoting him, saying – “I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths”. This news also takes us back to 2011 when the then Health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad called homosexuality “unnatural” and dubbed it as a disease. The turn of events were similar to the Goa scenario when Azad issued a statement that it was not “gay sex” he was speaking against, but he was trying to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. Previously he had said that homosexuality was essentially a foreign pollutant, later he clarified that he only meant to say that HIV/AIDS had come from foreign shores.

In the movie, against the backdrop of a fictional premise, the pharmaceutical company was trying to find a cure for what was a “genetic disorder” and in the world of our lived reality, our politicians are trying to find a “cure” for what they consider to be, a “gender disorder”. The film at least had a point because gene is after all, biological, but gender was never about fixed biological territories. It’s sad that one needs to seek the permission of the State for something as basic as one’s expression of gender and preference of sexual positions. Be it homophobia or a century-old mental conditioning, the people who really suffer are those who cannot fully realize their gender identities under the dogma of the State and some of its ‘pious’ citizens.

On the other end of the spectrum, as a friend constantly feels the need to stress on the fact that he is after all, “straight”, while vociferously voicing his support for LGBT rights, I feel tired to think that it is a while, and a very long while at that, for the LGBT community to be accommodated in the societal mainstream and to be stopped being viewed as the perpetual “other”. For now, it is in propagandist cinema, academic and journalistic writing and rainbow parades but miles to go before the neighbouring aunt stops gasping at the ‘homo’ in her apartment.

You must be to comment.
  1. The Dark Knight

    Please don’t force homosexuality down society’s throat as though it was some kind of sainthood. Do what you like in your bedroom – anilingus, wife swap, group sex, gay sex – just don’t go around begging for approval. Sexual freedom does not mean you become loved, free or empowered. It just devalues sex and means a spread of sexually transmitted disease and in the case of heterosexual sex, unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence from sex is ridiculous, being a virgin is living in the stone age. But casual one-night stands? Awesome. Teenage mothers will tell you more.

    1. Fem

      Thanks for your permission. That is what they were looking for. Now they can freely do what they want to do in their bedrooms.

  2. Aakash

    I like the ignorance coupled with irony with which you just left a comment on this post. If you read your own point back, you will get exactly what LGBT community is shouting at top of their voices I.e. Don’t force your unscientific, illogical opinions juxtaposed with supremacy of your HETROSEXUALITY, down our throats. Secondly, I love the wild imagination of your kinks, fetish and unfulfilled desires which you imply to be acts of LGBT community. But, you fail to take into account that we are seeking for our rights, exactly what we phrase as ‘Don’t let laws enter our bedrooms’. Stop begging for acceptance? I don’t need you to accept me but definitely law of the land has to undo the tag of criminality which it has pasted over my face and my fellow members of community. And hey, you want us to do whatever we want to do in our bedrooms right? but do look for section 377 in the Indian Penal Code and probably you will reckon why we want surely our acts in our bedroom but identity and sexuality out in public.
    Also, I would like to pin point just for your information that sexually transmitted disease is not exclusively gift wrapped for LGBT.
    Then comes your general sweeping statement inclined towards one night stand which queers indulge into which again is expected from people who fail to recognise that LGBT is much more than sex. Many same sex couples are happily living together, if you just don’t know about it .

    Cheers 🙂

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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