The mass shooting in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, US, on the night of June 11, resonates with those of us who have faced intolerance, hatred and violence simply for being who we are. The lesbian, gay, bi, trans*, intersex, queer, ally and other (LGBTIQA+) communities in India stand in solidarity with the families, biological and chosen, of the victims of this senseless crime.
LGBTIQA+ people have always been at the receiving end of bigots from all faiths, and we register our protest against initiatives by ideologues of all stripes to use this incident to advance political and personal agendas of xenophobia and Islamophobia. Bigotry is a form of violence against a community, and we stand firmly against all attempts to make this part of a global anti-Islam narrative, just as we resist the dastardly celebration of this incident by homophobic groups.
We condemn all forms of hatred and violence, whether based on sexuality, gender, religion, caste or ethnicity.
Protests and vigils are being planned in the following cities and towns.
FOR DETAILS SEE ORINAM.NET
Guest Post by Jordan Osserman
Amidst the outcry of queer rage and mourning against the Supreme Court judgment has emerged a strand of skepticism (For examples See here , here and here) from within queer circles, directed at the participants in the anti-377 campaign. These skeptics allege that the 377 organizers failed to adequately consider the impact of their activism on the most marginal queers in India (lower class/caste hijras, kothis, MSM, etc.). In the most biting version of the critique, the 377 campaign is portrayed as an elite middle class movement, fueled by foreign-funded NGOs, against a largely symbolic, immaterial enemy. 377, these critics allege, was never a central cause of LGBT oppression; a paper tiger, relatively unknown by police and Indian society writ large until middle-class queers arbitrarily put it on the agenda and invested it with symbolic meaning. To the extent that marginal sexual minorities have been represented at all, their voices have been appropriated in the service of a campaign at best irrelevant, and at worst dangerous, to their lives.
In this post, I’d like to challenge some of these claims. We can summarize the critics’ arguments as follows: 1. Section 377 has not historically targeted LGBT people, and rarely affected the lives of sexual minorities prior to the activist mobilization against it. 2. Instead of fighting 377, activists should have prioritized campaigns which would concretely benefit LGBT people, particularly the most marginalized. Alternately, if the 377 campaign had to go forward, the legal strategy and organizing should have been more inclusive. 3. The “liberal outrage” against 377 may be as much to blame for violence justified in the name of the law as the Supreme Court’s decision. For, now that queer activists and the Indian media have popularized the notion that the Supreme Court has “re-criminalized homosexuality,” homophobes have become aware of a new weapon with which to target sexual minorities. I will attempt to address these interlinked arguments in their respective order, before drawing some final conclusions about activism and organizing.
Continue reading Naz and its detractors: A response by Jordan Osserman