Analysis: Getting to the heart of India’s gay marriage debate
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Analysis: Getting to the heart of India’s gay marriage debate

Vikram Seth has spoken eloquently about gay rights; Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have spoken about need to legalize consensual sex among same sex adults, while BJP’s Rajnath Singh has clarified that homosexuality is unnatural and alien to our ethos.

If you ask me, the gay story has been overdone a bit in India. To be honest, I am fatigued by self-obsessed emotionally wrought cry babies on TV speaking about their sexuality, the men discovering the woman inside them or the women finding the man inside them, or some such permutation.

Usually aggressive anchors such as Barkha Dutt or Karan Thapar are unusually sober when handling a feature on gays. It is almost politically incorrect to be straight.

If you ask me, real love is about commitment, for example the sacrifice, patience and selflessness in raising a child. Real fortitude is about a woman who gives birth to a baby after bearing her for nine months inside her tummy, distorting her body in the process.

The debate about gay sex in India exists at multiple levels — legal, personal and social. One big question is whether being a homosexual (and the sexual act implicit) is against the order of nature. Frankly, I am not qualified to speak on the subject. I know how it’s to be a father, son, lover, uncle, husband, spouse and sibling. I have, however, never been attracted to another man.

But, I can say this for sure. No parent here or anywhere in the world, would want his kid, male or female, to grow up to be gay or lesbian. Otherwise, it is about acceptance and coming round to it should there be such an eventuality. It can never be a happy situation. I can also say with a fair degree of certainty that those who accept their kids as gays would be happiest if their children go back to being “normal’’ if that is possible, like giving up on drugs or alcoholism or any other addiction.

However, I am also certain the Supreme Court has erred in re-criminalizing homosexuality as there is strong evidence these sections of our population are victimized and discriminated against, with the police, as is usual, playing a dubious role in the matter. Families, friends and neighbors are also perpetrators of violence. Section 377 could actually be irrelevant should there be better social acceptability of gays in India and elsewhere.

It should ideally be seen an issue of misplaced emotions, not vaginal versus anal sex which are just means to consummate an already intimate relationship. In India there are laws against everything – littering and urinating in public, for one. They are not implemented, rather glossed over. Section 377 also makes unnatural sex, including oral sex, between heterosexual adults illegal.

The cops don’t go around snooping for such eventualities unless there is a specific complaint, mostly women being the victims. At the same time there are blatant violations of individual liberty, including LGBTs. Cops prey on young couples in parks accusing them of indecency due to a harsh interpretation of another law that was instituted by our former colonial masters.

Couples in live-in relationships pretend to be married in order to rent an apartment in Mumbai or Delhi. Police have arrested young people, including girls, for uploading materials online that are essentially innocuous.

Homosexuality is an evolving theme the world over. It is not considered normal by huge sections of Indian society, unlike in the West. There is a social stigma attached. It will take some time for a predominantly Indian conservative set-up, marked by deep caste affinities, to accept such associations as normal or merely aberrant. It should not be illegal for sure. As a personal choice it is best not to be gay, if that is possible.

This article by Siddarth Srivastava first appeared on his Mocking Indian blog. Siddharth has just released his first novel, ‘an offbeat story’. It is available to buy here.