How Gay are We?

The term gay was originally used to refer to feelings of being "happy," or "elated" and "bright". Glimpses of this past use are still found in the usage of the word 'gaiety'. Later in 20th century 'gay' acquired homosexual connotations. In India Gay sex is forbidden under the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and is punishable with imprisonment. It is often referred to as ‘Anti-sodomy Law’ and talks about 'Unnatural offences'. thus the act does not take into account the 'consent' of the parties involved in same-sex sexual activities. Thereby, bereaving many homosexuals their 'natural' right. Natural, here is very easily replaced by 'normal' .

What is considered normal by us is natural and the rest is not. The western literature and even our epics have always held the debates of homosexuality in subtle ways. Be it the cross-dressing techniques even in early 15th century. Shikhandi in Mahabharata or other connotations regarding people showing not-so-normal tendencies or -abnormal traits. They were often taken as jesters in the court or even as the pleasing maid of the queen. The sisterhood movement of the west as again such an example of how a relation ship between the same sexes was far more natural then any other relations.

In the present scenario, Indian context, year 2008 triggered off major debates on homosexual relationships. Surprisingly, it was opened by
Ambumani Ramadoss, our very own smoke resistant, Health Minister. The debate was taken across various levels by all sets of people. The intellectuals, bureaucrats, artists, literature laureates and the least expected 'politicians'. Same-sex relationships have been decriminalised and even de-stigmatised in Britain and other societies which deem themselves to be liberal democracies.

The student fraternity, the media and the entertainment industry joined hands and there were Queer parades all over the country. This was seen for the first time as it formed a part of the mainstream.

This doesn't mean that they are not subjected to jokes in western entertainment industry. But at the same time they involved them into the mainstream scenario. Heath Ledger's role in Brokeback Mountain as Del Mar, a quiet cowboy who embarks on a twenty-year homosexual affair was monumental. It raised many a eyebrows and brought the discourse to another level.

Amidst all this brouhaha came our Bollywood with its own set of movies Golmaal Returns and Dostana. Both the movies were full of innuendos regarding the said issue. They pleased our funny bone on the expense of our gay friends. The jokes keep on coming, which are so rude that the struggle for acceptance for them stiffens with time. Though, Karan Johar took a great step by making Dostana, but it did not quite send the right message. Golmaal Returns worsenes the entire issue by inviting a feeling of contempt and derision.

Negative or positive, at present, we need all that it takes, to remove this taboo tag. Till the time we are all gay for the gays.

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