Dirkanna and Kuttinaai for introducing me to The Catherine Tate Show, Gopix for helping with the fight and the understanding, and Absolutely Fabulous because it is so superb!
Parts of this post are reproduced from a discussion I was part of on Facebook. I could have mentioned names and designations as well but I decided to be nice. If you still have a problem with this, especially considering it’s my boudoir and you are an outsider, then all I will say is, ‘kiss my arse.’ And do pardon my exquisite French. Merci beucoup.
I recently got involved in a discussion on Plato’s Symposium that eventually turned out to be a rabid debate on saving face, sexuality and gender politics in that order.
It started when a girl I know quoted Plato on Facebook. Plato said “People were hermaphrodites until God split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.” Now that’s the rough translation.
And if you remember I’ve already given my take on this entire thing after watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch. People are always trying to con us into believing that unless we have regular, socially sanctioned shags we are missing something – which I can tell you is bullshit. Everyone likes to shag someone but if it doesn’t really happen, it’s not a tragedy. Especially when the world has evolved enough to make toys for us to play with no matter what our age.
So my response to her status message was to recommend Hedwig and the Angry Inch and that seemed the end of that.
Only it wasn’t.
In a historic judgment on July 2, 2009 (just last year) the Delhi High Court legalised homosexuality in India.
Section 377, a 140 year-old law dating from the British Raj era, says homosexuality and "unnatural sex" is a criminal act. Drafted in 1860, Section 377 is also referred to as 'Anti-Sodomy Law' and punishes any un-natural sex between man, woman, and animal. The amendment in Section 377 will decriminalise gay sex, said the Delhi HC.
This means that people who are lesbians, gays, bi, trans-gendered/transsexual can have an identity in the society, a chance at normalcy, and can expect to be able to marry those they love. They can also now expect their workplace to be free of bias and discrimination. Considering it is India we are talking about, they can now expect to have a workplace.
Gay rights activists across India hailed the judgment and it has become de rigueur for the cognoscenti and the intelligentsia to prove that they really are in support of the LGBT community. And truth be told, most really don’t judge based on one’s sexuality.
But then again, scratch the surface of the many ‘tolerant people’ and you will find confusion, fear and hatred so blatant, it’s hard to ignore. This hatred and derision is usually potently and particularly directed at the transsexual and the trans-gendered.
Like these responses the post received:
So a man + woman = the original hermaphrodite again. Makes sense. Very ugh. But Plato says what he says.
Shiva and Shakti form this world. Else there is no existence.
And there is the problem. Hermaphrodites in the human world cannot multiply.
A gay man + a gay man = gaymaphrodite
Eww! If you meet and mate with yourself, wouldn't that be like incest or something?
Mating with oneself is perfectly okay only if you were a plant or a slug.
But we're human!! Aren't there enough inbred idiots around!
What did one hermaphrodite half tell the other hermaphrodite half? Gotta split now!
Oh, and didja know mules are not a biological species? Why? Because they can't reproduce.
When I saw all this, I was thoroughly confused. A reading seemed to suggest that these people believed that to be normal you had to mate with someone who was your opposite so there would be duality. And that your mating must necessarily produce progeny else, how would you validate your existence? So I put forth my questions to the group in a genuine bid to understand where they were coming from: I have a few questions and I am trying to understand - really I am - are you saying it is unnatural to be gay, lesbian, bi, or trans (gendered/sexual)? So if anyone is LGB or T then does it make them a lesser human being? Why hermaphrodite = ugh? Also, are you saying that the only validity for one's existence is procreation? Because that is how this entire discussion including the many one-liners read to me. Please explain, I am really interested. Thank you.
This pissed them off.
I was told to butt out and not take them seriously.
So I also kidded around and since I am somewhat of a bitch said, ‘Why? Are you inbred idiots?’
And that’s when it became ugly and I was asked if I were a gaymophrodite; then they suggested I take my activism elsewhere; then they explained to me that they never said anything about hermaphrodites or procreation.
I politely thanked them for their response and asked them to scroll the post to understand where I got the whole procreation/hermaphrodite ugh bit. That’s when I was finally yelled at by the various members.
Here’s a short summary of the yelling I got:
How dare you! How very dare you! How very very dare you! Are you insinuating I am talking about LGBT and procreation? I don't judge people for their bedroom habits or gender identities. Hermaphrodites as Plato defined is an old concept - that term is not used for humans now. Well Lady Gaga too but that's tabloids for you. First off, I have not mentioned lesbianism/gays/bisexuals or whatever anywhere in this thread, wasn't even thinking about it. How very very dare you! We are more than tolerant of these things. We all are. It's an accepted part of the world. How very dare you throw a hissy fit over imagined slights to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals? It seems to be a very touchy issue with you for some reason. Take your case and go home. Sorry if it seemed gibberish to you but we are friends and we have evolved our own language based on our close friendship and we can call each other anything we want but we still won’t call someone an inbred idiot! And we were definitely not talking about LGBTs anywhere. We never would talk about them! How very dare you accuse us of saying rude things of those people! You need to have the ability to read internet posts properly, which is equally important. See how bereft of love people can be who can't read properly? Do I HAVE to participate in parades and foursomes to be considered tolerant? No, thank you. This whole thread is the testament of my tolerance. How very very dare you! Now good night and god bless no matter who and what you share your life and bed with.
What really could I do? I just borrowed their own lines and said:
Befitting conclusion to this entire debate (which was actually supposed to be mere clarification) - 'See how bereft of love people can be who can't read properly?' I rest my case.
And signed off in true AbFab style with: Cheers, darlings!
But I really believe that in a world bereft of British humour, they are still fighting the bad fight with me somewhere on some other wall.
And so now my own sexuality is in question! How absolutely fabulous, darlings!
I can now legitimately wear my rainbow salwar with pride and walk around everywhere like anything!