A few years ago, a little known American editor, Joseph Lelyveld, penned a book, which would have gone rather unnoticed if it hadn’t touched some unknown facts about the man we refer to as the 'Father of our Nation.' That the great man allegedly fostered an intimate relationship with his entire entourage wasn’t enough, there were also snippets that suggested he had more than a casual friendship with a certain bodybuilder friend of his from South Africa. As it so happens with most conspiracy theories in the country, outrage quickly ensued. Had someone, moreover a foreigner, dared to utter Bapu and bisexuality in the same sentence?
Participants dance under a a rainbow flag as they attend the sixth Delhi Queer Pride parade
I. On Bisexuality Within India's LGBT Community
“Bisexuality is extremely discriminated against, even within the LGBT community. Homosexual people always perceive the bisexuals to be those playing the field, going through a phase, but that they will almost ultimately end up with a person of the opposite sex, thus earning sanction from those very people who are up in arms against the community. It’s so stark, that in our dating circles, homosexual people clearly mention that bisexuals need not apply. They hardly ever expect a serious, committed relationship off them.”
Harish Iyer - Pyal unpgugged
II. On Matters Of Sexual Engagement
“It’s all very strange. A homosexual man can have many male partners. A heterosexual woman, many male partners. But if a bisexual person has partners of both sexes, it’s suddenly wrong from the others’ perceived moralism? It’s even sadder when homosexual people, who are often discriminated against themselves, look down upon them as being greedy or those who want the best of both the worlds. Let’s not forget that all this fake morality washes out to people just being people. By the end of it, bisexuality is as normal or abnormal as homosexuality or heterosexuality,”
“I haven’t ever been intimate with a man. But I’m curious to know how it would be being with one. Who’s to say? When the time comes, I would either jump right into it, or freak out and dash the fuck out.”
“Growing up had its curiosities. You always wonder why adults make a fuss about kissing someone, to the point where you want to try it. And well, you try it with different people. I’ve only liked three girls in my life, and as for my relationship, it started like any other, playing the field, teasing, flirting, until she insisted we properly date. Certainly things were awkward at first, but with time it grew more comfortable, and hey, it isn’t that we live within some different dimensions. This relationship ended like any other, jealousy and misunderstanding. We’re both dating guys now.”
“My sexuality is nobody’s business and I don’t even bother defining it. To me it’s like wearing clothes; I can’t stick to one style, can I? We live in different times, and someone’s sexuality doesn’t define them. I know people who are very flamboyant but not gay, and there are too many who you can’t tell are bisexual until you get them drunk.”
IV. On Where We Are (Or Should Be) Headed...
“There has to be dialogue. There has to be communication. Conversations must be fostered. Relationships must be forged. Not on the basis of perceptions but simply on a more humane level. Trust me, the world needs it now more than ever.”