Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


6 June 2018

Rohit Dasgupta - No Femmes and Vernaculars: Effeminophobia and Class-ed Desires in Digital Queer India

Presented By Rohit Dasgupta, Loughborough University London
  • 1:00-2:00 pm CRCC Seminar Series
  • CC1.10 James France Building

About this event

Since the early 2000’s there has been an emergent alignment of non-western queer cultures in countries such as India with a global queer assimilation. One of the configurations of this global queering has been configuring the queer man as ‘normative’ respectable masculine subjects. This has given rise to a new lexicon within queer culture where ‘straight acting’ and being able to pass off as heterosexual is packaged as a desirable subject position. This has led to gay men 'playing up' to their masculinity and dispelling any notion of femininity in their behaviour.

In this presentation based on two years field work in Kolkata, New Delhi and Barasat and virtual ethnography over three digital sites (Facebook, Planet Romeo and Grindr) I shall explore the ways in which effeminate subject positions are derided within online queer spaces in India (particularly kothi men). In doing so I would like to demonstrate two important points. Firstly, that contemporary gay politics in India (as elsewhere) has taken a homonormative position, which in its desire to conform to mainstream culture (privileging gender normativity), subjectively discriminates against positions that are deemed 'too transgressive'. The concept of 'too transgressive' is something I will arrive at during the course of this paper.

The second point I seek to make, builds up on my previous (Dasgupta, 2014, 2015) and current (Dasgupta, 2017) work– that of critiquing the community and utopic discourse of online queer spaces, which, as I shall demonstrate here, thrives on difference and discrimination rather than commonality.