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finally it is done. after six months of work and 140 written pages, i have finished my master thesis paper in cultural anthropology on the indian queer community, the political queer movement and the role of the internet within the community as part of my M.A. at the University of Munich. I would love to get feedback on it, if anybody is interested in reading it. It is written in German (mostly) and not yet available in English.

… and here it is:

Master thesis paper Queer in Indien

please cite as following: Geist, Janina. 2008. Queer in Indien. Selbst- und Fremdkonstruktionen indischer Queers in Politik, Gesellschaft und Medien unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Internets. Magisterarbeit am Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikanistik der LMU München. München. Elektronisches Dokument. [Abruf: x.x. 2xxx]. URI: <>   München, Oktober 2008.


Right now we have the queer film festival running in Munich and I went to watch some films and documentaries. Yesterday I saw a documentary called “Gay… So what? (2007, France)” which dealt with the questions how contemporary queer communities across the world are made up:  One question was what will happen in countries where being gay or being queer has been accepted fully by society and equal rights are given to queer people… for instance in New York in some areas people talk about being post-gay, or post-queer… one women stated her concern with the whole idea of a constructed separate identity of queer community because that in itself would highlight the difference towards the rest of the society (the straight (not necessarily meaning: heterosexual) people)… what is there to fight for if legally, socially and politically same things are possible for all… why then form a separate identity, since in the post-gay area… gay people don’t necessarily define themselves only over/just by their sexual identity, but also issues of race, class, social background etc. can be as equally important to one’s sense of identity. Plus they are people of the community who reject any labeling of themselves at all.

Then in the film it was very interesting to see 2 gay men tell about their experiences of being gay in China where homosexuality is not openly discussed or in any open discourse. There are no official public spaces for gay people in China. Only in the cities some nightclubs have opened up where people can come and meet. A lot is happening under the surface… But also the film talked about that steady a gay movement is forming in China in the last couple of years. Things are changing slowly… So for areas where the queer community has not the same rights, visibility… or in a sense an implicitness of existing… labels still are more important to get people together under a common umbrella community so to speak.

After watching this movie I am left wondering if a post-gay phase will be something that will eventually exist in the whole world… if the certain requirements for entering such a phase will be set… or will it always be different… homogeneous… while some people will reject a labeling just because of their sexual identity, others will still find it important for them to define themselves over that construction.  I tend towards the last thought… anyway will post more after the film festival is over…

finally i am proud to say… i have managed to get 21 interviews done for my research… yippeehh!! 🙂

now i have left delhi and will return in two weeks to germany to write up my data in my final master thesis paper…

today was my 17th interview on my research on the queer community and the internet usage… so far it has been going quite well… let´s see if i can get 20… that would be great… i will keep you posted…

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today again i was commuting through the streets of delhi… during the day you can watch a lot of men sitting on green streaks of grass right next to road playing cards with eachother… still havent´been able to watch Om Shanti Om… mmhh, just a couple of days to go… went to barrison’s today again to try to get some more books for master paper but sadly lots of them are out of print… mhhh now really i have to see what to… at home i have accumulated 30 books or so that have to be shipped home in the next couple of days… going to the postoffice is always such a fun thing to do 😉 long hours of waiting but it´s so unique how the parcels are sewn in clothing and sealed…. they look like presents… and somehow it´s amazing how they usually always find their way to the destination… i have been sending quite a few in the last year but the last encounter with the GPO in Delhi was quite interesting and a new experience… the employee at the counter did not even type in any address on the computerized slip that are put on the parcel… after my enquiry what would happen if that slip comes off the parcel and the address that is written on the clothing would too… then what… in the computer system here is not even any address given… just the general destination: germany and the parcel number… but the employee was very re insuring so i thought ok… let´s give it a try… so far half of the parcels have arrived… not bad…
on my way home i passed my neighbors house today and looked up on their balcony/terrace… it’s quite a rich family so they have this huge house and quite posh. from the distance i could already see a difference… white bedsheets (decorated on the edges) had been put up like a huge white rectangular tent… lots of moving shadows could be seen…at first i thought about a party… and that the errected tent shoud give some privacy… but when i looked closer i realized that all of those shadows derived from goats… 30 goats or so moving, almost it looked like they were dancing, behind the white veil…. mmhhh, maybe they have a shaadi coming up… why else would they have so many goats on their terrace on the second floor??!! especially since the family is very posh and doesn´t strike me as a kind who would suddenly have 30 goats on their terrace… i really hope the goats will not all be eaten… but that is probably what awaits them.

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its been a while since i have written… but i have been so busy… with so many things… currently i am not working anymore for MMB, i mainly conduct interviews for my research on the internet within the queer/lgbt community in delhi… this has been going great. i have gotten so many different and unique perspectives and insights on various issues and people have been so warm and welcoming.

last tuesday i went out with a gay friend of mine, and we went to pnp for dancing. pnp is queer every tuesday night. the crowd differs from time to time but mostly men go there… it is again a very male dominated public space. this time (it was not my first time 😉 there were surprisingly a lot of women there as well… i really like the space because as a woman you get generally left alone and you are not constantly hit on or felt up. but sadly that is not always the case… that differs from time to time too. it was so much fun to hang out with so many (mostly) gay men, especially the small group of people that were acquainted with my friend. this time though i got hit on quite much myself… as i later found out there were really many bi men at the club… well anyway, that took away a little bit of my space and comfortableness cuz i really did not go there to hook up with anyone… i mean otherwise that would or could have been fine but as such i was not interested… i just wanted to dance, dance, dance… but i had not to worry too much about telling certain people to back off since a lot of the gay men got very protective of my well being and made sure i felt welcome and good. it was so much fun to dance with a lot of them too without the constant issue of misunderstanding (of sexual attraction)… but anyway… it was a great night… i met up with lots of people i knew and went to bed really late… after pnp we went to the nizamuddin railway station… it´s really ridiculous that i have never been there although i live so close from it. we had awesome food…:)

recently i have to do a lot of commuting through the city cuz i go to meet people for the interviews… it´s really interesting on one side to see some areas where i haven´t been yet and just to look out from the auto (riksha) and watch daily life pass you by. people are preparing for the winter, i mean the winter is already there… it´s so damn cold and foggy… i know that in comparison to europe that is probably nothing… i mean right  now its 4 degrees Celsius but it feel so damn cold cuz for one in the apartments or houses or shacks you don´t have any heater… and i also don´t have one. than to drive in the auto all the time… the chilly wind really gets to your bones…
in my daily rides i very often see people (who live on the street) search for wood in the public areas… after 6 pm you will see many fires on the road where people try to warm themselves up and the air is filled with the smell of smoke. all the autowallahs wear mostly shawls wrapped around their head and warm sweaters… women who wear sandals are no longer barefooted… they use socks… everyone is dressing and layering up… the markets are decorated with lights… last weekend there was a german xmas market with german products (cheese, beer, gingerbread cookies (lebkuchen), glühwein (milled wine) so that was nice and i bought great things (even though they were ridiculously overpriced) although i really dont get into xmas spirit here that much. we don´t have snow here… just the fog… i mean the fog is very charismatic in its own way.
today i drove pass lodhi gardens and one of the old muslim tombs that are inside of it and is always lit up at night looked completely transformed and enchanted by the surrounding fog. it definitely creates quite some atmosphere. i have one more week in delhi and it´s already getting very hard to say goodbye…. i have met so many people here (and also so many recently) that i like very much. it´s a weird thought of leaving the coldness to travel to the south now again and spend most of my remaining time on the beach or traveling as a tourist again… from my perspective i will obviously have a different approach while traveling since i have been living here for so long but others might just categorize me differently… since i still very much look like a foreigner due to my appearance… 😉 it will be different to leave this ordinary every day life at one fixed place and move on… i had a great time here in delhi… it really has won my heart (rather late) but luckly not to late… there are many things that bother me here, for instance that it is so unsafe for women to be in the public space but i think we really should fight against that and make delhi a safer space for women. i will miss so many things at the same time too… being surrounded by hindi speaking people and to be constantly in dialog with a different language and its concepts. all the queer events and the queer groups that are so delightful and fun. the huge network of people who think differently and try to challenge hetero-normative patriarchal society and its concepts. the art, the movies, the singing… singing is so important here… people just love to sing… at parties or in public and they are so good at it too.
i know delhi will be a place for me where i feel i can always come back to… and want to anyway 😉

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after a long time of not writing… i am finally back online… hihi…

my two internships at MMB Delhi and Bangalore are finally over and i was on vacation in Bangalore… to see my boyfriend and my other friends… unfortunately… turned things out not the way i wanted them to be… things just didn´t fit anymore and we broke up… that was tough for me… especially because i saw him in a different light all together… saw sides of his character that i had not known before… it hurt me the most that i lost him completely as a person… that he was not mature enough to be able to still talk to me or have me in his life… i was constructed as someone bad… i guess that makes things easier…but it hurt a lot… so of the 5 times in bangalore for 3 weeks i was pretty much very miserable… only in the last 2 weeks i started to fell stronger again and to feel better about myself… i had great and tremendous support from friends in bangalore but also from germany as well… slowly i started feeling better… now i am back in delhi… i have two more months to do my master thesis research on queer indians, LGBT issues and the use of in the internet… besides that i am battling with a cold right now… and my mom and her girlfriend are finally coming to visit me / india this sunday… i am very excited i haven´t seen my mom and lily in so long… on tuesday i will take them to pegs and pints in delhi… which is queer on tuesdays… i am quite excited and will keep you updated…

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i am actually very excited today because i am meeting up with Sangini Trust tomorrow… Sangini Trust is an lesbian organisation in Delhi that provides several projects to the community…

as some of you may know i am currently doing research for my master thesis in delhi on queer spaces on the internet and the use of internet as a tool to connect to various other groups (e.g. queer community in usa or europe) also interesting to see how much queer people being in the diaspora have an effect and influence on the scene here in india and vice versa. i am using the term queer in parenthesis here… since it´s not always fitting and doesn´t mean to everyone the same thing. for my research i will mainly talk to “gays” and “lesbians”, again in parenthesis, because those labels don´t fit in general either about their experiences in delhi, their use of the internet, their lives etc. in how far create the various cities in india spaces for queer people that can live in a way which is not possible in rural areas… in how far are the communities (if you can speak of a community in the first place) confined to specific cities, regions, groups… or are different groups fragmented… ?

it will be very interesting to get in touch with various people on that matter… i will be supporting Sangini as a volunteer from october onwards. for my master i will try to conduct interviews and speak informally to “queer indians”… it will be also very cool going to some bars and nightclubs on certain queer nights…

on orkut… the online-community by google that is used very widely in india… it was already very interesting to note various communities like: lesbians in delhi, indian lesbians, queer india, queer indian liberation front, gays, queer india, gays in bangalore… etc. what i have noticed however so far is that most communities receive a huge amount of spam mails regarding sexual topics and the discussion between members of the groups is often (sadly) non-existent… so far i haven´t contacted anyone directly… but i was thinking on maybe sending some mails to certain people and tell them what i am trying to do for my master thesis…

anyway so far… so good… i will keep you updated…

ad campaign lee stores india, originally uploaded by javeja.

recently all over bangalore… you can come across those ads for lee stores… very interesting campaign i think…. 😉

here is some article about MSM and WSM in Bangalore in the supplement of the Deccan Herald due to the lee campaigning…

an update (30.Juni 07): i had a talk with a colleague of mine, who told me that the effects of this campaign were rather differently received in delhi and mumbai. in mumbai the shiv sena made it possible that all the ads and posters had to be removed within a couple of days after the beginning of the campaign. he told me that in delhi on the other hand it was no big deal at all. they came, stayed and went again without people reacting violently about them… he said that in delhi people are more open-minded about this topic…

kathakali, originally uploaded by javeja.

the story of this particular kathakali goes something like this in very very short form…. although i don´t remember to vividly last time i saw this and read the story was 3 years ago. there  is this female demon… she bewitched the male hero (here depicted with green face) and turns herself in a beautiful woman (the one on the right)… in the end the hero kills her by cutting of her breast with his sword/blade.

conquering of the female through conquering and marking her body as a territory…


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