Sunday, July 12, 2009
“We need to talk about our sexuality in public”
By Shevlin Sebastian
“I felt very happy and proud,” says Deepa Vasudevan, a founding member of Sahayatrika, the organisation for same-sex loving women in Kerala. She was referring to the ruling of the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality.
“It is a great victory for sexual minorities. It prevents the state from policing sexuality. The fact that we can have consensual sex with a person of the same sex and not be looked upon as doing a criminal act is a huge plus.”
Sahayatrika and other groups are planning to hold public discussions on this matter. “This ruling is a big opportunity to speak out about our need for public acceptance,” she says.
Deepa lives in Thrissur, although she travels the length and breadth of Kerala doing work on behalf of sexual minorities. So what did she think would happen in the state following the ruling?
“In Kerala there is a big disparity between the law and popular attitudes,” she says. “I know of many lesbians who have to hide. Women in Kerala are not supposed to have a sexuality, and for same sex women it is worse. It makes it difficult to make a relationship work.”
She says the attitude towards sex in Kerala is less conservative and more hypocritical. “So many things happen here,” she says. “It is just that people do not talk about it. For example, people pretend that lesbianism does not exist, but it does.”
When asked whether there will ever be a social acceptance of the LGBT community in Kerala, Deepa laughs out aloud and says, "It will be a struggle. But when there is more openness about sexuality in society, we will gain acceptance too."
(The New Indian Express, Chennai)