The Man Who Let India Out of the Closet

Some excerpts:

It is impossible not to see Mr. Johar against the background of the
society in which he lives. India right now is in the grip of a strange
schizophrenia when it comes to gay freedom. The gay dating apps are
teeming with activity. Everyone is having sex. Even in small towns, men
are furiously soliciting other men. But the legal recognition of
same-sex love is stuck firmly in 19th-century Britain. In 2013, the same
year Mr. Johar’s gay kiss hit movie screens across India, the Supreme
Court reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which places
homosexuality, alongside bestiality, as “against the order of nature.”

What the ruling in practice has come to mean is that gay sex for the
most part is permitted — the authorities turn a blind eye — but is
criminalized on the books, which means of course that marriage, or even
any social or legal acknowledgment of same-sex love, is a distant dream.
This has created a society where gay freedoms — which can mean Grindr
on one end, and the right to marriage on the other — are reduced to
carnal pleasure. India, as a consequence, feels like a place where love
and sex have parted ways, and where the arc of freedom is bending toward

The Man Who Let India Out of the Closet


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