Ever had a moment of wonder, confusion at the comic Bollywood cross-dressing scenes where a man would dress up as a woman and seduce or draw the sexual attention of another man? It’s constantly part of Bollywood humour, parodying womanly eccentricities, men’s lasciviousness but perhaps you stopped to wonder sometime!
The Essentialist Myth
As a child I remember watching and being thoroughly confused over a Govinda flick wherein dressed and made-up as a woman in a sari he first successfully entices another man and is then ‘stuck’ amidst the man’s sexual advances. It made no sense! I kept thinking… But Govinda is a man! Dressed like a woman yes.. but he is a man! How can he sexually arouse, entice another man when he is a man!? Isn’t this how it works: women have the capacity to arouse men and men to arouse women??
Well then apparently No! It’s instead your perception of the ‘other sex’ in the other person which determines your feelings. Not the other person, but how you think of the other person.
That is to say it’s a psychological factor that determines your inclination for another person and not the other person’s ‘real’ physical factors. Of what form is this psychological factor or information then? It seems something like ‘In order for me to have feelings for another person, the person needs to be of the opposite sex’. <<<‘….needs to be of the opposite sex’>>>
Sexuality is learnt
Notice something about it? It sounds like a stipulation, a learnt piece of rule now part of what’s become our psyche. One learnt from the world around us! From what we see and gather. What we are explicitly and in a multitude myriad ways implicitly told. (On the T.V, in the posters, in advertisements, in being teased at school, in the straight couple on couple that populates the society around us, on mamma’s plans for your future, in your peers’ questions about your crush… and more.)
“..Why do we follow certain paths, is it conditioning or expectation?” muses a character in a movie about a lesbian couple. And it sure seems a bit of both. Most of us look for a love interest in the opposite sex not because that’s how it is, but because that’s how we have learned it should be and have come to believe in. Moreover we also learn how it shouldn’t be and develop strong mechanism to block anything pertaining to it.
‘Oh! But the man I thought was a woman is a man!’ Eww..Cringe!! ‘It’s impossible!’ (Though a moment ago that was the very experienced reality!) The idea is picked at a very early age from all we see and hear and are taught, and then reinforced over and over again with all that’s around us. Then we expect to fall in love with, date the opposite sex and sure enough love follows where we direct it.
Shedding the boundaries
But think. You meet a person of the same sex as you but unlike all you’ve met before, someone whose new ways, intellect perhaps, perhaps charm, or ease, energy, simplicity, honesty, strength or trueness you haven’t seen a match of. She/he cannot but startle you and makes you think of her/him. And what’s more you get along so well and spend an amazing amount of time together.
A possibility then; that a force of emotion can suddenly or eventually, unwillingly maybe, lead a thought to dare and wander beyond, over the stipulated boundary? Like daring to love the member of the same tribe when outlawed, or of a different community when illegal, of a different caste, religion when strictly barred, or even another person when forbidden by the marital tie?
Sure for all it needn’t be the same way. Some might not have seen the other ‘in the certain light’ until approached. Some may have an acceptance of the idea and decide to explore. Some might believe that’s how they are made. A myriad ways really!
But an emotional jolt I see the most effective way to make one realize the constructed-ness of the boundaries we take as concrete, as natural, as the only way!
Gayness is not a biological sexual orientation. It’s a psychological one. You think and you are! You act on it and it’s affirmed. You decide to stick to it. Confirmed! (Same story for straights and gays.)
You are surely Gay
While truly, there’s really a gay potential in all! And if you think you are straight, what’s really your story mate is that you haven’t met the right man or woman. Wait on and it might just happen to you, if you got it in you to embrace it.
Of course there’s the other way for the irrepressibly curious ones. Find someone you like, take it slow and explore! It’ll happen … in every way!
By: Chitra Singh
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