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Gender and sexuality are not rigid boxes inside which we sit, or use to make judgements about other people. Here are 7 timely reminders before this year ends.
2022 has been a great year for a lot of us in terms of how well our writings critiquing patriarchal constructs and mindsets have been received.
Yet, there are multiple things that a lot of us forget on a daily basis, especially while dealing with other feminists and/or queer individuals. Keeping that in mind, here are a few gentle reminders before 2022 ends:
We all might have come across people who make us feel as if they are better feminists and/or queers as compared to us. But, that isn’t true. No one can act as if they own the label of a ‘feminist’ or a ‘queer’. No one can patronise those who are less vocal or whose activism doesn’t align with their own.
There is no such thing as an ‘ideal feminist’ or an ‘ideal queer’. Anyone who says they are a feminist or a queer person are, in every way, what they say they are. Period!
Femme presenting AFABs and masculine presenting AMABs don’t necessarily have to be cisgender. Additionally, making assumptions and judgements about people’s genders and sexualities based on how they choose to present themselves isn’t queer sensitive behaviour.
While almost everyone might have heard this line at least once in their lifetime, very few truly understand it. There are numerous gender identities apart from male, female, non-binary and agender. Furthermore, gender identities and pronouns are, at times, fluid.
It’s common for us to hear people say that they don’t consider themselves to be feminists or that feminist ideologies don’t align with their own. What they don’t understand is that feminism, in itself, isn’t meant to be as complicated as it has become in the present day.
Feminism isn’t the same as misandry or male-bashing. In fact, it is a spectrum where misogyny lies at the other extreme end. Anyone who believes that non-cis men need to have access to the same economical, political and social privileges as cis men, by default, falls within the spectrum.
If feminism is a spectrum, then trans-exclusionary feminism lies on the misogynistic end of it. Trans women are women, irrespective of whether or not they have undergone hormone replacement therapy and/or gender-affirming procedures. One’s gender and life experiences have absolutely nothing to do with the sex they were assigned at birth.
If a lesbian who is primarily interested in dating women ends up falling in love with a man, she is choosing the person and not their gender. Sexuality is fluid and queer individuals have the right to decide which sexuality works for them. A queer person is under no obligation to stick to a particular sexual orientation all their life.
Additionally, someone who doesn’t feel that their sexuality aligns with any of the sexualities they know of is also queer if they consider themself to be the same. Allosexuals can one day realise that their sexuality lies on the asexual spectrum, homosexual people can be open to being with those who don’t share their gender identity, heterosexual folks can also take time to understand that they might be queer.
A lot of queer people are not able to be too open about their sexualities and/or gender identities. Some might not be able to change their physical appearances due to familial or social pressure and some might simply not wish to do so because they don’t feel the need to.
While stereotypical cues and aesthetics signifying queerness might actually make things easier for a lot of queer people in being able to express themselves better and to also identify other queer people in physical spaces that are usually dominated by cis-hets, even queers who choose to not adhere to a certain aesthetic or who struggle to publicly acknowledge the fact that they’re queer, are just as queer.
Image credits Alexander Gey, via Unsplash
A dysgraphic writer who spends most of their time watching (and thinking about) Bollywood films. read more...
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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