Tag Archives: intersex

Queerness as disease – a continuing narrative in 21st century India: Kaushal Bodwal

Guest post by KAUSHAL BODWAL

In August 2018, it came to my knowledge that a few of my pictures wearing sarees were circulating in my extended family’s WhatsApp group. Phone calls from home regarding my “obscene” behaviour were followed by a shift in the entire conversation towards my having some illness that needed to be cured. At some point my mother called me to tell that one of my aunts knew a doctor who can heal me. My first thought was that she was joking; unfortunately, she was only too serious. Once I registered the gravity of the situation, I panicked. Even though I was staying in a closed campus, I was not sure of my family’s potential to do what they claimed they wanted to.

The issue was with both my gender expression and my sexuality. I was a male assigned at birth walking in a saree and they thought that it was because of my interest in men. One of my aunts assured my mother that my love for sarees will end once my homosexuality is cured. The next time I went home, I was anxious and terrified. I knew I had to speak to them and explain what was going on. There were going to be a lot of questions. It’s not as I had ready-made answers for them, especially since the understanding of gender and sexuality that I had was not easy to articulate in my native language of Haryanvi. Through whatever words I could, I came out to my parents. My mom cried and my father stood numb. But mostly, confused. Despite their anger and other emotional expressions, the overall emphasis was on going to a doctor to get me fixed. After all, I was sick. Continue reading Queerness as disease – a continuing narrative in 21st century India: Kaushal Bodwal

Tatte Girao, Hijra Hattao: Satya Rai Nagpaul

This guest post was sent to us by  SATYA RAI NAGPAUL, Transman, Cinematographer, Founder Member: SAMPOORNA: A Network for Asian & Diasporic Asian Trans Persons.

‘Tatte Girao, Hijra Hattao’ was written in response to Farrukh Dhondy’s article ‘The male eunuch & other chromosomes’ in The Asian Age newspaper, August 29th, 2009.  The Asian Age did not publish Satya’s response, and so it has been circulating on relevant e-lists for a while.


Caster Semenya’s record breaking run in the Berlin World Athletic Games this August, not only raised doubts in the organisers about her ‘real sex”, but back home, has precipitated our very own Mr Farrukh Dhondy’s jounalistic activism to save our boys from falling into any possible sexual/gender ambiguity.
His prescription: Get ‘the apparatus’ and you shall be a ‘man’!

If the medical and legal communities were not enough, we have now to fight our so called “progressive” journalists who write columns about ‘so called eunuchs’, who their medical friends tell them ‘were not eunuchs at all’.

The transphobia, gender essentialism and high moral ground in Mr Dhondy’s article couldn’t have been more naked. What appears throughout the article as his well meaning and sympathetic concern, finally reveals its true face in that last draconian sentence: ‘Make hijras history’. How could the corporeal realities of the hijra be so lost on a journalist [and one who is himself a minority, being a parsi, as stated in his article] that he can wish for the wiping out of an entire way of life? Instead of espousing their human rights, he wishes them not to exist at all?!

Mr Dhondy’s statement that all hijras suffer from Cryptorchidism, and that it is a simple medical procedure that will make men out of them, not only reveals his journalistic smugness but also that he has been completely absent from all discourses on sex/gender emerging ever since the years of the second world war. The binary conceptualisation of sex/gender is long dead in cutting edge academia and even the medical sciences have begun to open out their sex/gender categories to the new conceptualisations.
Continue reading Tatte Girao, Hijra Hattao: Satya Rai Nagpaul

Interview with Ins Kromminga, German intersex activist and artist

Below are excerpts from an interview I did with a fascinating artists and activist who initiated a process in me, simple and obvious, and yet complicated and hardly ever embarked upon- vis-a-vis the politics of gender and sexuality. Ins has challenged the routine of the politics we engage in and the world view we sometimes unintentionally take for granted and thus make static, Hoping for an engaging discussion on the issues Ins lays out below.

Also, something to think about: how we write articles in popular media about difficult, unspoken of issues to just put them out there. To bring about some visibility but at the cost of some of the complexity? Sometimes visibility even at the cost of compromise on our politics of how we speak of pain and pleasure in all our lives and in the context of the frameworks of oppression? I see myself having done this below in my fleeting account of Ins’s life and work. How then do we engage with the mainstream media and find the language to articulate complexities approachably and regularly? It’s the eternal question but lets ask it again because, as we all know, we have to. :) Continue reading Interview with Ins Kromminga, German intersex activist and artist