Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend musing: Gays and Hijras

Among the politically volatile topics in the west is that of Gays, Gay Rights and homosexuality. Perhaps the reason, the American President who already has a full enchilada of topics in his plate is also taking on this (Re. Obama to End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Military Policy).

Why do I blog on a topic, where I have very little knowledge? Because I was intrigued by the headline in the news (Gay rights advocates march on DC, divided on Obama) . . . and the fact that I had an interesting conversation with a relative of mine in Delhi. They had a baby recently, and I had called to congratulate them. The cousin had to abruptly end the conversation and called back later to apologize. Apparently a group of Hijras descended at their apartment, demanding to “bless” the baby in return for a few thousand rupees (1$ = 46.5 Rupees).

[Ref Wikipedia: Hijras also perform religious ceremonies at weddings and at the birth of male babies, involving music, singing, and sexually suggestive dancing.]

I remember when the western media picked on one remark from Iranian president, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s address to Columbia University last year. Why? Because he said 'We don't have any gays in Iran' Perhaps he meant that in Iranian culture gays would be considered Hijras? [Wikipedia tries to clarify: These (Hijra) identities have no exact match in the modern Western taxonomy of gender and sexual orientation.]