What does one see when they see a homosexual? Is sexual orientation the only identity they see or do they see how media portrays homosexuals; do they see someone who is not a part of the society or as just any other person? Women's Development Cell of Delhi University's IP college for Women in collaboration with the Gender Sensitisation Committee, recently held a panel discussion on the same to focus on different aspects of the society vis-a-vis homosexuality.
Panellists included Akhil Katyal, a writer and translator, and Angana Sinha Ray, a third year student of Lady Sri Ram College. Discussions ranged from Ismat Chugtai, Kinsey and his work to the current political discourse (or the lack thereof ) and the society in general.
Katyal talked about how Chugtai portrayed homosexuality in her much acclaimed Lihaaf and her own confusion and wonderment if it's an illness or an addiction. He also talked about a Ugandan asylum seeker named Brenda Namigadde, who was almost deported from UK because the judges didn't find her to be ‘lesbian enough’.
While talking about Shashi Tharoor's Private Member's bill on 377 that was rejected in Parliament, Katyal said, "Tharoor's own party member were not even present while the bill was being introduced. Congress should have been there in the Parliament at that time."
"AAP failed to include the promised LGBT reforms in their manifesto, and they can do a lot in their territory, which can lead to a proper political discourse", he added.
Angana Sinha Ray talked about her experiences, gender, the yearly Pride parades and how the society is very heteronormative and still depends upon stereotypes when it comes to the LGBT community. She said "I really appreciate the fact that the students, despite being apprehensive about a lot of points raised are open and accepting and above all, willing to listen. I believe that if someone is willing to not just hear, but listen and ponder, half the job is done. Because the pleas of our argument are not anything surreal but rather rooted in lived reality and crucial for a basic dignified life. Events such as these must be organized more often since it allows a space for safe discussions."
Ray added that western pop culture is just capsules of ideology twisted into capitalism. In India, there is a need for our own set of linguistics since Western pop culture has its own set of nuances that absolutely cannot be seamlessly borrowed.
Mansi Bhatia, President of the Women's Development Cell, said "As part of WDC, I was thinking of doing this since last semester. I think this topic hadn't even been discussed openly ever before, especially on a college platform. Even if it had been discussed, the topic has never ending possibilities of discussion."
"College environment is important as students, especially of the first year are impressionable, and this topic needs to be dealt with," she added.
The Women's Development Cell is keen on organizing similar events to focus on the LGBT community and initiate discussions on various issues related to gender and society, paving a way for other colleges to follow suit.
SOURCE: January 18th 2016: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/buzz/what-do-you-see-when-you-see-a-homosexu...