While Bombay and Bangalore seem to have woken up to the Gay revolution, Hyderabad seems to be lagging behind. Vinny lists out probable reasons and suggests ways of bridging this divide of acceptance. Who knows hamara Hyderabad might just be on its way to being called GAYdarabad!
My city, Hyderabad, has transformed from a sleepy town to a bustling metropolis in the last few years. Although colourful, this city’s identity with the people of the rainbow community seems to be a hidden secret. Yes, it does have people who are queer, like any other city. However, the city dwellers are ignorant and need to know that we are also part of the city and live among them.
The queer community in Hyderabad has seen a drastic change in the last two decades. It has moved from the confines of a park to the dim lit ambience of a club. It has moved from ‘a one-night-stand attitude’ to ‘come let’s be friends with benefits’ or just friends, otherwise as well. A chai in Charminar might not yet be passé but you now find sprightly lads on Eat Street strutting around.
One of my friends recollects the park days and says that the community was much smaller then because people were mostly not aware of each other’s existence. Also, people who visited the park were those who had heard about it from others who they already knew. Now, with the advent of social networking sites, the presence of the community is gaining visibility. It’s bringing in people from all walks of life to a common place where they can get whatever they seek or desire. Now a days, an Aadab-arz-hai from a stranger in Public Gardens is no longer an innocent greeting for everyone realises the kind of mischief it hints at.
Media and the recent amendment of Section 377 by the Delhi High Court has brought the community into the limelight and the otherwise ignorant city dweller talks about their existence openly. A raucous debate is piercing the hush of silence. Does it really matter to them that we exist? Do they really care about what we do? Will the pattern of reactive behaviour now change?
I love my city and I want my city to have an open culture like Mumbai (Bombay). Mumbai: why do we feel an exuberant freedom when we hear that name? It is the gay capital of our country. One of India’s most crowded cities, Mumbai, gives its people the required space that is hard to find here in conservative Hyderabad. This exuberance and mindset of the people prompts them to proclaim it ‘BomGAY’. My pal from the park days in public gardens recollects a time when there were a few people who formed groups like ‘Saathi’ where gay themed movies were screened in an open theatre. As time went by, they moved on and have left a legacy in the minds of those selected few. I want the queer community in Hyderabad to start something on those lines again. The homosexual undercurrent of the Nawabs’ pining for ‘pubescent boys with slender waists’ tells us that we’ve always been there and done that in Hyderabad.
My city will be truly cosmopolitan when the city knows that we are a part of it. What a city does to its people reflects a city’s culture. Our existence cannot be ignored anymore. More gay people are now negotiating with their families about their Self and their choices, which define their personhood and life. If you are curious about who we are, my word of advice would be to just talk to us with an open mind rather than believing whatever else you might hear. I want my city to know that we are here and we are going to do what we set out to do with your support and extended hand.
The Hyderabadis need time to know and understand about the community, but they also need to break those pre-conceived notions about the community. The traditional gender and sexual roles must be reinterpreted in light of how we understand ourselves. Men can have sex with men. Women can have sex with women. Our essential individuality does not change.
Wakeup Hyderabad, learn about us. If Bombay is known as ‘BomGAY’ and Banglore as ‘BanGAYlore in popular Queer culture, then isn’t it time that Hyderabad comes to be known as ‘GAYdarabad’. Together we can make this city, a more accepting place to live in.
Vinny is seldom successful with the experiments on his hair. At present he is collecting every naya paisa to go bungee jumping over the Hoover Dam on the Colorado.