Men who have sex with men, of all backgrounds and vocations whether they identify as gay or not, risk the danger of being caught, bashed or blackmailed, to find a partner for a one-time, consensual, anonymous release.
Searching about a public place, known by word of mouth, in pursuit of a partner for sex, and the good and bad that follows, are the lived experiences of nearly every gay man in India- married, closeted, young and hopeful. A long history of persecution taught gay men to live discreetly; to cruise for sex in a domain outside of their public lives, but intrinsic to their being. And so at odd hours, public spaces like urinals, stations, parks, vacant streets and plots are their only sanctuary to be accepted among strangers with a similar affliction of the heart.
Cruising wonderfully teases themes of voyeurism, frottage, exhibitionism, kink. While easy to dismiss – deviant, dangerous, it is much more; cruising is also a moment of discovery and self-defining. It’s a rite of passage. And to most of these men also a way to feel less alone with their secrets.
These queer experiences are the norm, they shape queer lives, and speak volumes about their desires and aspirations.