Ik likes the colour pink. Now I know that in today’s gender sensitive world, where real men also sometimes wear pink and not just the metrosexuals and men who like other men, it is not necessarily a bad thing. But having grown up in the seventies, when real men prided themselves in smoking Charminar cigarettes without filters and could not be seen within a million miles of the colour pink, vestiges of clearly drawn gender lines still remain in my politically correct sanitized mind. In all honesty, his declaration threw me off a little. What would that mean, knowing what we know today about homosexuality not being a choice? Does it mean he is predisposed to liking his gender?
Or did I have too much junk information in my brain which I was using to over analyse the situation? Junk research fills up the cyberspace now. Men apparently are more attracted to the length of a woman’s arms rather than her face or cleavage. In a world where poverty reigns supreme, this is where we choose to allocate our resources!!!
My gay friends assured me I was probably thinking too much. Pink is a pretty colour and a child was attracted to it and would I please stop loading my brain with useless information? I desisted from analysing the situation further, but cracked opened my mind’s door to allow for the possibility that one day I might have to be open the door wider.
Ik me and my father were watching television on day when along came an advertisement for Barbie dolls. All pink and pretty. With two little pretty girls also pink and pretty. Ik was clearly attracted. His excitement shining through, he told me, Mamma, dolly. I told him, “do you want to play with dollies?”. He seemed non-committal, trying to gauge whether I approved. All my years of gender training notwithstanding, I heard myself saying, “but girlies play with dollies!!” Ik immediately changed his tune. “No I don’t want to play with dollies”.
Thankfully conscious self-training took over before Ik stopped nodding his head. Of course its ok to play with dollies. Grown men play with action figures all the time. Why would Ik stop himself from just because these ones were pink and blond? Perpetuating stereotypes needed to stop and what better place to start than with one’s own child?
“Do you like playing with dollies, Ik?” Sensing approval, the child’s face lit up. He looked at me with puppy dog eyes, yearning approval. My heart melted into his smile. “Of course you can play with dollies Ik. And there is a slight probability you might be gay, but I am ok with that!!”
I was talking aloud to myself, really. But my 5-year-old had his own take away from that. Jumping up and down, he told my father, “grandpa, I am going to play with dollies and I will be gay and my mom said its ok”. My father visibly reeled. 70 years of political incorrectness behind him, he was unable to bring in an element of jest in his voice when he told my son, “Don’t say that. The police will come and take you away”.
Until recently, homosexuality was still a criminal offence in India as per laws laid down in the nineteenth century. It has existed in all forms in our society since times immemorial, but we chose to turn a blind eye to the obvious and castigated people for being different. Section 377, which penalized sexual activity “against the order of nature”, was finally repealed in 2009, much to the joy of gender activists and the chagrin of the moral police.
My father never cared too much for political correctness, but he cared for correctness. Factual, that is. I gently corrected him. Section 377 has been repealed. He understood and stepped back to allow Ik to dance into the blurred gender lines.