I was really upset after reading the article “The Third Paradigm” in India Today’s Sep 6 issue. The article was on bisexuality, and instead, it was all about sexcapades and presented a picture whereby being a bisexual only meant getting married and then leading a dual life. The article was very poorly written, and had comments from doctors who still consider alternate sexuality to be a psychological one.
I decided to write a mail to the editor of the magazine protesting against such a biased article. I would urge you all to either leave your comments below that article, or send mail to the editor to lodge your protest. Raise your voice! We wont sit quietly against such prejudiced portrayal.
Below is the mail that I finally mailed to the editor of India Today.
When I picked up the current issue, I was very excited to see India Today bringing out an article on Bisexuality, and if the quotes from the article were any indication, I thought India Today was touching upon an issue that not many LGBT magazines have even dared to touch in India- that of Biphobia within the community. And with a picture of Apphia, who has launched Jiah Magazine recently, I was sure that it will be a sensible and insightful article. I sat down to read the article instatntaneously, but as I advanced more and more, my worst fears seemed to be coming true. The author tried to give a very “detailed” view about all the preferences and options available in the various gay dating sites online. For 3/4th of the article, he has focussed exclusively on the sex – lives of bisexual men. The sexcapades have been described in great details, with instances of married men having multiple affairs with both men and women, going on to describe it as a “time pass” activity which “enhances the performance in bed with women”. He seemed to have chosen to focus on only certain people who lead a dual life, and thus advance stereotypical image of the community.
It would not have been so disappointing if in the second half of the article, the author would have portrayed that being a bisexual doesn’t mean being a sex freak. Instead, what he does is sum it up in a single paragraph with a comment of Apphia and a Chennai based Doctor. The last two paragraphs again focus on studies to drive home the point that bisexuals have more sex- partners, even when they are married. What’s more shocking, the article ends with the line: Two is a good crowd, three is certainly good company. And then the quote of a Professor at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied science, who says that “It is a result of psycho-sexual development during formative years either for pleasure, or experimentation or abuse, but recent research has also brought a genetic dimension to it.” Probably the Professor is not aware that homosexuality or bisexuality has been removed from the list of mental disorders by WHO, and that the scientific community today widely accepts that it is a genetic phenomenon, rather than a “psycho-sexual” one.
In a country where the majority of people even refuse to recognise this community or have little knowledge about the issues being faced by the members of this community in day-to-day life, your article only promotes the stereotypical image that people have in their mind. The problem is very much evident in the article itself, where a professor of an esteemed Institute has termed it “pschyo-sexual development owing to experimentation or abuse.” Even the medical fraternity in India remains hugely biased in its view about the community and still holds the view that it is a psychological problem. As for the issue of leading a dual life, the author has completely skipped the fact that many of these men are actually forced to marry owing to family pressure and a hostile society.
As the editor-in-chief of Gaylaxy Magazine, and as a gay man myself, I feel such gross misrepresentation of the community is a severe blow to the efforts of various online magazines that have surfaced in the last year and have been trying to break such stereotypes, mis understandings about the community and be a voice of the community as well. The article clearly was a very biased one. I hope, in the future, you will publish a more balanced and unbiased article, as what you publish, could have far- reaching consequences for an already marginalised community trying to break free.