The dam seeking to hold in the queer in India has burst. Currently, any queer in India has access to a volume of books in which one or more of the central characters is queer.
There is increasing positivity in magazines that tell stories about homosexuality and Indian films as well. For instance, in Indian films that cast homosexual characters, the characters seem to have more presence rather than stick to the traditional comic narrative that was seen to be the only part to play.
The book because I have a voice: queer politics in India is written in three sections. The first narrative, which is arguably the most gratifying, plays a role in theorizing the queer in India by conceiving abstract approaches about the countries sexual politics.
Essential questions are given room to flourish against the belief that heterosexual relationships are the only norm. The questioning of such heteronormative behaviour is given precedence at the beginning of the book where the authors pose a similar question. The authors question why there’s only a Western tag placed on events to discredit identities and sexual desires when the subject is sexuality.
The authors are keen on the decriminalization of homosexuality and peel the covers of homophobia in a psychiatrist in India eager to treat a homosexual and change their sexual orientation into heterosexuality. This has all the brandings of colonial control written over it and sheds some light on western medicine and it’s trials to control an Indian subject.
One of the essays in the book presents a vital question and asks, why there are significant networks to keep “normal” behaviour in place if it’s so natural. In a turn to humour, there’s a question whether there are laws that govern how and when people should sleep or eat.
Different parts of the book delve into queer activism and self-knowledge as well as expresson. But, even though the other two parts of the book is made up of essays that tell similar tales set in various parts of India, there is a clear acknowledgement to the different gaps and cracks that dive deep in Indian queer movements. There’s the emergence of hyphenated identities. For instance Alok Gupta, acts straight, is English-speaking and queer, while Pawan Dhall is an environmentalist and queer. There are other queer identities brought to light in the book. Some of them battle being queer and their different religions.
This book provides a slither of hope to the queer community in a unique way. It does an excellent job of combining queer voices while also giving space for the internal differences that each one faces.
However, one unifying factor that the book offers is united rebellion against mandatory heterosexuality. Living in the current India, one must notice the calm precision through which the queer population is steadily gaining its own voice. There’s the emergence of many queer publications that carry queer poems, essays, stories, and articles that shed light on sexual minorities in India.