IS THIS POSE RIGHT FOR ME?

I cannot think of any one person, who wouldn’t like to get out of their home and hand themselves over to the tempting morning dawn. On the other hand, in the summers like that of Delhi, a slight drizzle of rain is more of a cause of excitement than meeting the Wizard of Oz himself. So naturally, I had to get out of my house. The Sun wasn’t going to rise sooner than half an hour, when I put on my shorts and my shoes, and got myself out for a jog.

While I rhythmically moved my legs, the breeze turned into a strong gust of the wind and I was famished for more of that experience. I know that the tornadoes in my mind won’t stop spinning ever, but then the realization came to me quickly that these winds would certainly oppose them and continue to do so, till every atom in my abode cease to exist. With that, I continued running.

So my friend and I have this ritual, where we meet at a particular place and then gossip-cum-jog {but more of that gossip} about all the news which I’m sure, if published in a tabloid, would bring us hefty amount of rupee bills. It would have been a perfect day. I wouldn’t even have to write about this. But then again, it did happen, and I’m glad it did.

We were just arguing whether a Labrador was cuter than a pug, but we were stopped by a strange voice. We turned around and saw this man; he looked like a dad who just put his daughter in college; his voice a little heavy.

We stared at his façade, while he ran his eyes all over us, as if inspecting our anatomy. He turned to my humble friend and jokingly suggested that my motive to behave {the way I naturally do} was to make other people laugh. PERIOD!

Hearing him say so, shocked me, but to a much greater extent, amused me. Due to the realization that I had earlier, I wished to take a spontaneous yet radical step. I decided to challenge his as well as my limits.

I asked him to come a little bit closer and while he paid heed to my demand {I’ll, like to say an order}, revealed to him that I was a transgendered woman {no offense to any community, it wasn’t supposed to be funny, I just wanted to check if he had a good comeback}. At times, I do consider myself as a part of an elite group known as THE SADISTS, and that face, OH! What I wouldn’t give to see that for the rest of my life!

While I waited patiently for his reply, the expressions on the face of both my friend and the man changed. The expression on the man’s face changed drastically. His playful eyes drowned deep in anger with a little bit of confusion. His lips arched back to a straight line {which I’m glad did not show his pearly whites}. Though I wasn’t really concentrating on my peer, I did feel a hedonist taking over my body.

‘You know, you shouldn’t say these things to anybody. Let me talk to your parents. Why? How?’

‘Well, this is who I am and THIS is how it’s done.’

Chuckling, I gave an indication to my friend and we were back continuing to out tabloid talks. The whole time, we were at that place, I did look at him and found him staring directly over me.

Well, this incident, might seem as a concocted plot, but trust me it isn’t.

The reason, why I shared this certain incident is quite simple. We aren’t living in 17th or 18th century and even if we were, why do we have to hide? Is it really valid for them to punish us for being different from the masses and expressing who we actually are? Isn’t it better to be able to embrace self rather than pretending? I know that pretending might seem comforting, but on a long term, it really isn’t what you would want.

In India, whenever transgendered people are talked about, they are considered as an abomination. Even when we talk about pride in the LGBTQIA+ community, the transgendered pride is left out several times.

The last thing we need to understand is that it really is NOT unnatural or weird or any of those terms that would make you feel like an outsider or in any way makes you feel looked down upon.

THE  BOTTOM  LINE?

That is for you to decide, what your bottom line should be, or what message you want to propagate to the world and to your next generations. Like any object in this world, intellects, wisdom, philosophies, they too can be passed down and passed down along a series of generations, thus making them more prone to acceptance. Hence, it really is on your shoulders as to what hash tag you want to popularize in the coming years.

Calling My Pride

I sit there looking funny, supporting other funny people.

PRIDE

The word that is associated with LGBTQ.

What does pride mean to me?

What does pride mean to the other non-LGBTQ members?

Isn’t being a hippie or a punk or a member of a minority subculture demands a PRIDE?

When I look into a dictionary, the only definition that satisfies me and doesn’t play with my mind is that of having a sense of positive ego, a healthy sense of narcissism.

PRIDE deals with gender identities and sexuality and the difference between the supposedly normal world and the queer world. 

Why should everyone be indulged in PRIDE?

You can say you are unique. But you are not. You are just a brick in the wall and you will always be that brick. Even if you are a famous actor, a musician or a soccer player, you still fall within a subculture. You are still surrounded by the people, who do the same job as you.

The difference stems in the popularity of a subculture or a group.

If you are from the subculture whose residents comprise of famous singers, you are more prone to enjoy fame.

But, unfortunately {not really}, if you belong to a minority subculture, you are shunned down, looked down upon.

So, it becomes hard for us {yes, I am a writer of the tribe}, to live a normal life. And that is why; PRIDE is an essential and important way to protest, to interact, to show.

And that is what pride is about.

PRIDE shouldn’t be devoured by them. Instead, this must be a time of the year, where different minorities who have faced prejudice; who are constantly fighting for their pride; who have been still even sustaining the torrents of bullying and violence.

PRIDE is a celebration of different, awkward, queer and not particularly LGBTQ. Pride shouldn’t only be about them, but also about the ‘looked down upon’ subculture.

Lady with a Beard

The headline is a conundrum! That is the very first image that any person would form of such a paradoxical clause. Whenever we talk about the term lady, we search through our mind’s rolodex and come in terms with certain unique features on the basis of which, we differentiate a woman from a man.

We reside in a world where anything is possible. Can there be a blur between these two {and I’m not talking about HERMEPHRODITE}?

Certainly there can be. And the term is DRAG {not Formula1}.

Drag is an art form of impersonating the opposite sex. Men who opt for an illusion of a woman are called Drag Queens. Similarly women who project an illusion of a man are called Drag Kings.

Stereotypically, a man is muscular, beefy and butch and all those widely accepted qualities of a masculine abode. To do a character of opposite sex i.e. a woman, they have to feminize themselves and then work to look like a stereotypical woman {though in the past there have been many deviant changes in this field}.

Though, one may seem to consider a drag queen as a transgendered/ psychological woman, but it is not the fact. Drag queens are transvestites for art purposes. Just like any typical model.

In many cases, the culture of drag is thought to be a subculture of the larger culture of homosexuality, but that’s not the case. A person, regardless of his/her sexual orientation is called a drag performer if he/she maintains a character illusion.

Let us talk about drag in Indian scenario.

In Mahabharata, when Arjuna was exiled, he impersonated a woman {or tried to}. People may see him in the light of a transgendered person. But instead when you look closely through all the loopholes and try to make sense of it, he was actually a drag artist; a character illusionist.

In the famous show, The Kapil Sharma Show, the female characters of Sunil Grover and Kiku Sharda are female. Analogy says that they both showcase the drag culture {in a derogatory way though}.

In most of the states where PRIDE is not seen as an important ritual, the possibility of being drag artists is next to negligible.

In the end what I or for that matter anybody would say is: 

IT’S NOT PERSONAL, IT’S JUST DRAG……………………………..

My Identity in Crisis

As a child, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw a guy who is feminine in his voice; his walk; his style; his ways. In a nutshell, I saw him as a budding woman. At that stage of my life, I would be so disgusted with myself that I would brush off this fact and turn away from the derogatory reflection of my own. In fact, I would make failed attempts to act like the boys of my age.

Now, fully grown up, teased and taunted along the way by the forces, I have come to embrace my pseudo-real self.

What am I? A man, a woman or whichever construct the society throws me into?

In an orthodox world, you are either a male or a female and in some special cases, a transgendered person {though, people would still question your identity and thus your existence}.

What if you do not fit into these categories? What if your identity is your existential crisis? What if you are the one who blurs the line between both the gender constructs? What if you are a man with a feminine side or vice versa?

Apart from the traditional gender identities which are ‘naturally’ binary, there are several more that might be less than a mile from you, yet remain unexplored.

There are different terms pertaining to those ‘disabled/unnatural/different’ categories such as androgynous, gender-fluid, gender queer, gender**k, two spirited, intersex, etc.

The aim of my story is to debunk and unearth precisely the label that I belong to {even if you are against labels, you inadvertently get trapped into one}.

When I think of myself as a being, I keep in mind all my physical, behavioral and psychological features. From the appearance, I am a fully functional adult human MALE body. On the contrary, when I would see my behavior and the repercussions {these repercussions would include the imitations that I faced and would continue to encounter}, I am a classy budding feminist female DIVA. When I come to the psychological side, I would like to express myself as a DIVA but also as a MALE.

In short, with all this narration, I wanted to describe myself as an amalgam of the extremes in a typical feminine and a masculine abode. 

Androgyny is the quality of having both of these characters at once. An androgynous person is one whose state of mind is essentially between that of a man and a woman. Hermaphroditic or ‘Ardhnarishwar’ is a similar term to portray the physical appearance of an androgynous person.

 Our identity is who we think we are. Similarly, our gender identity is what we think we are, and nobody other than ourselves is responsible to decode that.

SO,

Solve the puzzle and then celebrate your triumph. 

Out of Iraq: A Warzone Romance

Director: Chris McKim & Eva Orner

Duration: 81 minutes

Release Date: 16 June 2016

In the Indian subcontinent, we have freedom to fight for the human rights. When we talk about the LGBT Community, even though homosexuality is criminalized, we still have the right to fight and give opinions against the said decisions {as long as we do not indulge in the Contempt Of Court}. But when me move towards the north and make a quick stop to the Middle Eastern states such as Iraq, Iran, etc. the scenario is completely different.

In these warzones, religion and culture shuts down the possibility of any debates. Specifically, in these areas, homosexuality is not only criminalized, but also punished with death. That makes it very frightening to the gay people.

The documentary ‘Out of Iraq’ showcases the romantic starry-eyed love story of Nayyef Hrebid, an Iraqi translator and Btoo Allami, an Iraqi soldier. The movie shot over 13 year takes its root from the Iraq wars of 2004. The film is also showcases their evacuation from Iraq, a long distance relationship and the awaited reunion. This has all the elements of a classic love story. 

The main agenda of the film is to depict the budding relationship of these two men. In addition to that, the documentary focuses on the war waging back then and the asylum escapade of the lovers. It narrates the story through snippets of interviews, old photographs & videos. These visuals also feature montages of gruesome activities which is one of the heartfelt parts in the entire movie. Even in the moments of war, they found something much more important i.e. love.

The directors successfully presented an amalgam between the two extreme polar dimensions; love and war. Although the concept of love is a little monotonous, but the alliteration remains invisible, thanks to the contrasting images of the war struck area.

Through the elusive use of colors {at times, pointless} and the imagery, the movie is successful in penetrating the hard shell of the audiences leading to a thorough oozing of emotions and a teary eye.

Dream Boy: A Novel

Novel best served with creative minds and a cup of coffee.

Author: Jim Grimsley

Publication : 1999

At first, the title suggests a starry-eyed love story. A boy equivalent to Prince Charming chased after by women in wedding gowns. Despite the title connoting a same old romance, it however unravels a queer love story of two teen boys. CAUTION! One of the protagonists has a dark past and lives his wound every day.

The book can be labeled as coming-of-age, romance, suspense, young adult. But when all of these elements are mixed, surprisingly we get a fine drama.

The story is set up in country and narrates the tale of Nathan, a shy and intelligent boy. His family consists of an alcoholic and abusive father; a meek and invisible mother. Nathan develops a crush on the stereotyped boy-next-door, Roy, an athletic jock. Together they embark on a sexual and emotional relationship.

Although it has a diversity of elements, most of them have been overused over the passage of time, as a result of which, the beauty of the moment is diminished. The juxtaposition of the optimistic and the unaccepted love with a gruesome and vivid imagery of exploitation is a classic element {which has been used frequently}.

Despite all the shortcomings, the characters have been well thought off. The characterizations are such as the readers would definitely connect with them and make them come alive. e.g. Nathan, who is shy throughout the journey, shocks everyone by showing everyone his bold side at various points.

At times Nathan’s back-story is explored which is sure to well up the readers latent emotions. It guarantees to break even the hardest façade into tears.

The ending is the most emotional segment of the novel which will bewilder its audience. It is kept open so as to let the reader go through the realm of his/her own imagination. As a result, it pushes the reader into an endless suspense.

The chemistry between all the characters is to be noted. The relationship of the leads is strictly sexual at first but then they start to connect on a whole new plane. The strained relation between Nathan and his father revives the readers’ anger and frustration. The invisibility of the mother and her absent-mindedness is strung along {though at one point she tends to break out of her regular image}.

In addition the book voices the minority and represents the LGBTQ community. It also emphasize upon the fact of homosexuality still being a taboo. Hence, this book serves an extra reading between the lines assignment for the readers who muster up courage through reading.

Grimsley elucidates every single detail as he himself is experiencing the said situations. Although there is not much dialogue between the characters {which may be due to the difference between their personalities}, but he compensates the conversations by beautifully describing the silence at the moment and their thoughts.

In short, Jim Grimsley’s ‘Dream Boy: A Novel’ is an impeccable example of a story that addresses both minor and major themes. It is a beautiful example of queer literature which at its very core holds the ability to become a classic, though it also has its own modern twist.