First of all, before I say anything else, I want to apologise. Unconditionally. Unequivocally.
The past few days have been difficult for all of us at Gaysi and especially the core team. We’ve hurt a lot of people and whether it was our intent to do that or not ( it wasn’t!) we screwed up and we put our hands up and say – ‘Sorry’.
This is not a fauxpology. We’re making no excuses. Things were said that shouldn’t have been. And when said amongst friends should not have been made part of the public forum. We shouldn’t have taken this long to react but between MJ travelling, my partner falling very ill and all of us being on different time zones it was taking forever to get consensus about what to do. I still don’t think we have that consensus. On one hand I want to take that podcast off the site; on the other hand I think it needs to stay there. Why? Not because I agree with the content, but because it needs to stay up as a reminder that we screwed up and that sometimes the best intentions and the most plausible of contexts cannot justify what has been said.
Removing the podcast makes us look like we’re trying to sweep this under the carpet. I want this to be here as a reminder of what we did wrong. In the entire history of Gaysi, this is the first time that I’m not proud of what’s gone out on our pages. Gaysi is about making people feel safe and included and this podcast, clearly failed at doing that. But by deleting it we don’t want to risk forgetting that we can all make mistakes.
When the comments started appearing and the discontent was voiced, MJ and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with the podcast. This indecision wasn’t about whether we had screwed up, but about whether to leave it up there or delete it. I’ll admit It was hard for me to make a call because I was so close to the issue and MJ is a dear friend. So I asked myself how I’d feel if a site like AfterEllen released a podcast that said ‘Indian women smell like curry and I am not attracted to them.’ I’d be absolutely outraged but if they had deleted the podcast I’d feel like they were taking the easy way out. I’d want them to keep it up so that they don’t get away with a mere apology but are constantly reminded of their screw up.
Hence, I believe that having this podcast up here is a bigger punishment for us – serving as a constant reminder of what we should not have done. The infamous podcast started off as our usual nonsensical chat where we said stupid and ridiculous things to each other. Then all the stereotypes about South Indians, North Indians, Mumbai girls and straight girls started flowing thick and fast and so did the gasps and disagreements. They were meant to be edited out and honestly should have been.
During this entire debate, MJ has faced much criticism and accusations have been levelled at her, for being ‘racist’. MJ is an equal opportunity dater. It doesn’t matter whether you’re North Indian or South Indian or Chinese – she will hook up with you. But only if she thinks you’re hot. Is she racist? No. Is she a tad shallow? Probably. Does she have some preconceived notions about people of certain parts of the world? Yes. Is she alone in this? Definitely not.
Should she, as one of the founders of our site, be held to a different and higher standard – I think so. Especially when her views are being published on Gaysi. She’s taken the heat for this and will continue to do so for a long time. But please don’t give up on us or this website. We truly believe that we have a lot to offer and that this was a mistake that we made and learned from.
I hope that those of you who want us to take off the podcast don’t see this as any less of an apology on our part. As always, those of you who want to express your views on this can leave a comment or submit a post you’d like us to publish.
Thank you all for your support, patience and, hopefully, forgiveness.