Saturday, April 30, 2011

Malaysian state sends boys to "sissy boot camps".

No, really.

The Terangannu Education Department sent 66 carefully vetted boys to a government "reeducation camp". This is creepy even when you don't know what the camp is for. The boys were selected from schools all over Terangannu (by the school officials) for their "effeminate" qualities. They were sent to the four-day camp for training. On how to be more masculine. How to behave "in a proper manner".

Razali Daud, the department director, said that this was the first training camp of its kind - meaning, there will be more, please barf on your own shoes - and that as educators it's department's responsibility to ensure that the boys be retrained before they reach the point of "no return" and are irrevocably set on a course of "misunderstanding" (normal) people.

The retraining is aims specifically at minimising the number of people who will be homosexual or transgendered.

No, really. Read the article at the New Straits Times (Malaysia's oldest newspaper still in print, and their largest English-language daily):

Must be a nice boot camp, to provide "mere guidance" alongside the "process of nature".

This action has received furious opposition within the country. The central Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has declared that the camps contravene the nation's 2001 Child Act, since they are harmful and against the best interest of the children.

The Joint Action Group for gender equality is a coalition of various Malaysian groups, and they have also given clear statements condemning this selection and "retraining". This discrimination contravenes UNICEF's Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Malaysia ratified in 1995.

  • These boys are being forced to toe a line of "masculine" behaviour
  • They are now taught that the way they are is "wrong"
  • The boys who were not selected are taught that their peers and friends are "wrong"
  • Girls are shown, implicitly, that there are certain behaviours that are "theirs" alone.
  • Girls could be next. In fact, they almost definitely will be.
  • Boys and girls are told explicitly that transgenderism, transvestism, homosexuality and other forms of sexual and gender queerness are frowned upon by the government, and the government will take action to make sure that these facets of personality are indoctrinated out of them.
  • Gender boot camp.
  • The Malaysian education departments are so far ignoring all protests - even when some of those protests are from other arms of the government.
All Out - an organisation commited to global LGBT-assorted identity equality - it organising a petition. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will be at the next ASEAN Summit on the 6th of May. Sign this petition, which can then be presented to Razak as proof that these actions are not acceptable, at home or internationally.

There's less than a week to collect the required number of signatures, and I'm not sure if a PM who has ignored internal conflict over the treatment of national citizens will give a damn about international concerns unless those concerns are backed by hard, economic penalties.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia. It's currently allowed in India (cross your fingers and pray for the Supreme Court battle to end sensibly!) but I still shudder. It doesn't seem like so alien a horror.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

_______ and Violence. Far too much violence.

I've been trying to respond to Afreen's post for a while now, and my thoughts get tangled up in that morass of fear-of-guilt, agreement, indignation and what-have-you. Then my life took a vacation without me, and I lay about at home not watching the news or being online or being in touch.

I came back today gung-ho to respond to Afreen, and saw, amongst other things, a Gaysi article that made my blood freeze. I want to go back to not paying attention to the news.

I followed links around until I found a more complete story: In a McDonald's restaurant in Baltimore, USA, Chrissy Lee Polis went to use the restroom. She was stopped by two other women. These two women attacked her, dragged her around on the floor, beat her, kicked her. Why? Polis is transgendered.

(There's a video here. It's terrible; I can't watch it all the way through. Be careful if you click to watch it.) An emplo

That's it. A woman got up to use the restrooms. Two other women beat the shit out of her because - er. Because they don't like to share? They're afraid they'll catch cooties? The McDonald's ladies' toilets should not come in contact with peepees that no long apply?

The attackers are 14 and 18 (Teonna Monae Brown) years old. They're being charged, possibly with a hate crime.

The employees at McDonald's stood around and watched. (And laughed.) Vernon Hackett - an employee again - caught the attack on hir mobile camera and put it on youtube. Someone was being dragged around on the floor, beaten and kicked, and he taped it and put it on the internet. (He was fired. McDonald's as an enterprise does not want to be evil.)

The video received widespread attention because of the racial dynamics of the attack...

In America, this attack gets extra attention because the attackers are black, and the victim is white. No, seriously. A woman is beaten and dragged around on the floor of a public eatery, the video is put up on the internet, and it attracts comment because it might have been racially motivated. While racial attacks are an atrocity, something is still very wrong with this picture.

Of all the people in the place, only two people went to help Polis. The manager, and Vicky Thoms. Vicky Thoms is 55 years old. I don't like it when people talk about the manners and morals of the older generation. I am subscribed to the old-people-are-more-narrow-minded school of thought. The vicious beastlings punched Thoms in the face. I'm subscribed to the wrong goddamned school.

As someone who grew up female and is acknowledged as female, I was and am conditioned to be female too - I negotiate my Inner Self with my Outer Self and my Social Self and all in all I think I have a fair grip on the bits of me I call "female" or "woman" or "feminine" or "I can has babies (but don' wanna)". But as a person, as a socially acknowledged female human, as a feminist, I have dealt consciously and unconsciously all my life with being relegated to my body. And just my body. Weaker, shorter, softer, bloodier, and therefore finer, more delicate, more nervy, more emotional. Right? Right. And I have read, heard, watched people - women, men, people I couldn't pigeon-hole - say, We are more than our bodies. Or We are our bodies, and we shall claim them. I've seen feminists increase the chasm between the sexes, humanists say, I just want us all to get along, asexual people say, I'm not frigid, all my bits work, I just never want to have sex. It's icky.

But we get to say it. Within the bounds of informed consent, people/our prdecessors/we have worked for decades to ensure it!

In a "queer" world - in a place where we consciously, inevitably, break with heteronormativity, surely it should be easier for us to say, We're Not "Normal", And That Is SO ALL RIGHT. We're together in this. In a world where I get to say, my vagina is not the Men's room (sorry, men, I love you but the metaphor seems funny right now), it's the Ladies', where I can say, I'll love, fuck, make love to, anyone I choose, and you can complain all you like, but if your complaint is their genitalia I'ma gonna tell you to fuck the fuck off -

One assumes that some sorts of tolerance become easier with time.

I keep coming back to those girls. They're girls. Not even women. I don't think they need to be gentle loving souls or whatever feminine crap American girls in Baltimore get fed. I don't know the details of the concerns they face and negotiate every day as a racial minority in a large country. I'm certain that as girls, as women, they are trained - perhaps sensibly, perhaps not - to be wary of male abuse, attack, oppression, chauvinism. But surely, surely, as women, as women pleased to be women, as women who must be careful as well as strong, female as well as women, protective as well as defensive - sure, when someone comes along who says, In my heart, I want to be like you. I have this aspect of you. I am one of you. When that person comes along, whether we're gay, straight, queer, mundane, asexual, misanthropist, ornery, giving - when that person comes along, shouldn't the most natural response be a smile, a hug and a "you took your time getting here, but we've saved some cookies! Dig in before Roh finishes them all, she's a greedy pig."

We're so busy, sometimes, naming things, knowing things, learning things. We're taught where things go, what the physical world is made of. We learn to categorise, to include, to exclude. That's how two young girls, not even women yet, were able to say, "That is a MAN. He does NOT BELONG in the LADIES' toilet."

What would have helped stop this? If Chrissy Polis were black? Would she have been "allowed" the restroom in peace if her skin tone said, "I like sunlight!"? Would she have been categorically safe?

We're a very clever set of apes. So we'll get to the point where we remember what all the learning is for. Hopefully. What being human ought to be for.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Radical feminist separatists are becoming literary scum sores.

There is nothing “subversive” in its agenda any more, it’s all political maneuvering of the same misogynist/queer phobic language they claim to defy. There is nothing that anyone can do to even lessen the resentment that resonates in the trans community against some of the recent issues where the self indulgent “radical-feminist-separatists” (who militantly demand a total female only virtual/articulating space) have not only denounced trans women from the movement but have disparaged and cruelly misrepresented the sentiment of an entire community. Their blogs, which I will explore further in this post, lavishly indulge words like trannies, chicks with dicks and the most abhorrent- shemale, continuously to demean trans women and to reiterate the fact that they can never be “womyn” i.e. a woman-born-woman, another linguistic weapon to put transsexuals in a pit. They treat us (Trans identities) likes shit and tell us, that there is no place for you in your aspired sex.

Your sex- is the body you are born in and deal with it, NOTHING will change it. They are propounding theories of Trans women being female impersonators, caricatures of femininity and useless intrusions in the female space. How could our “feminist” sisters use a parlance which is clearly pornographically constructed and has been deployed to butcher transsexual women throughout the history? What I fail to comprehend is this bizarre resentment of the radicals against trans identities. There is nothing “feminist” about attacking and disdaining another woman just because her biological makeup tends to differ from a genetic woman and to specifically bully her biological “appendage” that she wishes to morph. I maybe a born male, my body may be working towards becoming female but my soul has always been one. Of a woman and I am extremely proud of it.
But in any case who has given these certain self-styled radicals the autonomy to define who a “woman” is?

I was extremely insulted, even though these mamas would then coo “Please, it is not a personal attack on anyone. It’s just an observation”. Yeah, right. Up yours.

But more than insult it’s the disappointment and the anger that such actions ensue. So, once again, Trans Women are being written out of the LGB(t) Community. So, once again, Trans Women are being written out of the Feminist Community. There is a reason Julia Serano termed her foundational trans-feminist text Whipping Girl. Because Trans Women are one of the favorite groups of people to mock, bully, demean, hate on and deride.
For instance, The Magazine Project for Lesbians defines itself as “an inclusive space for female-born lesbians only as we found it increasingly difficult to manage open discussions between female-born lesbians and Trans groups without inherent power dynamics and contention between the two. Although it would have been a progressive endeavor to unite the two groups, it is beyond our capacity at this point. We also welcome female-born bisexuals”. There has been a recent change in the submission policy of this Magazine project which will only consider submissions by women-born-women because they feel that the transsexual woman can only aspire to be a woman but never really be one. She can try as hard as she wants- she can keep working throughout her life to earn the money she wants for her surgery, she can look as womanly she wants but in the end she is just an imitation of a genetic woman. But still the “about us” of TMP sheepishly whispers, “we are feminist not radical feminists”. According to TMP and other such ventures, an individual is defined as female based on their chromosomal makeup?! It makes me laugh.

A laugh that suddenly turns yours ribs inside and makes you want to burn everything around. On the TMP website it clearly states “Who is an LGBT female? An LGBT female is a woman born with two X chromosomes in the cell nuclei who is adjectively lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (including FTMs). Gender determined by chromosomes? REALLY? This is some straight-up biological essentialism. Biological determinism is exactly what creates oppression against women under the patriarchy. To make the assumption that “females” have an XX pattern is an incredibly reductionist and vehemently anti-intersex position to take on.

And wait, the vilification becomes darker now.

Another voice from the radical-feminist-separatist community opinionates that Trans women must not even be allowed in the female toilets. She feels that the female toilet is meant for females not for female identified individuals but trans men are sanctioned in this space. But, you stupid sexist radical- why will a Trans man wish to use a female toilet? HE does not identify himself with females and HE will use the gents’ toilets. Stop dictating your own terms and feeding the misogynist monster that actually oppresses us. And if there is any construction of any female only space then it will include Male to Female transsexuals who then maybe lesbians, straight or bisexuals and not Female to Male. Duh. Male space/forums are different.

STOP telling trans women that rape crisis centers are only meant for genetic women and not for anyone who does not have a visible, functioning vagina. Again an extremely insidious, essentialist understanding of gender and please for heaven’s sake (vagina’s sake?) a woman has been raped!
Do you wish a woman to reach rape crisis centre and orate her biological/sexual history or help her deal with violence inflicted on her? Will you throw a woman, ANY woman out when she has been RAPED?

The ideological environment nurtured through such “values” is neither pro-choice nor anti-oppressive. It is anti-choice and pro-oppression. If they really believed in diversity amongst women, then trans women would be one of the forms of diversity that they believed in and affirmed. Plus, a transsexual only identifies/becomes the sex he or she aspires and that does not define that individual’s sexuality. I am a transsexual woman and it’s not important for me to just like men. I could be bisexual. And recently, I discovered that I just maybe.

But that again rages the voyeurism. How does a trans-dyke do IT? So, once for all, it must be made clear. A pre-op trans-dyke will not take a woman to bed and then show her bulging erection and aspire it to be sucked. Or (wait I am reeling all the pornographic images which are a huge fetish for radical feminists and patriarchy to bully trans women) buck the woman down and fuck her. Ew. That REALLY never happens and if you want, you can fulfill you fantasies at and not in real life. Sorry. For any transsexual woman, our male organ never figures in the sexual act whether it’s with a man or a woman. If the other woman wishes me to penetrate her, I would never do it. Not even use a dildo. The act of penetration is gross and in some weird way, offensive (although if she wishes to use a dildo on me, I don’t think I would mind that). Sex is mysterious that way.

The feminist statement of TMP and the Dyke-osaur (the 1970’s Raymondism) blatantly contradicts its own diversity statement. Not all women, including lesbian, bi and trans women, are feminists. And some of them have very good reasons, rooted in anti-oppression social justice activism, for not identifying with that term.

I have so many friends in the lesbian-feminist community and I identify with their agenda. I feel comfortable in the feminist circle and so many of them are allies to trans individuals. When they ask what should be done, I will say such hatred and bigotry has to stop. Respect the real spirit of woman and not just the sight of a wet vagina.

Enough is enough.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Good As You meeting on 14th April 2011

(Sometime I need to blog about BQFF, which happened way back in February. I will! I promise. Sunday?)

A quick run through of the meeting, which to me seemed sort of slow and tedious (sorry, other people who were there, I love you, but I was not feeling it that Thursday):
  • Three new people showed up! Three!
  • Two of them were women! Excuse me while I drool both as a dirty-minded woman and as someone who likes representation.
  • There were some old faces too, not naming any names. Hi!
  • Gaysi is looking for contributors! If you feel like you should be writing for that cool and lovely website, sharing your story or contributing in any other way, go here.
  • Jindal Law School was conducting an "empirical survey" of the LGBT community in Delhi, to collect data and file a petition in front of the Supreme Court "this Friday", which at the time of the article's posting would be the 15th of April, yesterday. Basically, the petition was to say that the High Court judgement in the Naz case has positively affected the lives of LGBT(IQ) people, and shouldn't we keep the things that make our lives better? I found this bewildering. Did they contact Gaysi too late? Were they canvassing the entire time and added Gaysi in as an afterthought? I'd forgotten that the target demographic was Delhi-based, and so was even more bewildered. Anyway, that way yesterday. I hope it worked for them.
  • R told me about this article: "As Good As It Can Get" by Vinay Chandran, it appeared in The Hindu on the 13th. It's about Bangalore as an LGBTIQ-friendly city, and not-so-friendly.
A. walked in about halfway through, bringing in some energy and Things To Do - he had the men filling out one of those old fashioned Adjustment inventories on behalf of some student in Calcutta, who is basically out to prove that people are people despite their sexuality. (But s/he only wanted men, which I find annoying and baffling and reprehensible, even.) Filling out the forms took a while, and figuring out what "Diphtheria" is took almost as long. (For future reference, it's some thing that includes diarrhoea, and that's all we knew about it.) [For accurate future reference, it's a respiratory illness.]

At some point, we all went to Koshy's. Yum!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

WHaQ! meeting, April 10th 2011

As the poor sod who has the keys to the Swabhava office, I got to MS Plaza at around 3:40 to open the place. M.S. Plaza has one of those rolling-up garage doors, and its lock is a little bitch. I jiggled the key around until something stuck - it took me five whole minutes, it was a pain, I deserve a cookie. Three of us walked in around 4 - nice timing, ladies! -and more showed up by 4:30.

Altogether told, 13 people attended today's meeting, included two guests, Visitors! From foreign shores! Making movies!

  • Two of us came armed with potential new members' email addresses - it's always great to be the person who is able to say, Yes, you should join WHaQ! and do the introducing both ways.
  • I begged for people to write for/contribute to/heap praise on this blog. The last because I am a sensitive flower. Also, tomorrow or the day after I will blog about BQFF 2011, and what that was like.
  • We've set the date, time, place and cover charge for the Lavender Nights Farmhouse style! party. (That's not its actual name, but this is more fun.) It's an all-night party, and those sturdy souls who feel up to it can play cricket the next day. We discussed music, food and blankets, and one of us is bringing a tent which apparently zips up.
  • There's a Queerlicious party happening on the 24th!
  • Details for both these parties to be linked from this blog as well as the usual sources.
  • Labels and stereotypes - the Indian lesbian, the American, Emirates, Thai lesbians. I'm still thinking about the "Moderate Lesbian" (last mentioned here) and intend to blog about her sometime this week. Possibly alongside her Moderate Bi/Pan-sexual and transgender sisters. The tomboy, the girly girl - how we get treated, what people assume of us (bitches and pushovers, respectively?). The lines between "butch" and "I don't care about appearances and so shall wander around not prettifying myself".
  • Movies. Lots of movies. Lesbian movies! Our founders have them, and are willing to share - next week they'll bring some, and we'll bring laptops, and give ourselves over to a little mindless entertainment. (On which note, those of us who watched The Kids Are Alright think it's got far too much straight sex, and very little, and very bad, dyke action. Way to not represent!)
  • S is trying to raise funds to help set up a small business for a transgender man who has had a lot of bad luck recently. Raising funds is a slow, tiresome business, but she has made some headway - Our Lovely Ruler has updates, which she will send out on the mailing list.
  • Some of us dissed Vinay's book shelves, since they do not hold enough women-targeted books. We can fix that, hopefully? Kind donations? Someone gave/sold OLR some women-targeted books back during BQFF, so there's potential there, at least. OLR and Vinay have plans!
  • There was some discussion on the Christian church, and religion in general. Particularly we were discussing C.J. Mahaney who weirds us out when we wear our Women Hats, and Fred Phelps, whom I am not linking to, who weirds us out when we wear our Queer Hats. (Also, they both weird us out when we war out Thinking Hats, but that is all the time, so not very informative.)
  • Our visitors-from-far-shores told us about the movie they intend to make, about certain sections of Indian society (not going to give away too much here since I'm not sure they'd want us to), and some of us had suggestions for people they should contact.

Then we all needed coffee. LOTS of coffee. So we locked up - that stupid garage door lock, I want to kick it, it obviously hates the world! - and went to Koshy's. Mmmmm.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Good As You meeting on 7th April 2011

So Vinay and I were talking about yesterday's meeting - I was awake in the morning, which is a minor miracle - and he mentioned that two Slovenian writers were going to be there. I tend to keep my Thursday evenings booked for GAY meetings, and this time I sent you lazy lot (so many maybes, and only one actual show!) emails and texts and Facebook harassings to let you know that good stuff was happening.

Anyway. I got there a little early and so had time to red little samples of the writers' work - Vinay had pamphlets of Contemporary Slovenian Writers (for prose and poetry separately) lying around - I didn't read through much of the poetry, but I did devour the prose - names I now aim to keep track of include Maja Novak and Andrej Blatnik.

Suzana Tratnik was in there too, with two short stories titled "Animal Kingdom" and "Reckless Boy". Suzana Tratnik is our first Slovenian writer/translator/activist - if I remember right she has three novels published. She founded (co-founded? can't remember) one of the earliest activist social groups in Slovenia, back in the 80s or so. She's currently not officially a member of any groups, and organises the Slovenian queer film festival with Brane Mozetic and others. I liked her stories - in translation they had a spare, lucid style. Minimal, intense, framing the subject matter for view without banging on about it blatantly. Reminded me a bit of Raymond Carver.

Brane Mozetic was our poet - I leafed through Banalities, his latest collection, but couldn't really focus since I was also trying to pay attention to the conversation around me. His (translated) verse seemed, from my brief reading, to be fluid, even tender. I need to read/hear him again before I can be sure, though. Mozetic is one of the organisers of the Slovenian queer film festival and is the editor of a small press, whose name I never asked for because I am an idiot. Like Tratnik, Mozetic was an early member of activist groups in Slovenia and I do not currently remember if he is still actively a member of any of them.

(Obviously they're both active, just not... members.)

The meeting was a bit of give and take - Tratnik and Mozetic asked about our general out-ness and our lives, we asked about the Slovenian queer scene - Slovenia is bloody tiny! It is weird and wonderful both. (There was this hilarious moment when we had to admit that we weren't sure where precisely Slovenia was, which means I have to be nice to Americans from now on for evermore.)

A WHaQ member from We're Here and Beer - yeah, that one, we love you, A! had asked me to write on this blog about the Moderate Lesbian. As opposed to the extreme over the top lesbian we here about. I asked about this extreme lesbian, the stereotypical Indian lesbian, in the meeting, and over a discussion that ranged from porn to What-Is-The-Stereotypical-Indian-Lesbian, we established that there doesn't seem to be a desi stereotype, that there isn't an established "Authentic Indian Lesbian", that since we are people we cannot be authentic artifacts anyway, and many other things which I shall discuss in a longer post. I'm linking this over the WHaQ email, by the way. One of the nice things, I do want to note right here, about not having a pre-established desi stereotype is that it leaves us free to be as true to our various lesbian, bisexual, unlabelled, transgender, asexual selves as we choose. We're free, or at least we could be.

S. was there, and WHaQ members might remember her current funding efforts for two partners fallen on bad times - the Good As You collection for the meeting was made over to her as a collective contribution.

Then most of us went to Koshy's. I haven't mentioned this before, but one of our new members attended the meeting, and she came to Koshy's too; it was a nice chance for me to get to know her better. I'm glad you were there, B!

Today, at 6:30, Tratnik and Mozetic are reading from their latest work at 1 Shanthi road, and I am now signing off since I want to get there on time.
{Edited to add: I've placed the post on my personal blog, mostly because the reading was not ncessarily a queer-themed one. The readings were excellent, though, so if you don't mine my pimping myself out here: The Reading.}

And again: those of us who feel comfortable going to a new group, to meet strangers, should try Good As You meetings. Good As You is a safe zone like WHaQ, and I think there are loads of us who would like the atmosphere. Think about it?

Monday, April 4, 2011

I am a noisy impatient spider

I'm one of those difficult people who can sort of behave themselves in society but are secretly and not-so-secretly introverted, morose and cynical. If I go out three days in a row, I take a day off from talking to people to recover. A friend of mine arranged to meet up with me tomorrow, and all I could think of to do was "hang out", go to Blossoms, or shop for necessities. Plus alcohol. I have NO idea what other people do for fun. (Well, I do, but a lot of it seems to involve extreme sport.)

I'm one of those people who need to be reminded that being alone can turn into being lonely, and that being alone has other, material disadvantages. You can't simultaneously live within society, dissociate from it AND mingle within it all at once. Or at least, I try but often overbalance - it's a crazy juggling act.

So coming out was a weird process. I was so wary of meeting new people - even people that I wanted to associate with - that I actively avoided WHAQ! women for a while, stalking them only on the mailing list. I forget now how I got suckered in to my first WHaQ! meeting, but it is very sad to know that I have someone else to blame for my new friendships, my new schedules, my new peers, my new enjoyments. Damn you, Some Who Made Me Socialise, how dare you make me do something that turned out to be good for me!

Anyway. I rebel against my newfound social life by being very doubtful about people in general and community-forming in particular. You must admit, on the surface it is a dubious process. Back when I was a teenager and didn't know what lesbians were, I'd've been bemused - utterly bemused - if my (default straight) friends got together and said, We're starting a support group for being (default) people who are attracted to other people!

So I tend to say, Am I "queer"? Should I tell people I'm "bisexual"? Am I proud? Aside from the fact that I like some of these people, why I am actively hanging out with them and calling them mine?

Some of these questions - not all - are so stupid I want t
o hide rather than ask them out loud. I don't think, however, that I dealt with the question of belonging, of community, until recently.

Not actually all that recent, to be honest. This is STALE, DULL, DEAD news by now, but back in February, a nominally decent news channel called TV9 did something pretty yukky. You probably know it already, but I'm rehashing it for you:

TV9 in Hyderabad put together a "sting" to tell the world that there are gay men in Hyderabad. They party. They date. They have sex. They have dating sites! (It's like they're normal people!)

The news item was called "Gay Culture Rampant in Hyderabad" [link to English translation], and was extremely homophobic, and worse yet, targeted specific men, displaying their names and pictures after entrapping them over recorded phone conversations. ("What do you like in bed?" Bitches, that sort of stuff is private!)

There were protests in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad - other cities too, even if I didn't keep track of them. (Pink Nation and Party Square also threw a "No Panic" party, in defiance and affirmation.) AllOut sent TV9 CEO Ravi Prakash a petition telling him, in polite terms, to get his shit together and behave himself.

So, a month or so after the original item went viral, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority also told TV9 to get its shit together. Gaysi ran a fairly comprehensive article, so I'm not rehashing that.

Needless to say, we are all pretty pleased.

The thing is, until two or so days after my mom and I saw the apology (which Ma though
t was very gracelessly done, and it so was; the reader sounded shrill and sulky and flat) I didn't truly make the connections. I knew them intellectually, but in the middle of breakfast I straightened up from my I-hate-mornings slouch and thought: My friends in Bangalore go to parties. My male friends go to parties. My female friends go to parties. My friends use dating portals. Male friends, female. It's a regular part of our collective social life.

This wasn't "those poor sods in Hyderabad" with whom we have ties. This could
have been us. This WAS us.

(I tend not to go to parties, because I freak out at the thought of dancing with strangers/in the dark unless I am drunk. But that is a different story.)

No, I really am that stupid. I'd been wandering around for over a month wondering why the hell I cared beyond the requisite "those poor sods in Hyderabad", why I was expending so much energy caring what the hell happened to TV9. Why I found it so emotionally - as opposed to philosophically or academically or socially - important that TV9 get their shit together and fucking say they're sorry.

I'm not sure what would have happened if so many of us - LGBTIQ, what-have-you, straight allies (and otherwise decent people) had not said, online, in petitions, in slogans, in person, in protests - that this was not going to do. That this was atrocious. That we wouldn't stand for it. When so many of us have access to the media - as consumers, as sources, as producers - "our" issues have more weight than they would have if we all hide under the beds and shamefacedly went to parties where no one knew the others' names, if we were all strangers to each other.

It's strange to realise that no matter how anti-social I get, no matter how angry with people for just being people, no matter how leery I am of getting close, of caring - no matter how hard I try, as a functioning human being I have made these connections. T
hey go deeper than my beliefs and principles; they strengthen those beliefs and principles, they work against them.

It's very strange to realise that I am not an island. I'm not even part of an archipelago. I'm in the middle of my very own web, filaments of togetherness, principle, empathy, identification and liking stretching across the the otherwise yawning nastinesses of dislike, alienation and discomfort that makes up my inner self.

Dear you: Hello, I hope your day goes well.