FAQueer: Have Western influences Caused Some Indians To Turn Gay?

Well, if the Mahabharata and several ancient temples had Western influences, then homosexuality in India has been caused by the West.

Homosexuality has been around in India way before America and England had any influence over our culture. The West gave us washing machines and dishwashers, but they can’t take credit for the lovely gay people that our country has produced.

Take this for example:

Two Kondh women from Orissa’s Koraput district have defied all norms of their tribal society to live as ‘man and wife’ after tying the knot recently. Bateka Palang, 30, wed her bride, 25-year-old Maleka Nilsa of Ghumuru village in Bandhugaon block in a traditional ceremony at Dandabadi, a remote village in Narayanpatna block, in the presence of family.

The village has given its grudging approval—the elders have asked residents not to talk about it to outsiders for fear of shame—to the relationship that was formalised after all the usual wedding rituals, including dowry changing hands.[Link]

These two tribal women live in a remote village in the middle of Orissa, I think they’re pretty safe from that deadly Western influence.

You would do well to begin clearing your misconceptions by reading this post on Gaysi by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik:

An overview of temple imagery, sacred narratives and religious scriptures does suggest that homosexual activities – in some form – did exist in ancient India. Though not part of the mainstream, its existence was acknowledged but not approved. There was some degree of tolerance when the act expressed itself in heterosexual terms – when men ‘became women’ in their desire for other men, as the hijra legacy suggests. The question that remains now is: how does attitudes towards homosexuals in ancient India affect modern-day attitudes? Is our approval or disapproval of same-sex affection and intercourse dependent on ancient values? And while we ponder over the questions, we must remind ourselves that the ancient sources that censure homosexual conduct, also institutionalized the caste system and approved the subservience of women. [Link]

Another great resource is the book “Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History” by Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai.

Being gay is hard. Trust me, I know. Everyday I am faced with the decision of whether it’s ok to hold my partner’s hand in a particular restaurant or is it ok to tell my colleagues that I’m gay. Will the girl I’m friendly with think I’m hitting on her, because I’m gay. I live in Canada where gay people have pretty much the same rights as straight people and even then I have to worry about certain things that straight people will never have to worry about. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to live as an openly gay or even closeted gay person in India.

Being gay is not a choice and I know this because nobody in their right mind would choose this life of secrecy and enforced shame and trauma. Nobody will watch “Imagine Me & You” and think “Wow! Being gay is so cool – let me give up the relatively easier heterosexual life I can have and turn gay instead”. Nobody will listen to “I Kissed A Girl” and think, “Oh! That must be so awesome! Let me just torture my parents and tell them that I am now going to be gay because I heard a cool Western song”.

I just want to add, that while I probably wouldn’t have chosen to be born gay especially not based on some Hollywood movie or Pop song, since I am gay and am with a girl that I love with all my heart and who makes me happier than I could ever have imagined, I am happy that I am gay. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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