Today I am so excited to welcome Rupkatha, a queer south asian bookstagrammer, who is also a very dear friend!! In today’s post Rupkatha talks about ‘Growing Up Hearing the Rhetoric Of ‘Asians Are Not Queer’: Ft. South Asian Queer Book Recommendations’.
But, before I share with you what Rupkatha has written for us today, I want to take a moment to highlight all the wonderful things she has done as a bookstagrammer. If you haven’t met Rupkatha before today, then I am very excited for you to see the wonderful work they have done!!
Rupkatha’s Bookstagram, Booktube, and Twitter 💞
Rupkatha Discusses ‘Growing Up Hearing the Rhetoric Of ‘Asians Are Not Queer’: Ft. South Asian Queer Book Recommendations’
Queerness in many parts of the world is considered to be the indoctrination of children into western ideals by the west. Most people would go as far as they could to argue that queer people are the product of a childhood gone wrong. A childhood spent being obsessed with foreigners, watching Hollywood movies or reading vogue magazines.
Some of our elders will hit us with the obligatory “Such things do not happen in our country. All this will work only in America.” When I first started questioning my identity at an extremely young age, I didn’t know that being gay was a criminal offense in my country. When I was 11, already knowing that something was inherently wrong with me, it was legalised. That led me to seek the truth : Are Asians really not queer?
Many Asian families, especially South Asians, have more or less the same family ideals. Honour, respect, Being a doctor or an engineer, Arranged Marriages and Normality. Hence, being queer in the face of such values was appalling, unacceptable and a slap to the face for our utterly hardworking, emotionally unavailable yet loving parents. But why did such values matter more than the well being of a childhood? Why did social acceptance factor into my life?
The truth is: We are not indoctrinated into anything, it’s our community which considers minimal deviation from the norm, the world’s greatest sin.
Moving on, I absolutely hate it when queer people living quaintly in certain countries where homosexuality has not recently been a criminal offense, joke about how they are illegal in 90% of the world.
Not only does this mock the struggles of people in their homophobic home countries but it also reduces the experience of being illegal in one’s own place just by the virtue of existing. These people understand and experience queerphobia but what they shall never understand is the feeling of being barred from one’s own culture.
My grandfather and his family arrived in India as refugees a long time after partition from Bangladesh(then a part of Pakistan) and in this country of my ancestors homosexuality is a crime that can be punished with life imprisoned. In India, being queer meant imprisonment just a mere 4 years ago. How can such experience of queer people around the world serve as entertainment for others?
Lastly, let me present before you some LGBTQ+ books by South Asians about South Asians.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to fake dating by Adiba Jaigirdar. Add to GOODREADS.
The Love and lies of Ruksana Ali by Sabina Khan. Add to GOODREADS.
Also see: Zara Hossain Is Here
Funny boy by Shyam Selvaduri. Add to GOODREADS.
Carpet Weaver by Nemat Sadat. Add to GOODREADS.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel Add to GOODREADS.
Pride Climbing Higher. Add to GOODREADS.
I have been unable to find any books from the south Asian countries of Bhutan and Maldives but I hope in the coming future we have many many more LGBTQ+ books written by South Asians representing us in mainstream fiction.
~Rupkatha Bhattacharjee (rupkatha.reads)
If you enjoyed reading this post and wish to support the blog, please consider checking out my WISHLIST ! You’ll be helping me read and feature more books 🤍
Thank you so much Rupkatha, for visiting Misty Realms and having this discussion with us!! We love and appreciate you so much 💗 HAPPY PRIDE 🏳️🌈