To belong or not to belong? Some people define themselves through commonalities. There are some who define themselves through difference and then seek to find others who share that difference. They find commonality in a shared difference. Commonality is what makes for a community. To keep that commonality becomes an unwritten rule. What lets you in? What keeps you out? Every community tries to keep its members together. There are expectations, rules, impositions and, for the dissidents, punishments. Ironically, even communities of people who do not conform to mainstream norms of sexuality or gender have their own norms.
In this issue of In Plainspeak, we interview Pawan Dhall, Founding Trustee of Varta Trust, queer activist, writer and social researcher. He is also the editor of the Varta webzine, promoting and sustaining dialogue on gender and sexuality, across diverse groups of people. As Pawan says, “We are all strung together on a spectrum of gender and sexuality, and we don’t have to be fixed at a single point on the spectrum throughout our lives.”