A few days ago I read an article on The Print about how “gay Modi fans can finally shut the liberals up if Section 377 is decriminalised”. The first claim made in this article was that the “Right-wing homosexual people have always been ostracised in the LGBTQ+ community.” This is a laughable statement because we have routinely observed within the community that it is the minorities, Dalits, trans people, tribals, gender non-conforming, and queer women who are ostracised by the right leaning members time and time again. On the very group that this writer created the poll, there are hordes of Islamaphobic, racist, transphobic, and sexist posts by members to be seen daily.
My question to the writer is this – How are you ostracised exactly? Do you mean to say that you don’t like how people don’t agree with your prejudiced views regarding marginalised people?
‘Gay Modi fans’ always resort to whataboutery when confronted with the homophobia that exists in the Right just the way their straight counterparts do when confronted with the BJP’s shortcomings. However, the fact remains that Modi and his party continue to be largely anti-minority. Our community is one that has fought for its existence amidst objection from the conservative Right throughout history.Queer resistance is antithetical to right wing conservatism.
You can cite examples of how that one time a BJP minister managed to not be a complete bigot while commenting on Section 377 or how the RSS is now not opposing the scrapping of this law but you can’t deny that the Right in general and the party in particular are both largely anti-queer. I am not saying that all right-leaning individuals are homophobic, but a majority of them are, and that’s a reality that the ‘Gay Modi fans’ must face.
Our community is one that has fought for its existence amidst objection from the conservative right throughout history.
Another claim that the right leaning queers love to make is that homosexuality has always been a part of ancient Indian culture and due to the invasion of ‘foreign Abrahamic religions’, the country became homophobic and has remained homophobic till date, which shows the subtle hostility they have for anything that is non-Hindu. Whose culture are they exactly referring to when they say “ancient Indian culture”? What they mean here is actually Hindu Brahmanic culture, one which ignores the indigenous culture of many civilisations that existed in the subcontinent.
‘India‘ as a country only came into being after independence. To use Hinduism as the default standard for Indian culture is problematic. It is extremely hypocritical that these Hindutva vadis (Hindutva supporters) are pinning the blame on Abrahamic religions while the most vocal oppositions have also come from the Hindu Right. No religion is monolithic; The National Council of Churches in India for instance, recently came out in support of LGBTQIA+ rights and apologized for the insensitive ways various religious groups reacted to the 2009 judgement. It is true that it was British colonialism which was largely Christian that birthed this law but you cannot solely blame colonialism or Christianity for the Indian union’s decision to continue upholding this archaic law for 71 years after independence.
Having no opinion on a human rights issue is still an opinion. You are either in favour of queer rights or you are complicit in the repression of queer rights. The Modi government’s refusal to take a stand on the issue of Section 377 is the party’s way of washing its hands. In no way does this mean that they are in favour of queer rights.
Forget about the unabashed homophobic remarks made by many of its party members – earlier this year Vice India pulled an article about a gay ABVP member because they feared getting a call from Amit Shah. This doesn’t exactly scream ‘tolerance’ to me. By leaving it to the “wisdom of the court”, they are merely avoiding public scrutiny just as the Congress have done so in the past. The Right-wing queer folks rejoicing over such apathy exhibited by the Modi Government is pitiful to say the least.
You are either in favour of queer rights or you are complicit to the repression of queer rights.
Dear ‘Gay Modi fans’, I want you to know that your queerness does not excuse your blatant sectarianism and remind you that you are definitely not oppressed in the community. Proudly claiming that you support the Right is to say that you have no respect for the efforts of the marginalised people who have been spearheading the movement since the beginning nor do you have an understanding of the radical, anti-authority, and anti-conservative origin of the queer movement. You are free to support whoever you want to but don’t victimise yourselves when you face hostility from the community as a result of your political choices that directly and gravely affect many members of the community.
Featured image source: Gaylaxy