I had risked so much already, not just by loving another woman, but by acting on my desires. By allowing myself to feel intimacy and connection with another queer person. Despite feeling guilt and shame, this risk had become increasingly vital to take.
I gave myself the freedom to choose. And I chose to re-examine my assumptions. Maybe it was possible to ask strange men for directions without being afraid of seeming vulnerable. Maybe I could plan my outfit without bothering about the fact that I would be travelling on public transport.
Risk by itself is not a stigmatised subject, but sexuality is, and has been for generations. This has led to closeting, to shutting the door, on many necessary conversations about the risks to rights that millions of vulnerable individuals and many vulnerable communities live with, across the globe.
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.
In our mid-month issue, we add context to our perceptions of and dealings with risk in our day-to-day lives. Collating and interpreting responses we received on a survey taken by small group of random individuals, Shikha Aleya looks at the transactions around risk foregrounded on the interplay of our location on the axes of gender and sexual identity, disability status, belief systems, and availability of support, amongst others.
While highlighting safety from, media narratives often dismiss safety to: express oneself, be it through the way we identify and communicate, or through the body. Not only the spaces we access and the time of day we do so but also the way we perform our self-hood.