As gay men in India, most of us are rather proud of our identity. But we are more proud of what we can stick our tongues up on. Condescension shows that we are fit to be members of a certain class, that we are proud flag bearers of a certain social order, that we are light years ahead in class or stature or thought over the wretched lot.
I’ve come across so much prejudice members nestle towards others of the community that it boggles the mind.
1. The political prejudice
The queer BJP supporter against the queer AAP supporter against the queer Congress supporter, all of whom obviously against each other. The liberal fundamentalist at loggerheads with the conservative fundamentalist. If you are a flag-bearing liberal, the other is ‘delusional and brainwashed’. If you are conservative, the other is ‘a westernized radical’. Can you for once, see a person separated from what political party he supports?
2. The economic prejudice
The queer socialist against the queer capitalist and the queer bourgeoisie. Anytime there is a depiction of the queer community in films and the media, you sneer about the capitalist order brushing aside everything, and how the well-decked gay is just an upper class product.
3. The orientation-led prejudice
The gay man against the bisexual man and the transman. ‘A bisexual man just thinks about sex’, ‘Being bisexual is just a license to marry and sleep around with men’ – since when are you the custodian of morality? If a married straight man sleeps around with other women, do you blame his straightness for it? Biphobia and transphobia are no less damaging than homophobia.
4. The masculine prejudice
The macho gay man against the effeminate gay man. Just look at some of the profile descriptions on gay dating sites – ‘no pansies’, ‘girlish not allowed’, ‘be a man’. And another gem – ‘be straight acting’. Seriously? How straight acting are you in the bed with your clothes off.
5. The intellectual prejudice
The intellectual snobs against the pedestrian class. ‘Know your grammar’, ‘ensure that you can string a proper sentence in English’.The ones who watch only American sitcoms and sneer at you for liking an Indian soap. The ones who know their Rembrandts and Beethovens and never fail to rub it in on you.
6. The ‘weighty’ prejudice
The body builders against the ‘fatties’. ‘No fat guys and slobs’, ‘Gym toned and muscular only’. And you steadfastly avoid such guys because your muscles are defined by the company you keep.
7. The commitment prejudice
The relationship seekers against the casual sex seekers. ‘The reason you go about seeking a f**k all the time is why our community is deplored by the masses,’ preaches one. ‘Why can’t you find one person and settle down?’,says another. You want your shining moral beacon to bathe everyone around you. You feel a pressing need to dictate with whom and how many times should someone else have sex.
8. The disclosure prejudice
The closeted gay against the ‘out’ gay. ‘Why do you have to wear your sexuality on your sleeves?’ ‘Why do you need this pride stuff and all?’ ‘What are you trying to achieve by screaming on the roads?’ We understand you have your reason to be in the closet, but do you need to hold it against others who are not? It is probably because of the ones who were out that the world got to know gay men exist! And then there are those gay men put on a desperate act of straightness – ‘I’m so into that girl’ – yes honey, you sure are – just make sure the folders in your computer are well hidden.
9. The ‘have-pic’ prejudice
The pic sporting profiles against the pic-less guys – ‘No pic no reply’ – the standard refrain on most profiles on gay dating sites. Do you give two hoots to the fact that the guy possibly fears being forcibly outed to unsupportive family and friends?
10. The ‘anti-heteronormative’ prejudice
You are against marriage, against rituals that mark it, against engagement and against every damn thing that has the stamp of a man-woman model to it. You must cock a snook at anyone who wants a gay marriage with ‘saath pheras’.
11. The star struck prejudice
You are so sure a sun sign is incompatible with you that you categorically avoid meeting men having that sign even for a coffee, lest something develops and the stars rain their wrath on you.
And there are so many other – related to race, caste, ethnicity, religion – if all of these were mere preferences, it’d be fine – it’s when you get judgemental that it ceases to be. You cut off ties with someone who would’ve made a great companion just because he doesn’t hold your bad-ass beliefs. You rant against them as misguided. You take any word spoken against your beliefs as a slight on you and your intelligence. And you gotta have the last word in any such conversation.
If you want a world populated by yes-men, where is the beauty? Learn to embrace diversity and understand dissent!
Yep, Engineer-turned-MBA!And also a criminal, if you do need to know...
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