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‘I’m Still A Mistake, A Tired Secret’ – A Girl Narrates How It Feels To Be Gay In India

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By Sanskriti Pandey:

Her people are “carrying the burden of 200 years of colonial thinking.

Her people “have been turned into dirty animals, whose desires are carnal, unnatural, degenerate.

What better than poetry to examine one’s wounds? Arati Warrier is 8348 miles away from ‘her people’, but imagine the emotions that swirl inside of her when an Indian Supreme Court judgement criminalises her identity, and in one clean strike, lands a blow to her choices.

On 11 December 2013, the SC quashed a 2009 judgement by a Delhi High Court that had decriminalised ‘unnatural sex‘, and reinstated the colonial law that upholds Section 377. What it also quashed in the process, was the freedom of people like Arati. If this doesn’t make you sit up, nothing will: “It is overwhelming to remember that I’m still a mistake, a tired secret. I can’t tell my parents about this girl I know, and how beautiful her lips are. So instead, I whisper into my pillow over and over. I can’t explain to my mother that how her casual homophobia is ripping holes in all of my sweaters, and I am always shivering.

Watch this powerful and emotionally-packed performance as she puts into poetry what being gay in the Indian society feels like.

To know more about what I think of this video, follow me on Twitter at @im_sanskriti.

You must be to comment.
  1. B

    When a man and a woman get married, they provide a balance to their families and complete each other. This is impossible with homosexual ‘relationships’. Of course, self-righteous supporters of homosexuality will go around hurling abuses at whoever doesn’t agree with them. Homosexuals cannot procreate, so they can never have their own children. If they adopt, their children will either have two dads or two moms. Lesbians can never satisfy their sexual desire by rubbing into each others vagina while gays indulge in anal sex – the anus is not designed for penile penetration. I have nothing against homosexuals, but it is natural to question the unnatural. In movies, blogs, and the media, homosexuality is being ‘normalised’ so that we get used to it.

    “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.” – Andrea Dworkin

    “Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice.” – Ti-Grace Atkinson

    I became a lesbian because of women, because women are beautiful, strong, and compassionate – Rita Mae Brown

    “When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression.” – Sheila Jeffrys

    “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.” – Catherine MacKinnon

    1. Cees Tompot

      Sir, if you did a bit of reading instead of just judging, you would know that homosexuality is a natural thing. It is not a mental disease. It is just the result of a brain layout that makes some homosexuals or transgender and most heterosexual. Is that a reason to pass these judgments that must be very hurtfull for these fellow human beings? Please use that non sex related part of your brain and THINK before you judge.

    2. General Muffin

      By your logic, procreation is the ultimate goal of all relationships? Then a sterile man/woman has no right to ever get married, right? Also, good job analysing a relationship only by the physical parameters. Sexual intercourse happens in the brain, not the groin.

    3. TheSeeker

      Hey, as long as they’re not threatening you, affecting you, chill the hell out. What do you think of homosexuality anyways? A disease? (I am genuinely curious)

    4. areem

      => When a man and a woman get married, they provide a balance to their families and complete each other.

      No one can complete another person, they have to be complete from within to begin with. Stating it’s balanced has no supporting point, its just an assumption, or what people hope for in a marriage.

      => Homosexuals cannot procreate, so they can never have their own children.

      There are sterile men/women, who get married. Should a law be passed against them too??

      =>If they adopt, their children will either have two dads or two moms.
      i guess being a single parent is such a shame then considering two dads or two moms as such a bad thing.

      => Lesbians can never satisfy their sexual desire by rubbing into each others vagina while gays indulge in anal sex

      Of all the huddles they have to face, you worried about their lack of sexual pleasure?? Its better not to comment on what one have’t experienced and to drawing false conclusion.

      =>I have nothing against homosexuals, but it is natural to question the unnatural.
      homosexuality is nothing new, in East Asia same-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history and in ancient Greece it was a socially acknowledged relationship.
      Homosexual behavior has been documented in about 500 species ranging from primates to gut worms.
      Its definitely not for a person, or a community to decide what is unnatural and natural.

    5. Divyansh

      Dear, homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder of body. It’s just another kind of attraction. You need to understand it instead of judging it. For example, what would’ve happened if the humanity judged fire? We wouldn’t be where we are now. We accepted it, used it effectively, and humankind prospered.

    6. N

      What a powerful piece!

      More strength to the LGBTQ community in India and all across the world.

    7. Sanskriti Pandey

      1. ‘Sex’ is not the same thing as penetration. A little reading, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
      2. You’re basing your arguments on a foundational end point – that of marriage and procreation. Who ever said that marriage and procreation is ‘natural’ behaviour? It’s popular, perhaps. It’s conventional, perhaps. But ‘natural’? Subjective.
      3. One cannot ‘normalise’ what is already normal. Enough said.

    8. Sanskriti Pandey

      This was for B.

    9. B

      Homosexuals cannot procreate, so they can never have their own children – That is unnatural. And if they adopt, their children will either have two dads or two moms – That is unnatural. Gays can only satisfy their sexual desire through anal sex – That is unnatural. (I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that the anus is not designed for penile penetration).

  2. Deepika

    This. So powerful. Goose bumps galore.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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