Pleasure, in the world, is not equally distributed.
We are two boys in our early twenties
who can read touch like that, who have broken into
a 200-year-old mansion, without permission,
to see from above where people like them go
after 377 has been read down only for those
who can stay behind closed doors — in the custody
of cheap hotels, or houses that welcome nights
with the sound of latches closing.
Many disabled people in India live with their parents and any expression of sexuality is suppressed as a rule within the confines of their homes. Sexual desires of persons with disabilities are seldom a priority issue for families or civil society. More is said through silence than words. Be grateful that you are alive. Isn’t that enough?
This article explores how women are constructed as a ‘space’ manufactured by men to seek comfort, but void of having any active agency or participation in that space itself. I seek to bring this out in this article by drawing a parallel between the nineteenth century ‘Bharat Mata’ (Mother India) and the depiction of the twenty-first century ‘heroine’ in Bollywood movies.
Marriage also feels complicated when one approaches it through the lens of feminism. Marriage throws in two people and often their families into a system designed to perpetuate patriarchy, subjugate women, and bind men and women (in heteronormative marriage) into strict roles in the marriage.
I am still coming to terms with my own femininity, as with new learnings I find myself regaining many facets of my personality which were lost while trying to ‘act like a man’ and ‘act tough’.
I now feel comfortable entertaining the thought that my ease with my selfhood does not necessarily have to be threatened by the possibility of love in coupledom. Indeed, comfort with one’s self can actually evolve into healthier forms of love towards the other(s).
We envision SISA spaces as non-judgmental, inclusive, rights-based and affirming spaces wherein people’s sexuality, their identities, wellbeing, choices, desires and pleasure are respected.
We are led to question what ‘safety’ really is: Will it be guaranteed by going gently, if at all, into that good night? Is it at all possible to freely and safely explore who we are and the world in which we live?
Members of a fandom are not just passive consumers but active co-creators who imagine and build new worlds around their objects of adoration. Fandom communities offer fans the freedom of being able to imagine, create and share all sorts of scenarios, including romantic, erotic and sexual ones.
We are, all of us, trying to hold steady, and to hold space for each other and for ourselves. And so, instead of trying to put together a collection of ‘all new’ articles, this time we are republishing some ‘ever fresh’ ones on the theme of Sexuality and Representation.
There have been several recent examples of actors, movies and events being called out because of their lack of representation, like for the Oscars. With social media it is easier to create and distribute diverse art and also to voice the need for diversity. So it needs engagements and awareness in society. Change will happen once enough people demand that change.
The lip colour then enters into a rather queer state of existence as it refuses to stand by the label it is expected to conform to. It moves and escapes categorisation. In its queerness, it renders itself as a paradox. At the heart of paradoxes is the understanding that something is what it is also not. Similarly, the colour of this lipstick is nude, but it is also not. It is possible that it is because of this slippery nature of the paradox that my sexuality as my identity too remains slippery, in motion and fluid.
The virtual world allows me to challenge the hold of patriarchy on my ‘effeminate’ body; in a sense, it allows me to evade the policing of desire that my body shares with another, its flows and slippages, the messy and the unkempt. While virtual sex offers a window to revisit the sensual, it is also not immune to limitations and insecurities.
It is the winter of 2013, and my father and I are sitting at an awkward distance from each other…