That should be the question to begin every conversation that deals with LGBTQIA identity politics. Well, at least that should be the first question in India, claims L Romal M Singh.

I woke up today to an article forwarded by a friend that read: “Hunky son secretly videos his emotional coming out to his mom with hidden camera.” Now, this made two excruciatingly annoying points. First, a website like assumed it was important to point out that the son was ‘hunky’ to ensure it’s ‘readability’ and more views; and secondly, my friend made the underlying, yet, solid point that someone’s ability to be ‘hunky’ makes him somehow worth more attention.

But why am I singling out this poor fellow and the online magazine that is, well, just trying really hard to get more hits. This is, after all, the actual plight of the community at large. People are obsessed with how other people look, dress and carry themselves. Characters are defined merely based on how sharp your jaw line is or how fuckable you ‘seem’. A great character and good ideals are irrelevant these days.

Quite recently, I noticed a friend leave elaborate (almost poetic) comments on a certain friend’s pictures on Facebook, while the rest of us, mere — not-so-pretty — mortals only got several ‘nice(s)’, ‘I like the t-shirt, where did you get it from(s)’ and ‘nice pic(s)’ repeatedly. It seemed really unfair.  We weren’t asking for this differential interest. I mean, was there a specific need for people to ensure they were vague and often almost insulting to people… just because they weren’t attracted to them? There was something wrong here.

Not too far away another friend of mine transitioning into a woman was faced with a different kind of shallowness. She (as he prefers being addressed) was recently asked to, “Give up on trying being a woman, as she’d never be a pretty one.” What’s worse is that she almost did give up! She later, however, evolved into a straight-man hating trans-woman who is now bitter, but at least reasonably self-confident.  Today, she is OK with other trans-people calling her the ugliest of expletives, yet hates straight men for not finding her womanly enough. There was something wrong here too.

Zeroing back on my dear gay community… I noticed another problem that really annoyed me. Every single bottom-role-playing gay man seems to want a rapist as his perfect lover. I’d be a millionaire if I received a rupee for every single time I heard a gay man say that he wanted a lover who was like a wolf or a bear, who would treat him really ‘nastily’ in bed. Everyone seems to want extreme violent sex, the kind of lover who would, “fuck your brains out,” or “paste you into the wall,” or “make you cry and beg for more of that pounding,” or “leave you in such a condition that you cannot walk.” HOW IS THIS NORMAL? When did abuse equal good sex? Why are more gay men making themselves believe that abuse is what they want? Have they even tried non-abusive intimacy, where both partners have a healthy sexual relationship, where they are both mutually satisfied by each other? There’s definitely something wrong here.

#BeastModeOn, #iBeasty, #Wolf and the rest of those annoying hash tags about men looking like hairy, muscular ape-men became such a fad sometime ago. Did no one ever realise that we as a community are breeding rapists? The more we deify the reckless testosterone-driven wild man, the more we will create rapists. Men who enjoy suppressing others, dominating others and playing out their rape fantasies will get cultural support for being as they are, as the sex will ‘supposedly’ be consensual. Worse still, rape will be equated with sex, as a lot of bottom-role identifying men will also claim that they want to be raped and the consent will be pre-decided on. Isn’t there something wrong here?

Yes, they have the right to do as they please. Yes, people can have rape fantasies. Yes, it’s none of my business. But, where is the self-respect? Where is the need to connect to people beyond how they look like or how they perform in bed? Where is the place for affection, acceptance, love and care? Is this really the freedom we’ve been fighting for? If it is, I promise to shut my mouth and withdraw into a cocoon. It’s self-respect above all else, or nothing, for me.

Everywhere I look, I see the fabric of this community being derided by shallow ideas of beauty, love, affection and intimacy. We’re more un-accepting of each other than the straight world is un-accepting of us. What’s the point in having a movement for our rights, when just by skimming the surface, it becomes clear, that we are our biggest problem.

What does it look like? This is what it looks like. Ugly: Within and without.

High fashion brands like Dolce and Gabbana only add to the fad(ification) of Rape and Subservience. They go to great lengths to make it look sexy and sellable.



L Romal M Singh is a freelance-writer based out of Mumbai. While he’s not capering around as a masked vigilante fighting for the rights of human beings (in general), he travels extensively, sings and makes ‘consensual’ sweet-sweet love to willing boys.