Monday, July 27, 2009

'Yuva' Dares To Break Open The Closet

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Yuva Cover

No people, it's not the cover of a magazine targeted towards the gays or not of one which is published from a western nation (or not even a mock-up cover that I designed, for that matter), but that of one which is rapidly becoming popular among the youth of India. Yuva, with the tag, "The Magazine For Young India", have put the topic of homosexuality as the cover story in their latest issue. This is a very daring attempt, I must say, and that too for a mainstream magazine which is just three months old (the new format.) But even more daring is their homoerotic cover that shows a guy placing his hand over another one’s crotch.

The cover story throws light on the hardships faced by gay men and lesbians in India, their self-realizations about being gay, their experiences on coming out, the reaction they got from their parents and how the overthrowing of section 377 can bring a better change. It was heartening to read about a father and mother who, despite being religious and coming from a conservative background, helped their gay son to come out and encouraged him to bring his boyfriend to home. The article carries the voice of people from various fields raising their opinions on the need for putting anti-discrimination laws at public and workplaces, laws against homophobia, rights to fight against forced marriages, and the fight for gay marriage, inheritance laws and adoption rights. The poll conducted by Yuva reveals that 79% men and 86% women have no objection for the legal sanctioning of same-sex marriage. Yuva has listed a bunch of helplines for those who wish to come in terms with their homosexuality and also suggests a string of gay and lesbian movies to check out, gives a peek into the country’s popular gay hangouts without actually 'outing' them and enlightens us with a section on gay lexicon, in which some of them, I admit, even I was not aware of!

Yuva’s message to the young India is loud and clear - It’s about time that we all woke up, faced the reality and accepted this 'sweet' truth that India is no exception when it comes to people being gay. Even if the older group doesn’t get it, I’m sure the generation that is coming up and the future ones will embrace this fact of life and will be more tolerant and understanding towards the LGBT community. Also it is my wish that the division of straight and gay communities becomes blurred as years pass by.

CSB had recommended Yuva to its readers earlier this month and this could be the only magazine in India for the youth that is not just centered on fashion and lifestyle. Executive Editor, Diane Karen Pereira said during one of the pre-launch interviews, "The market has no such magazine that caters to the youth's needs. There are several lifestyle magazines, but there is no such magazine that can raise issues concerning the youth, who can provide the young reader Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Yuva Careerwith the information that he or she can use, who can tackle the issues and questions that are on top of the mind of todays young."

Indeed, they cover a spectrum of youth-centric topics. I reckon, especially their career section would be a lifesaver for many young Indians helping them to think and choose wisely when opting for courses and from where to pursue.

So head to the newsstands folks! This fortnight's issue is one which you definitely don't want to miss! I'm now eagerly waiting for their next issue to come out where they would be publishing responses from the readers (shoot emails to them, thank them!) and I feel we could also get to read about Bani, the cool MTV Wassup babe!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

CSB Promotion: Onir's Abhimanyu

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Abhimanyu Poster

In India, one out of every five girls and one out of every ten boys face some form of abuse.
When you hear such statistics, you wonder about the people whom you have come across in life – were they too one among these victims? And isn’t it possible that a child is being abused right now? Yes, at this moment, when you are reading this!


The only solution I see for preventing such exploitation from happening is to help the children to help themselves. Parents should tell their children when they are as young as 5 years old, that they should be informed when an uncle or aunt tries or suggests to do something inappropriate with them. The young ones may not understand what and why it is being told time after time, but then it will cause a spark in them the moment that ugly face gets unveiled. And when they come running to you into your arms, it is your responsibility to believe them, stand by them, and disconnect the other person entirely from your life. That other person could be your sibling, your best friend, your neighbour, your driver, your domestic help, your priest - anyone whom you thought your child would be safe to be with. Because there is nothing more wrong that could happen in your world when your child’s innocence is being taken advantage of.

Abhimanyu is the story of a child abuse survivor inspired by the true story of Harish Iyer and his struggle to reclaim his own shattered identity after 11 long years of abuse.

Email subscribers will have to visit the blog site to watch the following video.

Director Onir Anirban (My Brother Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal and Sorry Bhai) and Anticlock Films wish to tackle important issues ignored by the mainstream Indian cinema and expects your (monetary contributions or otherwise) support to realize this goal.

Abhimanyu is one of the five short films that Onir is writing and directing. Omar will be a film that portrays the nexus between the police and male sex workers to harass gay men using article 377. Afia will tell the story of a girl working in an NGO discovering the misappropriation of funds and her entire life changes as she realizes how everyone is involved. In Megha, we will see a Kashmiri Pandit woman going back to Kashmir after 20 years and confronting her past – a past of losing trust and faith in humanity, a past that saw three lakh Kashmiri Hindus leaving Kashmir. Set In Kolkatta, Rudra will explore the Maoist conflict of ideology between a father and son.

"These topics are too important to let slide into the shadows," says Onir. For Anticlock Films, this is a movement towards cinema that has content and that entertains by way of enriching oneself.

To contribute money and read the deal, please visit the blogs of the respective films:


Abhimanyu - http://iamabhimanyu.blogspot.com/ [Facebook]
Omar - http://omarthefilm.blogspot.com/ [Facebook]
Afia - http://iamafia.blogspot.com/ [Facebook]
Megha - http://iammegha.blogspot.com/ *Under Construction*
Rudra - http://rudrathefilm.blogspot.com/ *Under Construction*

Each film lasting 20 minutes will be released for educational/awareness/festival purposes and eventually all the five short films will be compiled into one release for the general audience.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

The New Face Of Indian Homophobia

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Stop Homophobia

We condemned Aussies when they unleashed racial attacks on Indians. We gasped in horror when we saw how inhumanely the assailers had brought injuries on the victims. Now what do we have to say when Indians themselves are proving that they are no different from those Aussie racists. Last week in Delhi, an openly homosexual man was slashed by a guy representing a religious group, in front of everyone at a gay party. (You can read the write up of the victim’s partner here.) Even though homophobia was rampant in Indian society, the recent advancements in the gay rights movement has angered many and in turn raised this hatred to an entirely new level. (Finally matching up to US standards, if I may say.)

While the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalizing gay sex between consenting adults garnered widespread positive response from within India and outside, it felt like a huge blow for a certain group who wishes to stay deaf and blind in the name of religion. This group tries hard to forget the age-old saying, "Live and let live." They make themselves believe that every nuisance they stimulate is justifiable if it is for a religious cause. And I’m afraid this could just be the beginning, and assault on homosexuals could become Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Homophobia? Now That's A Choice!a trend for them to get media publicity and to spit their venomous thoughts. (Just like how a religious gang bashed women reasoning that the gals were violating traditional Indian norms. This group also created unnecessary hysteria over Valentine's Day.) Therefore all openly homosexuals in India should be alert.

Harish Iyer, one of the leading gay voices from Mumbai advices, "Keep someone informed when we travel to any place on a date or even otherwise. Keep SOS numbers (friends/parents/siblings etc.) on speed dial and train your mind for quick reflexes under the event of an attack. And at least for sometime don’t engage in PDA (public display of affection), even if the straight people do."

Weren't religions born to unite people and to bring love and compassion in us? Funny that it is now doing the exact opposite!

And as if religions were not enough, now yoga (coz every Tom, Dick and Harry is going after religion, it's time to try something new!) is used to substantiate the opinions terming that homosexuality is a disease and purely borrowed from western culture. While most of us know how ridiculous those statements are, this is just yet another application of, "Strike while the iron is hot." Anyone else wants to tell the world that we are perverts and make media appearances? Please do. Instant fame guaranteed coz our newspapers and TV channels are so dying to get your 'bites'.

We have every reason to rejoice on finally becoming non-criminals in the eyes of law. But the Delhi High Court has acknowledged our right only due to the continual and persistent efforts of Naz Foundation. They submitted the petition in 2001 and they were fighting a legal battle for eight long years to finally bring the judgement in our favour. Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider a petition seeking to repeal the High Court’s ruling, Naz Foundation is gearing up for the next battle. Let's hope and pray that the Supreme Court will uphold the High Court's decision.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Rainbow Eye

Even if the law changes, the mindset of the people will not change overnight. For this to happen, we need the support of the straight community as well.

Blogosphere is a great medium to enlighten the public. Jo, even though straight, is always man enough to write about issues faced by gays in his blog whenever there happens an incident affecting homosexuals. He had also shared to his readers about the days when he and his friends used to make fun of homosexuals, what all misconceptions he had about gays, and finally realizing how wrong he was. (You can read his post here.)

The friends I came out to, are a huge support not just for me, but for the gay community as well. Phoebe and her group of friends have discussions about homosexuality in their college.

Monica tries to correct the false believes of her roommates. They were shocked when they learnt that she reads this blog and that she has a gay friend. They began to warn her about how dangerous gays are and how one should really be careful when befriending them. And these words are coming from the so-called educated IT professionals of the 21st century, residing in one of the Indian metropolitan cities.

And there is this another friend, who recently became aware of my sexual orientation. She was uber-excited hearing the Delhi High Court’s judgement. Later when I chatted with her, her words really touched me. "You are probably the only reason why I’m not against it (decriminalization of homosexuality)." She said, "I don’t think you are lying when you say you like a guy. So it’s not some mentally distorted thing, it is real. And to discriminate is like being a sexual racist."

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Homophobia - Insecurity about being heterosexual


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Sunday, July 12, 2009

CSB Poll: Invitations Of A Different Kind

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess

On my pursuit of finding good company through internet, I have often got invites from straight dudes and married men to bed with them. For the straights and the married who don't mind getting carnal pleasure from another male, a quickie with gays could be the ultimate no strings attached deal for unleashing their wildest and craziest sexual fantasies. Also considering the fact that India is a country where 85 percent of gays are married (to women), it is no surprising that the married outnumber the straights when it comes to giving out such invitations.

So here comes the second poll from CSB which poses four five situations. You are not required to respond to all the four five. If you are a straight guy (and single), the first situation is for you. If you are a married male (regardless of your sexual orientation), please consider the second situation. If you are a married male (and straight), please consider the second situation. If you are a married male (but gay or bi), please consider the third situation. And finally, if you are gay (or bi), please mark your option for the last two situations.

Situation 1


Situation 2


Situation 3


Situation 4


Situation 5

CSB subscribers reading this post from feed readers and inboxes will have to visit the blog site to access the polls. As usual, the results are not made public for the time being, but will be unveiled in a future post.


Update - Monday, July 13, 2009:
The earlier situation 2 which dealt with married men is now split to situation 2 and situation 3 to consider their sexual orientation.

Update - Monday, September 07, 2009:
The poll is closed. The results will be out soon!

Update - Saturday, September 12, 2009:
The poll results are unveiled.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Have You Got Your Dose Of Samminess?

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Breaking News: A month thus goes by where CSB didn't see any new post, first time ever since its inception!

Haha, I know I'm announcing it as if it is some commendable achievement. Honestly speaking, I wanted at least one post to be up during June. Sadly, that didn't happen. And now I feel like I lost the touch to blog. Don't worry, this is not a good-bye post even though I did see a possibility of that happening. But you know what? I love blogging too damn much to do something terrible like that. Also I don't want my readers to realize how serene their life could be if they did not have their "irregular dose of samminess" (as Whippy puts it. :P)

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Kerry Degman - Armani Exchange

At last I'm moving out from my city.. Yes! Finally! If you had been following (stalking) my blog for quite long, you would know how much I wanted something like this to come about. And I'm gonna be based in one of the happening metros of India - just what the doctor prescribed for spicing up my unfabulous social life. But as they say, I can't have the cake and eat it too. What I would be sacrificing are the luxury and the privacy that I am so used with at home. But then if it gets compensated with oodles of mind-blowing sex, I don't mind.

Naah! Just kidding! :D

Anyway, I should find some good internet cafes to satiate my online escapades. I recently discovered how convenient and feasible it is to post on twitter from mobile and the best part is I don't have to rely on the cafes.

I'm sure by now all must have heard about the recent Delhi High Court's judgement to amend Section 377 of the IPC and decriminalize private consensual sex between adults of the same sex. Even though the new rule cannot be implemented immediately, (coz the parliament now needs to take decision to amend the law and we can also expect religious fanatics and the so-called Indian-culture-saviours moving to the Supreme Court to revoke the High Court's judgement) with the debates and discussions happening in news channels and the editorials and features coming in newspapers and magazines, Indians are exposed to the topic of homosexuality like never before.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Bengaluru Pride 2009
A shot from gay pride parade at Bengaluru on 28th June, 2009.
Photo credit: Lighttripper

By the way, India also gets a new national gay and lesbian magazine. Pink Pages is an online magazine which is free to subscribe. Without sounding too swellheaded, lemme also add that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to design the logo as well as the cover for this magazine. I thank the Editor-In-Chief of Pink Pages, Nipun Goyal for motivating and pushing, and for having complete faith in me. For those who haven't heard about Nipun, he is a writer and gay activist from India and it was he who wrote the article,
"Love Me For Who I Am", which appeared last year in The Times Of India. He also maintains a blog called Rainbow Rays. Head over to http://www.pink-pages.co.in/ for the very first issue of Pink Pages!

Crazy Sam's Bloginess: Pink Pages Cover

From this month's Men's Health India: The NGO Humsafar Trust says the number of gays, lesbians and transgenders in India is close to 70 million.

Sam recommends: Check out the latest entry into print magazines targeted towards young India, Yuva - a fortnightly. You can also read the previous issues at their site.

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