Political correctness is a two-way street on which no one can expect a smooth ride all the time. For instance, many members of civil society particularly those from the gay community have expressed outrage at certain wisecracks circulating on social networking sites following the blazing knock by RCB’s Chris Gayle in the IPL match against PWI on Tuesday.
One of the more distasteful jokes went, “When a man sc***s another man he is gay, but when a man sc***s 11 other men he is Gayle.” This didn’t go down too well with LGBT people, who made their displeasure known online and even managed to get it stripped off one of the pages on Facebook, while the administrator published an apology.
This particular quip had gone viral on social networking sites and soon caught the eyes of many, including Harrish Iyer who refers to himself as an ‘Equal Rights Activist’. He posted the one-liner on Facebook, adding, “Sudden spurt of jokes about homosexuals is in real bad taste…I don’t find it humorous and it’s quite sickening.”
When contacted by
MiD DAY, Iyer said, “I am scared to even imagine, what would have been the reaction of people if someone wrote, ‘If a man rapes one girl he is a man. If he rapes 11 girls he is alpha male.’ But just change the gender of the victim and this will be perceived as funny. Rape is a reality for all sexes. I demand that the gender of the victim/survivor be made neutral.”
The basic apprehension one of the other activists articulated was that, people opposing the reading down of section 377 of the IPC claim that this would lead to rape of children and would encourage paedophiles. Pallav Patankar, one of the organisers of Queer Azadi March, an annual rally of the LGBT community, claimed, “Such jokes stereotype the gay community as rapists.
Already people opposing the reading down of section 377 are raising the same point; this would boost their claims. Also, in today’s India where rape is such a sensitive word, the usage of it to describe one whole community is offensive and the people making such wisecracks should refrain from such absurdity that would hurt someone’s sentiments.”
Patankar claims that if not objected to, such a joke associated with cricket that’s like a religion in the country would be accepted as a norm and would be perceived by several members of society as fact. Referring to the Justice Verma committee report, Iyer claims there are several citations that the LGBT community should be treated at par with other members of society. “I think the greatest tribute to Justice Verma would be to implement his report in totality.
We live in a highly perverse society. It is a known fact that men, transgender persons and other sexes get raped too. India is a democratic country, and there can’t be double standards - if women getting raped is humourless, men being sexually assaulted can’t be funny,” Iyer said.
Setting the record straight
Excerpts from the report of Justice Verma: We do notice that from the words of the said Bill, there is a recognition that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual persons are endowed with the same inalienable rights and are entitled to the same protection as all human beings and special provisions have been sought to be made to protect them from abuse and violation of their human rights including torture, rape and murder.