Biren is from India.
377. The reason why Biren wants to leave India.
377. The section of Indian Penal Code that criminalizes sexual behaviors against the order of nature. Friendly reminder: homosexuality is for many, and many legal systems, against such order.
Section 377 has led to an intense legal battle for the past 3 years. 377 is like a hot coal that bounces around. Between coward institutions. From the Supreme Court to the Parliament. Now, 377’s status is pending. Either a re-approval or a repeal.
But such a battle, threatening to freeze for ages anew, is already a victory. A solemn win for those who fight for LGBTI rights in India. Biren is part of them. He’s participated in several protests. He’s marched in the young Delhi Pride Parade. You would say that Biren is an activist. And you’d be right. Cause that’s what he is.
For many LGBTI people. Being an activist, actively addressing LGBTI issues, is a double challenge. First, you have to come to terms with your own identity. And it’s not easy in an oppressive context. Next, you have to collect the pieces of your angst and anger, and turn them into a saving power. Further than this, into a scaping power.
When you figure that you probably will have to hide in order to survive, strategies of comfort face off against thoughts of fight. Some might choose to decorate their den. Bittersweet compromise. Others might decide to stand in the light. And in the light, they fight.
Biren is from a small city. Where gay people still have no chance to catch a glimpse of that light.
But thanks to our millenary, in the shadow of society, gay people turned on their screen. And the light they would find there was a community. From Yahoo Messenger to modern day Grindr, chat rooms are the only safe space for too many users.
And you can judge millennials for abusing their use. But question your judgment when it deals with this youth.
Gay youth forced to hide. Always on the down low.
When Biren moved to Delhi, he would hide differently. Tuesday. The gay night. Throwing soothing parties.
Wait, how can a party soothe? Well, it must be a gay thing. When they dive in a bar or dance at a party where other gay kids are. Unravel the cliché. Gay men. Party addicts. Promiscuous drunks in tight shorts. On the counter, some fairy dust to snort.
Again, in the shadow of society, gay flies, or rather butterflies, know where to find the light. When you turn off that light. When you close down a gay bar. It’s not less margarita for the fags. It’s the murder of a community. Stonewall riots baby.
But Delhi’s gay parties aren’t like NYC’s. Even there, surrounded by gay men, you need to be cautious. And cautious means silent, wary of one another. Dare to build a community whose members you hinder. Biren ain’t deluded. You can’t fool gay people. “It gets better over time.” Duh! “Give ‘em hope!” Those catchy slogans… What a slippery slope…
Of course it gets better! And it ought to do so! But you have to think fast when your world goes too slow. Biren knows India well. And he can see some change. He mentions that movie. Kapoor & Sons. Starring a gay character. Proof that it gets better. A better movie-plot. A bigger acceptance. But outside the movies, you still fear a sentence.
Though Biren has it all. He’s willing to move on. His house, his friends, his job. It all comes down to one. One simple little thing he’s hardly ever known.
Biren’s choice sure is tough, but tougher’s the vision. The idea of him in today’s condition. A full-on straight-oriented workplace. What is there to regret when this is what you face? A secretive love life juggling with standards.
Double standards. A movie, a modern group of friends. Feeling comfy with them. But still the same sentence.
Now it won’t be Sydney. It can’t be Singapore. Consider NYC? No further thinking, no more. Biren’s plane will take off. And Biren will trade off. A king bed against a mat. A big house against a flat. A cautious yet comfy existence in Delhi against a painstaking routine fighting off the city. Fighting off NYC. Fighting? Yes, but fighting free. And free from a burden, Biren will fall in love.
Pride and honor will come. Pride and honor and love.
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