The trope of the gay bestfriend is a painful reminder of the constant alienation of the queer community, especially on days like Valentine’s Day when queer baiting temporarily peaks. Read on for a personal piece on the same.

Valentine’s Day sucks. Not because I am single and perpetually heartbroken. But because I am gay. But then as per normative standards of viewing gayness I am not visibly queer enough for most folks. I don’t colour my hair or sport multiple piercings and there are no rainbow motifs around my social media handles (although not going to deny the presence of veiled hints for those wishing to look really hard). My wrist isn’t limp (you have childhood trauma to thank for that) and my clothes are more indie than unicorn dazzle. And hence the presence of women around me becomes a point of deep intrigue for those viewing me from afar.

Valentine’s Day sucks because being the gay best friend is tiring. We live in a world where the comfort of intimacy is only supposed to be sought in engaging in intercourse with a stranger you met on an app you downloaded two hours ago because you were drunk on your fifth shot at a friend’s housewarming party. Any sort of intimacy, specially of a physical nature, must be relegated to the realm of sexual because people in today’s world have simply forgotten the peace that is to be had in the romance of friendship.

Valentine’s Day sucks because a girl hanging out with a girl in a park is a sight for people to turn around and stare and engage in conjecture. See how they are leaning in pretending to talk? Whispers that follow you to the corner of cafes where over cups of hazelnut latte one can hear admonishing comments on grazing fingers and hands that seek to touch and put the arms as an expression of joy and happiness. There is no respite to be found in the conclusion that friendships are a romance of their own kind. To love someone so deeply and completely so as to forsake the expectations of any physical or carnal fulfilment of that love is to truly be in the presence of a love that is supreme and essentially fulfilling.

Valentine’s Day sucks because cafes across the city offer discounts on love that can be capitalised. It isn’t enough anymore for Yash Raj to earn millions when Rahul promises to love Nisha for the rest of his life while a thousand people cry in the darkness of the cinema theatre. Love must be sold tangible – through discounts and offers inscribed on menu cards and shopping banners. But these aren’t all that comes our way. Extra offers are deliciously reserved if you are queer and can bring with yourself a same-sex lover because your love is just a means to fuel the system that encashes the most fundamental and necessary of all human emotions.

Valentine’s Day sucks because it is painfully lonely to be the one man in your nearby vicinity who is proud enough to be out there – only to become a transit point for the rite of passage sexual awakening of all the queer closeted men around you. Men who use you precisely like a transit point, to never turn back and look upon once the transition is undisturbed and over with.

Valentine’s Day sucks because to be the gay best friend is to beg people to realise that you are more than just a Gucci handbag for people to sling onto their arms and strut around – claiming your space for their wish-fulfiment fantasies. You are more than an accessory to adorn the sorry lives of people, you are more than just the reductive heternormative gaze that breaks and splits you down to your tiniest atoms and you are more than your community which makes you guilty of always just not being enough.

Valentine’s Day sucks because people around you fail to realise that beneath all your pointed laughter and printed linens, very few people understand – looking at the million dazzling Valentine Day adverts – that the difference between alone and lonely shall perhaps always remain lost in translation.

 Anwesh Banerjee

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Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2019 witnessed a colourful celebration of love and inclusiveness, on Barakhamba Road. The march was also led against the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019. 

24th November, 2019 witnessed the famed Delhi Queer Pride on Barakhamba Road. The pride had dual motives this year, to celebrate love and inclusivity as well as protest against the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, commonly called the Trans Bill. 

The march began from the intersection of Tolstoy Marg and Barakhamba Road till Janpath, and went even further. The entire road was lit up with rainbow coloured balloons, pride flags, and high-spirited people. 

Posters against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, the allegedly homophobic government, and depicting the struggles of the community were seen in abundance.

In a majority of states across our country, LGBTQIA+ rights and dignity are not fully protected by the law, and, in fact, there are fierce movements that seek to oppress and marginalise them and their social relationships. One such movement, being the Trans Bill. 

For many LGBT+ people, Pride is the one time of the year when they can be out and proud about who they are, and whom they love. It’s the one time of year that they can stand boldly in the streets with other queer individuals, proclaiming that “we are fully human”, and deserve to be celebrated and uplifted just like everyone else. Even in cities that are seen as LGBT+ friendly, it is still an incredibly subversive experience to get to march in parades or attend festivals where hundreds upon hundreds of LGBT+ people are letting their lights shine before all people without fear. Pride is often the beginning of the process of healing from the trauma inflicted on us by our heteronormative, patriarchal society.

A student from University of Delhi (DU) under the conditions of anonymity said, “Pride is the time where I can take out my mom’s saree and try it, not behind my bedroom’s closed door but out in the open in the streets, and be loved for it.”

The streets witnessed various scintillating performances on the beats of the dhol and drums playing. The parade was echoing with slogans like “Pyaar karne ki azadi, Modi se azadi” and “Jai Bheem”.

The major concern of the pride was to raise awareness against the resistance being faced by one part of the LGBTQIA+ community due to the Trans Bill. 

India’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, contradicts the rights and protections laid out in the country’s supreme court’s NALSA verdict of 2014. It also upholds the humiliating process of submitting an application to District Magistrate for a legal recognition of one’s transgender identity, which means to first register as a transgender, then submit proof of surgery to get identification as male or female. The bill also says that sexual violence against a trans persons will be subjected to a  punishment from 6 months to 2 years, in comparison to 7 years crimes against heterosexual women. It also rejects reservation and affirmative action for trans, intersex and gender nonconforming people in health, education and employment.

Student unions like All India Student Association (AISA) were also seen being part of the parade along with students from all over DU and other universities. 

However, the Pride didn’t only see participation from one age group. People from all walks of life had come together for pride, from school children to middle-aged men to the elderly. 

Delhi Queer Pride is a time where everyone steps out of the shadows and declares that they will no longer be forced to suppress their truest selves because of the heterosexual fragility and fear. 

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat

Chhavi Bahmba 

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Dear Amma, I’m gay, and I recently started dating a classmate. We plan on having sex, but I feel scared and insecure. He is my first boyfriend, and I don’t want anything to go wrong while we have sex. Help me, Amma!
Dear Idli, congratulations on coming out to the world.

Amma knows that it is a big step which requires loads and loads of courage. I am glad you have embraced your identity, vada. Munchkin, I want you to know that sexuality is fluid. You have an ocean that awaits you, there is so much about sexuality and desire that you will explore. It will be a beautiful journey – there will be times where you will get hurt, your expectations might not be met, you might even embarrass yourself in front of your partner, but my appam, it is how you will grow.

You will learn what you like, and don’t like, through these experiences. Don’t restrain yourself. The first time can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’. Now, Idli, always use condoms if you’re hooking up with a person with a penis, and dental dams if it is a person with a vagina. Make sure you use loads and loads of lube if you’re planning on penetration.
Ask your partner what they like and don’t like. Lay down your boundaries, use safe-words. Your Amma is telling you, consent is sexy! Ask your partner if they like what you are doing. You never know where foreplay could lead you, and if you plan on exploring something a little kinkier, tell them about it! Munchkin, remember sexual health is important, too. Always pee after sex to prevent the risk of getting urinary tract infections and get tested every three months for sexually transmitted diseases.

While Amma understands that it might be hard to find queer-friendly doctors, but please get tested for HIV-AIDS as well, and ask about the HPV vaccine. Remember, my vada, sex is what you define it as, not how the world defines it for you. Now go out and get it!
(Write to Sex Amma at [email protected] to get all your queries about sex answered.)

Sex Amma

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Dear Dad answers a weirdly unexpected question, “What if your Father was gay?” Read on to find out more.

The movie comes to its objective point very quickly. Its protagonist, a man in his mid-thirties with a teenage son, a little daughter and a facade of a happy family is gay. He has been living a lie for years, closeted and pretending to conform to societal expectations, and the truth fumbles out of him during a road trip with his son.

Debutant director Tanuj Bhramar goes with this unprecedented story where most film makers would dare not. It is a father-son-bonding-on-a-road-trip trope used in an unconventional way.

They meet new people, explore new ideas, travel to picturesque locations, and visit childhood homes. With an impending secret blossoming, that Shivam’s beloved father Nitin is gay, and has finally decided to come out of the closet after living half his life pretending to be someone else, the narrative rushes with emotions.

The story ventures into exploring the idea of shame; how the supposedly modern teenage son cannot digest that his father identifies with the LGBTQ+ community. It takes him the whole journey to realise that his father’s true sexuality does not make him (Nitin) a different person. He is still the same, just a lot happier and comfortable in revealing to the world an essential truth about himself.

The best part is that the film doesn’t focus on questions like ‘why now?’, rather it highlights the reactions and changes in the relationship dynamics this revelation brings about. The interaction between Nitin and his paralysed old father at his childhood home is equal parts emotional and rational.

Arvind Swamy’s performance gives a heart-soaring touch to make Nitin’s character more real and sincere. His trials, tribulations, apprehensions and eventual relief are portrayed in a soft manner by Swamy which brings about a sense of sincerity into the story.

The film is not perfect, it tests your patience at parts and seems too slow, but it is worth watching for what it is trying to say. Bollywood is home to a handful of films that get representation right, and Dear Dad certainly is one of the few. There is nothing stereotypical about this closeted gay and his coming out story. So this pride month, maybe watch it with your friends to get a deeper understanding of what sexuality really means to a person.  

Feature Image Credits: Debaangshu Sen for DU Beat

Sakshi Arora

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Before Sonam Kapoor’s lesbian character in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, before Dostana brought gay romance in a problematic/not so problematic light, there was Onir’s 2005 classic My Brother…Nikhil.

Written and directed by Onir (that director whose one or two offbeat film you might be knowing, it stars Sanjay Suri (that actor you might have seen in some film or the other but you don’t know his name) as Nikhil, a gay swimmer in Goa growing up in a cosy yet subtly problematic family. However, to his emotional aid, are his sister played by a not-so-fresh Juhi Chawla (that actress in many an SRK film) and his boyfriend Nigel played by a fresh Purab Kohli (that drummer guy in Rock On). My Brother…Nikhil has this and that person involved in it, and it might not be fully mainstream, but still it shouldn’t be seen as ‘that gay film’. It’s more than that.

When Nikhil is suddenly infected with AIDS, the people around him start shunning him. He gets detached from his swimming, his parents, and everything else. He’s basically aidless.

But unlike all the LGBTQ related films in India before (the lesbian drama Fire being a major example), Onir’s drama is not that intense. And the simplicity in its narrative is what makes My Brother…Nikhil a heart-warming watch for the family.

Previously, there were just arthouse films on gay couples that were quite disturbing in the effort to accurately show reality that the oppressed face in India. This U-rated movie is no art film. There aren’t any dramatic ‘Ma, I’m gay’ monologues either. But it still manages to hit the right spots with the subtle realities of the Indian setting in which it’s based.

Nikhil’s father loves his son more with toxic manhood rather than fatherhood. He frowns whenever Nikhil’s mum calls him a ‘little boy’. If Nikhil loses a competition, all he hears is ‘This because of your lafandar friends’. When his sweet mother asks him to marry a woman just because she respects elders, Nikhil sums up the millennial view by saying ‘Typical Indian parents’!

When the AIDS angle is introduced, we see the expected stigmas of people treating Nikhil like how any vile Brahman would treat a Dalit. They stay away from him and his ‘bad touch’. These scenes are shown in a straightforward manner, no rivers of tears flowing and no tragic violin music playing in background.

Simplicity is why the movie shines. That’s why wherever it tries to go a little extra be it with the sentiments or Juhi Chawla’s English accent, it fails. On the other hand, the scenes with the parents and Nikhil’s boyfriends flow smoothly.

Coming to the boyfriend, Onir beautifully shows an ordinary relationship between two men showing that they care for each other. There are no stereotypical tropes of Bollywood romance or any forced ‘special’ aspect to the bond. Onir, who himself came out of the closet a few years back, doesn’t make being gay some sort of special thing, not like other problematic representations which try to gain sympathy and nothing else.

Being gay is just being human, like everyone in society. For this reason, My Brother…Nikhil definitely deserves a watch. You can stream it on Netflix or Hotstar.


Featured Image Credits- My Brother Nikhil


Shaurya Singh Thapa

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Ques: Does masturbation really lead to acne?

Ans:  Firztly, thaankyou HT city for that awezzome article that you wrote about me. I mean I always thought I was something for Page 3, but you people are so nice you put me on that first page without my paying you any money. How nice! I’m toadily touched! I have to tell you the truth, the number of questions I have been getting since then has shot up so much that now I have to buy a blackberry and dedicate all my time to DU Beat. No time for private counseling. I feel like such a celebrity now that employing one or two juniors doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

Anyway, I have to say, the number of doubts you kids have about masturbation is totally mind boggling. People never used to be so curious about the practice before. But it’s very impressive that this generation has an extraordinary eye for detail. *winking to self*.

And yes, masturbation DOES lead to acne. That’s not the sole reason for acne, but the body of the teenager who masturbates is home to excessive hormone production, which is a cause for acne. Very few teenagers who masturbate don’t have acne.

I’ll put little bit of my hindi these DUB people taught me to use. I’d say, KUJH PAANE KE LIE KUJH KONA TOH PADTA HAI!!!

Ques: How can I attract some girl in my campus to have sex with me? Just a one night stand I am sure you understand!

Ans: If the person who has sent in this question is listening, I am utterly disgusted with your thinking. You might think sex amma is “chill”, but this, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND! See kids, I agree that at this age, all we try and look out for is “fun”, but my theories tell me to have fun only when you’re understand what you are doing. I’ll explain. In a situation where both the man and the woman (because I’m assuming all of you are of age enough to be called that), arrive at a consensus and none has a problem, there is nothing wrong with what I hate calling a “one-night stand”. However, fooling someone into one is a BAD BAD thing to do. *nods head*. I mean it might not bother you right away and give you satisfaction and pleasure that matches none, but when you’re lying at your death bed, this one thing will come to your mind and flood you with guilt. Let’s not even bring you to your death bed. Remain in that very “one-night stand” bed of yours and imagine being THE FOOL. Imagine the feeling of being tricked into something. I still declare that I’m broad-minded and all that jazz, but this is something I strongly detest! I don’t want young men floating in the campus thinking about attracting “some girl” to have sex. Besides, no kind of research gives out a strategy to have a “one-night stand”. So sorry, Sex Amma can’t be of any help here! *wicked smile*