Where do bachelors live?

It’s fascinating how something as beloved as a male child turns into something so threatening to our society as an adult unmarried individual. More than having 24 hour electricity and water supply, a point of immense pride for the landlords is ‘no bachelors’. It seems to be a great achievement for landlords to have warded off the ominous presence of bachelors.
House rentals might be one of the few places where single women have it easier. Perhaps it’s because people think they may turn the house into a minor disaster area, having had no previous contact with chores, especially the ones related to the kitchen area. Perhaps it’s because they may turn the home into a drugs-alcohol-orgy sanctuary, because that’s what young people do. Besides, its much easier to judge and publicly shame the females. Maybe landlords are afraid bachelors may start a drug racket. Or worse, have a gay party. I mean, there are only that many gay parties the police can crash per night.
Being married seems to be the best quality that tenants can have. That makes sense, because proof of having gone through the several wedding ceremonies is a true mark of patience and tolerance. This is one of the reasons an organisation like ISIS cannot survive in India. All their members would give in to the Auntyji pressure group and get hitched.

Even though there are better ways to judge the character of a potential tenant (such as non-ironically retweeting Kamaal R Khan), we choose to pick bachelorhood as the guiding stone. But you can see how people may think bachelors are evil satanic beings. In fact, some of us only stopped judging Narendra Modi’s intentions after we found out about his secret wife. Him ignoring the existence of his wife made the common man identify with him more than any other politician.
It’s wonderful how our society has come up with a universal solution to all your problems: get married. Marriage may not solve anything, but at least you can pretend to laugh at the same husband-wife forwarded jokes like everyone else.


A Place To Call Home

This article was published online on the website of Gaylaxy magazine (Link: http://www.gaylaxymag.com/articles/current-affairs/a-place-to-call-home/)

Twelve years ago, Sachin Jain was a young gay man in Mumbai who wanted a place to live. It was his first time living away from his family. Apart from the difficulties that a paying guest faces in Mumbai, Sachin had to face an additional one of homophobia. “A snoopy neighbour would actually peek into my living room through the peephole on the door, and once I peeped right back! As I talked to gay and lesbian friends who also rented, I heard stories about hostile housing societies and bigoted straight room-mates,” he says.

Sachin could not feel free in his own house; he did not feel comfortable inviting his friends or partner over. He felt the need to hide his belongings or keep them locked up at all times. “The worst thing was the necessity to hide oneself in the closet, or become this sex-less, sexuality-less being languishing in the shadows of don’t ask – don’t tell,” he recalls.

Within four months, Sachin moved out of the place. He knew then that he did not want loneliness. This is what pushed him to establish Gay Housing Assistance Resource, or GHAR in the year 2000.  “I remember in the initial years of GHAR, Sopan, a friend, gave me a ceramic house as a gift with “Ye tera GHAR” written on the bottom – I have kept it with me for over a decade!” he reminisces.

GHAR faced a few glitches before it could establish its own ground. Guised and direct personal advertisements for sex were one of the nuisances. Even with genuine advertisements, the group did not have enough member support to be able to help each other out.

Even in developed metropolitan cities in India, acceptance of openly homosexual people, especially in residential complexes is to be achieved. The society by and large has opened up to acknowledge LGBT rights, but is not liberal enough to accept homosexuals living within their vicinity. This is changing, slowly but surely. GHAR has been pretty much left to its own devices. More and more people coming out of the closet has surely helped, but the attitudes of the authorities have been beneficial in making the atmosphere a lot friendlier towards the LGBT and GHAR.

Apart from social networking and changing attitudes, Sachin’s patience and perseverance has been vital in the success of GHAR. “Humour is the best way to cope with it. Share your stories, have a laugh and move on. Also, getting in touch with the queer community from the developing world – knowing that there are countries with the death penalty for being gay, where activists are holding pride parades nevertheless – is also inspiring.”

GHAR now provides housing assistance to people in six Indian cities as well as USA and Canada. The facebook debut of GHAR in 2012 has skyrocketed, with 600 new members and 30 new posts. To find a place on GHAR is simple enough. After sending a request to join the Facebook group called G.H.A.R. (Gay Housing Assistance Resource), you will be added to the group by an administrative member. You can then post your advertisement for letting or renting by creating a post. The group also suggests estate agents and LGBT-friendly property websites. Searching for LGBT housemates and emergency asylum are two outstanding features of GHAR.

Sachin feels that there was a noted difference in people’s attitudes after the decriminalization of homosexuality in 2009. He says, “The LGBT Facebook generation is much more assertive and confident about itself.” The ability to put up  pictures on this social platform has made it far easier for people to find a home that suits their needs.

Waiter, there’s a rainbow in my world

You must have heard all of these pathetic arguments based on shaky grounds such as rationality before. But since you won’t stop thrusting your homophobia in my face, I feel the need to express my grievance in this blog that no one is going to read anyway.

If you think it’s a disorder, it’s not. What makes you think you are more equipped as a hetersosexual? Is the capacity to contribute to the population explosion the only legitimate reason a couple should be together?

If you think that ‘they’ don’t come from ‘good’ families like yours, that is only because the people in your godsent family who refuse to acknowledge they are gay or haven’t realised it yet. Maybe you’re married to one who, unlike Carol from Friends, is never going to realise that.

Then there are those of you think that a great guy or girl is a ‘waste’ because he or she is gay.  Such a pity that you can’t objectify someone because that person is categorically not interested in you.
As for those who are afraid that the happiness of their child, family and the world is threatened by it – well done on coming up with that argument. Celebrate your ignorance by imposing it on everyone around you.
Well, where are you going to learn about the LGBT community anyway? From Sri Devi in English Vinglish, who says “wo log bhi insan hote hai” or from Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham in Dostana being perverts and playing the gay card to live with a girl they both want. And of course, any community that doesn’t protest because they were misrepresented in Bollywood doesn’t deserve the grace of your awareness.
I kid of course. Pray hard enough and people will get all these ridiculous ideas such as being themselves out of their heads.