chapter  6
13 Pages

Loving Well: Homosexuality and Utopian Thought in Post/Colonial India

In the otherwise monumental Gay and Ltsbitm Liwary Heritage, edited by Claude Summers, the weak constitution of a dangerously slim entry on South Asia is attributed to the ill effects of a puritanical tradition. The voluminous literature of ancient and medieval India, we are told, is consistently "silent on the subject of homosexuality," a reticence that "perhaps reftects the generally conservative mores of the people ... 1

Where, once, the redoubtable Katherine Mayo gleaned from India a catalog of sexual irregularities, severely in need of civilizational cleansing, Summers laments the reverse-a nation fraught with repression and piety, compelling its homosexual refugees to seek amnesty in other, more sexually enlightened cultures, "either the United States or Britain-countries that have well established gay and lesbian communities with a tradition of organized resistance-and therefore have greater sexual and artistic freedom. "2 To "come out; in other words, is to "go out"; a process that requires the emotionally hazardous barter of a cultural heritage for a sexual community. Is this necessary, or true?