Seeking Gay Tamil Man

Ram

By: @ramraajh

I want someone who likes long walks in the park. Scratch that, I want someone who likes to sit in parks, and judge people who take those long walks. I want someone who loves to read, who can fill me in on the plot while we wait for the movie to start. I want someone who will help clean the dishes when we’re done with our string hoppers and curry. Also, it would be nice if I could share my wardrobe with that someone and not raise any eyebrows. In case you haven’t clued in yet, I’m a dude who likes dudes.

Type gay into a Google image search and you’ll see what it means to be gay. Gay on Google is young, white and thin. You’d think you were looking at an Abercrombie catalogue. Picture after picture, we see white bodies as the only examples of gay culture. Gay culture is dominated by white faces and personalities, at least in the mainstream. This isn’t a true depiction of what the community looks like. Gay comes in all different shades, shapes, sizes and colours.

The intersection of Tamil and Gay seems to signal malfunction. Whether we judge ourselves or are judged by our families or communities, the anxiety and fear caused by discrimination is real. We allow social shaming to dictate the way we feel about a situation, and obsess about what others think. Questions like ‘Who will know?’ and ‘How will I be seen in the community?’ plague our minds. It’s messy because we allow others to influence our lives. Not being open about who we are can lead to isolation and depression. There is a rich history of dissent among Tamil queer folks and it’s not hard to see their struggles and gains, if you’re looking. A powerful movement that began before my time is still being shaped today and around the world people are taking note.

The fluidity of sexuality, gender identity, and expression are hard topics to raise in everyday settings. For the most part, Tamils are not comfortable talking about sex and sexuality and it can’t be because we aren’t having any. The Kama Sutra isn’t for coffee table reading and I don’t think that the population of India surpassed a billion through abstinence. Yet, we shy away from these discussions and shame people for trying to start them. How often have you heard ‘That’s so gay bro’ or ‘Stop being so gay.’

Queer culture was unapologetically embedded in South Asian narratives before colonization. Our sacred texts are peppered with examples of deities who are transgender or represent more than one gender identity. The Aravaani communities in our culture, and the Hijras in North India play important roles in reminding us of our fluid history and combatting stigma. Laws imposed during British rule contributed to the homophobia that resonates today and variations of sodomy laws are widespread throughout Southern Asia (although some have been dismantled through decriminalization).

While we may not see Vijay and Suriya professing their love for each other through a choreographed dance number anytime soon, there is a space for ‘Gay’ and ‘Tamil’ identities to coexist. Spaces such as Snehithan, a peer support group created for and by Tamil gay and bi men whether they be cis-gendered* or trans*. It’s a place for people to connect and not worry about looking, dressing, or saying something that would out themselves for fear of discrimination. We need more spaces in our larger Tamil community to be open to conversations about the broad spectrum of sexuality.  And when we encounter homophobic violence in any form, let’s address it where we can. This way we won’t let ourselves become passive participants in a culture of shaming and othering but architects of a culture that recognizes and respects difference.

So, let’s not shy away from these conversations so I can be on my way and find Mr. Right.

* If you are interested in learning more about Snehithan or similar support spaces please visit: www.asaap.ca

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27 thoughts on “Seeking Gay Tamil Man

  1. Awesome article! Nice to see more queer voices in our community, and kudos to Tamil Culture and the readers of Tamil Culture for being on board with this! 😀

  2. A very well written piece, it’s so nice and refreshing to see queer and trans issues being raised within the context of being Tamil.
    Thinesh Param , I can’t imagine someone as hateful and closed minded as you will make a better parent than a gay person. I see no need to make such horrid comments on a piece outlining exactly how difficult it is to be gay in our community. You’re not only what’s wrong with the Tamil community but also society as a whole.

  3. Its so beautiful on how he described the equality which some of you may not ever understand.. agree with Meenakshi Bala.. I can’t imagine how he could even raise his children with values when he is a judgemental person. pathetic. Gays don’t impose any threat to the community but ppl like you do..

  4. Its well versed article. I am so proud ram for writing this article. ASAAP has done numerous things for me, its a great organization to volunteer for. For the Hater, its so sad yet ignorant. You should educate yourself and learn to be more open minded.

  5. Loved this article – glad these issues are brought into light. Equality and the freedom to speak openly regarding issues that many in our community don’t understand is a very brave stance.. Well done to you!

  6. I am not going to answer that, however the fact that you have a saturday to go rant about this and write on everyone comments its quite sad. Go find a hobby. Thanks

  7. Edit: the comment I had initially referred to had been deleted….
    Oh quit whining. Your response reeks of a privileged life devoid of the prejudice the gay community has had to face and your anger is barely justifiable.
    You keep equating homosexuality to mental illness. Could you perhaps provide a source or citation for that claim which proves caustion? I will gladly quiet down when you find it (which seems unlikely). Maybe you can do the same for your other flawed points about ethics and evolution, because they are not very good reasons to back up your argument.

  8. From Wikipedia:
    “In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975.[3] Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990. Consequently, while some still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder, the current research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, reflecting the official positions of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.”
    If you want references, Google them. I doubt they will be hard to find.

  9. Margo: to be gay parents does not mean you are not able to bring up children. There are so many children that are being adopted by these amazing parents, ones who need love, which clearly you did not clearly receive. Gay parents are the same as any other parents, they care and love and nurture their children as do other parents in heterosexual relationships. Calling this an illness is purely outrageous of you, especially in the century we are living right now. Because of people like you, it is hard for gay people to be accepted into the society we are in. Get with the times! Gay people are exactly like us, they have no illness, they are human beings!

  10. Unfortunately, homosexuality is still in some ways seen as immoral and abnormal. Maybe that’s why you still feel “uncomfortable” with homosexuality, Sammy Aru.
    It might be true that pedophilia, like homosexuality, is not a choice. The problem lies not with someone’s sexual orientation, but with their actions. You’re equating homosexuality, which is CONSENSUAL sex between two adults of the same gender, to bestiality and pedophilia where we have non-consenting victims if ACTED upon his/her urges. You are, essentially, comparing rape to consensual sex.
    On a side note, I’m not saying every pedophile is a molester/rapist.

  11. You’re trying really hard to make a case which supports your personal opinion. I’m using your arguments against you.
    Here’s my answer:
    Homosexuality is an orientation – not a choice. Incest isn’t. There’s 7 billion people out there, why choose your family members? U0001f61eU0001f612

  12. You missed my point. I didn’t say paedophilia is not okay. I said it’s not okay if you act upon your urges.
    No. Homosexuality is no longer considered a form of mental illness. Something that has been confirmed by psychologists and psychiatrists.
    Let’s be honest, you’re just uncomfortable with homosexuliaty. It’s natural to be uncomfortable if you are not regularly exposed to it. After all, we identify with what we grow up with. What makes us moral beings is the ability to look beyond our differences and empathize with others.

  13. Thanks for the great read! There needs to be more spaces for all queer tamil individuals to be themselves.

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