First thing first: there is incessant debate regarding “Gay” – its definition and location in various socio-cultural formations. One can’t ignore the enormous literature referring to the discourse/s alluding to gay sexuality/identity whether in terms of theoretical precept such as queer theory, or material subversive cultural practices or in relation to other deviant sexual practices. For the present issue we thought of representation of gay as the core theme, but as it was expected, gay comes into frame along with other homosexual beings; the identity recognition is an exogenous activity as much as it is self realisation. Desire for sex is natural to humans, perhaps to all creatures, as is hunger. All humans have right to pick and choose as per their taste. If all could be explained in such simple words and could be accepted, I doubt there would have been the need of gay right movements, and even call for papers for the issue. Today, gay and other queer beings are caught in dual struggle: to liberate the guilty conscious and for social acceptance. I, personally, feel the term Queer is a delimiting as it suggests aberrant behaviour. And thus by definition qualifies to be marginalised. More than solving the problem of social acceptance the term ‘queer’ further problematises the concern. Even before coming in terms with one’s sexuality gay is tormented by his own conscience which is guilty of breaking the commandment, “Thou shall not sleep with man”. From Church to Freud all had assailed gay and other homosexual beings; Church called it sinful and Freud termed it as wiring error or inappropriate undeveloped sexuality. Gay wonders what to turn to: his inner voice which is impaired by so assumed morality or silent submission to heterosexuality. In both the cases, it is lose-lose situation. In such purview it is an essential humanist take to let gay speak break silence over his sexuality; Project Bolo and Gay Parade are some of the steps to free gay.
Base and superstructure are interdependent; hence, formulations of superstructure are to be revised to accommodate gay/lesbians/transsexuals/transgenders. But even the new representations, so to speak of gay in literature and cinema, are misrepresentations at large. Though this process is not devoid of harm it may also be a liberating force. To give our reader both sides of the argument we have included “Gay is Good” and “Claiming Hindi Cinema”; one presents a positive tendency that can be seen in contemporary cinema speaking of and for gay and other gives a slightly grim picture; but both are ambitious papers as to the fact they do not assume tone of pessimism. Misrepresentations pave way for better representations, and it is any day better than no representation.
Many myths are in circulation about gay, one of them being his effeminate physicality and nature, it gets reflected in flowery shirt, clean shaven face, fascination with pink colour and tender voice in Hindi cinema. Even active gay is doomed to a lower status than heterosexual female dominating male. Well, all these myths are deployed by heterosexuals to preserve the hierarchy in social relations. It is same as the myths about orientals which were instrumental to bring about the coloniser’s dominance. Dominance of heterosexual norm reinforces patriarchal set up; it leaves no space for voices of dissent, homosexuals are either by coercive psychological imposition force to deny their sexuality or lower their voice.
All the papers included in this issue of Literophile pave way for a better understanding of gay and other homosexual beings, their travails from legal right to adopt children, encountering the taboo of being contributors to the social malaise, threatened for acting as detractors of set social formations, and dual war against: guilty conscience and segregation are dealt with. Some papers even deal with the incompetence of nomenclature employed by queer theorists and LGBT rights activists; it proves that heterogeneity prevails even among homosexuals.
Being associated with a more ambitious project pertaining to Gay identity for me these papers by young research scholars have opened a new window into Gay identity, ethics and their socio-cultural practices-subverting the meta-narrative of the patriarchal society. The routes that are open to further research are numerous. Hoshang Merchant writes, “show me a happy gay and I will show you a happy corpse”. The state of being unhappy gears one to look for solace more intensely; much is left unsaid about Gay and it would motivate young researchers to advance in this largely unexplored terrain.
Editor (Issue 1, Volume 6)