Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Books & Apples

Kolkata’s first Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) literary festival, Blue Apple Festival, ogranised by SAATHII (a city-based NGO) was graced by the presence of personalities such as Professor Bula Bhadra, cinema personality Ketaki Dutta and Ajanta Sinha. There were readings from some of the most important LGBT books to come out of India. And some poignant moments thanks to Supurna Dutta, mother of a HIV positive, gay writer, Priyadarshi Dutta, who was there to present her son’s book.

But eventually, it was a heated discussion on LGBT identity that hogged much of the limelight. It started with a middle-aged man introducing himself as a homosexual and then talking about his life, his partner and the joy of coming out. “Today, my wife or husband even cooks dinner for my father and my family,” beamed the man, much to the chagrin of LGBT activists around.

“Heteronormative,” they shouted. “Why do you need to give a label to your relationship?” asked an enraged lady. “Why do we have to define everything in heterosexual way?” she wanted to know. “But if we don’t define or label, how do we get accepted? Before we are accepted into the mainstream society, people need to know who we are,” said an activist. But the lady was vehement. “I know a label free world sounds very idealistic. But to the prehistoric man, the concept of a society must have sounded idealistic too. To progress we need to be idealistic,” she said. But a transgender activist had the last say. “But I want labels and want to function within their spheres. I am a transgender who wants to be a wife to a man. Why is that wrong?” she asked. Touche.

Full report here Indian Express

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