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Sunday, August 30, 2020

My Rating - 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher - Sage Publication
Genre - LGBTQ/Non-Fiction
Publishing year - 2017
Language - English
ISBN - 978-9386446497
Pages - 163


My Review - 

This is the first time I have no idea where should I start? What should I write or how should I express myself? This is my first read from R. Raj Rao and I am speechless. His writing gave me lots of insights regarding Indian queer culture. 

For those who have no knowledge of what is Section 377 of IPC or its history, so here is quick clarification for you. It is imposed by Britishers in 1861, where the same-sex people cannot involve in intercourse, as it is considered as Unnatural offence. LGBTQ community suffered immensely all these years, looking for a way out, trying to change the law. In 2009 Delhi High Court decriminalized sex between consenting grown-ups of the same gender, but in 2013 the Supreme Court reversed the conviction. Finally, on 6th September 2018, the court has converted its previous verdict stating that it was undemocratic and irrational. 

The book is published in the year 2017, so it includes the political formation and leaders' foolish statements of that time when they said that it is not a part of Indian culture. They also question Shashi Tharoor's sexuality because he proposed a bill in Parliament to abraded Section 377. We all heard that being gay, lesbian, or transgender is not a part of our history. It is all a modern concept, and it is corrupting one's mind. But the truth is homosexuality is criminalized by English Victorians, not by Indians. One can find in the scriptures and temples like Hampi, Khajuraho, and Konark, as well in Kamasutra (an ancient Indian text). They all affirm same-sex relationships. 

The LGBT people are forced to live in a closet, and those who come out of it face prejudice, harassment, and also physical assault. R. Raj Rao depicts the dynamics of society and its norms, the way they can't picture two same-sex people showing affection or live life on their terms. The fear was always there, but slowly things are changing. There are a lot of people behind that change, who constantly fight and faced all the hypocrisy. 

The book is divided into nine chapters overlapping the ideas of queer philosophy, religion, and governments. R. Raj Rao used a whole lot of examples from different books and the authors who portray the LGBTQ community via their writings. He gave me a whole bunch of ideas for my tbr. 

The author's approach is to criticize past and present norms concerning the subject. The use of words shows his grip on the language. I absolutely loved this novel; the author is living as openly gay for the last 40 years and the face of many gay-rights movements. As he said and I quote, this book is an attempt to delink alternative sexuality from gender and establish it as an autonomous category. In doing so, one risks getting into conflict with the law. This book will open your eyes and make you understand the community's struggles and dirty politics that snatch their rights. I highly recommend it. 

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