Maya Sharma…argues that the issue of same sex relationships between women in India is not necessarily an urban phenomenon…she feels that the women’s movement ought to do more than just empathise with such women.
An unusual new book by Maya Sharma documents the lives of lesbian women in rural and unprivileged India. Thrice oppressed? Not quite. What emerges are startling stories of freedom.
Gautam Bhan, Tehelka
The narratives in this volume constitute immense challenges and small but profoundly significant triumphs. Located within a personal journey of emergence from a space fraught with silences and half-truths, the book documents the life-stories of ten working-class queer women living in north India. In doing so, it dispels the myth that lesbians in India are all urban, westernized and come from upper and middle classes. These real-life narratives create a space for voices with little or no privilege, providing these women with an opportunity to share their lived realities with one another and with others. The stories effectively challenge the notion of women as sexual beings without agency, and it is hoped, will influence the women’s movement towards an inclusion of lesbian women in the movement.
Maya Sharma, a feminist, is an activist in the Indian Women’s Movement. She is, at present, working with a grassroots women’s organization, called Vikalp in Baroda, Gujarat.