Each time I would look into the mirror, I would see the love handles bulging through my shirt and cringe inwardly. Mills and Boon had convinced me that my body was not loveable like that of the thin, beautiful protagonists, and thus, there would no knights coming for me on horses, now or later.
As a generation X-er I grew up in a world that was challenging sexuality but only encountered the instability of gender as an adult in radical new academic texts which were not then yet part of our everyday narratives. My daughter born between Gen Z and Gen Alpha is growing up in a world of gender fluidity and multiple pronouns.
Undoubtedly, LGBTQ+ literature and writing in India has witnessed an ‘explosion’ in the past two decades, and the trends in contemporary publication promise consistent growth in the future too. However, issues of queer representation in existing literature, and especially contemporary literature, need to be continually invested in, for literature is a key marker of society’s outlook on and reception of such sensitive subjects as homosexuality and ‘queer’-ness
While we’ve grown used to hearing porn blamed for society’s ills, it’s now the medium’s comparatively matronly cousin – romance novels – that have come under scrutiny.