A Response to the Fading Queerness: Navadeep

NAVADEEP writes in Gaylaxy on the responses around the matrimonial advertisement for a gay man placed by his mother, in which she specified “Caste no bar, (though Iyer preferred)”.

It has been a few days since the first gay-matrimonial ad of the country has been out, and as expected, it has gathered a great deal of attention both from gay and straight people. Lack of available information would keep me from commenting on the reactions among the straight crowd. But being a part of the gay community, I have witnessed two different arguments emerging:

1. It is a great progressive step from a loving mother for her gay son and is also a potentially visible statement of the gay community in mainstream society.

2. While appreciating the aforementioned, a section of people in the community are extremely agitated about how the matrimonial ad mentions a preference of caste. This has lead to the debate of contesting the regressive part of the ad (where, of course, I find my place)….

Where does one’s choice start and where does it end? How absolute and independent an identity can this choice and preference claim? Is this choice/preference free from conditioning? Is it just an individual’s sole conscious choice/preference or product of the society he is part of? Do personal choices and preferences have no social and political connotations? Do they not have any historical and cultural context?

Read the rest of this thought-provoking piece here, and do read the comments section too, for an interesting debate.

2 thoughts on “A Response to the Fading Queerness: Navadeep

  1. The problem here is the mother, while choosing to fight one form of bigotry based on sexuality, has chosen to legitimise another bigotry based on caste. Yes, we all live in a particular socio-politico-economic context, which legitimises certain forms of discrimination. That discrimination also depends on where you live. To someone in the US, the discrimination inherent in casteism may be obvious, while the bigotry in denying women abortion rights may not be so obvious. But that’s the whole point of reform, it is an attempt to create a society which recognises the illegitimacy of all forms of bigotry, which recognises that whatever be the basis, discrimination is not justified. Another point I would like to make is that far too many people see the bigotry affecting them, but choose to ignore or worse, legitimise, the bigotry favouring them. Here while sexual bigotry is against Mr Iyer, caste bigotry favours him. So he chooses to fight sexual bigotry and legitimise caste bigotry. My point is that the same thing will be true even of the bigots who oppress Mr Iyer for being gay. They too will turn a blind, callous, unsympathetic eye to the bigotry that does not affect or even favours them. They too will fight if they are denied their rights due to some form of discrimination. The only solution is complete equality, the recognition that all forms of bigotry are unjust.

  2. To the second part of the question about personal choice, the answer is complex. Personal choice is often the cause of bigotry, as well as its solution. It is the cause of bigotry, as when Mrs Iyer mentioned, a bakery chooses not to bake gay cakes or a Muslim woman is denied rented accommodation because of her religion. The problem occurs when that “personal choice” or “personal opinion” is shared by a large segment of a choice. Once that “personal choice” is shared by a critical mass of the population, it becomes self propagating and becomes community opinion. The community by implied or forcible means, then pushes that opinion even onto others who do not share them. Personally, I believe personal choice is alright as long as we do not affect or impose on other people’s choices and there is no justification for “personal choice” in matters concerning public employment, public businesses or public establishments.

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