Love in a Different Climate
Men Who Have Sex with Men in India
By Jeremy Seabrook
(Verso, Hardcover, 9781859848371, 192pp.)
Publication Date: July 17, 1999
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In this carefully researched and finely written work, Jeremy Seabrook deals with subjects rarely discussed in Western narratives about South Asia. Going beyond a straightforward contextualisation of the gatoei (lady-boys) in Thailand and the hijara (eunuchs) of India, he unravels the less familiar and more complex territory of homosexual and homoerotic encounters in general, and asks how valid Western models of sexual identity are in the South Asian context, and how effective they might be in dealing with global issues of sexual health, HIV awareness and gender politics.
Much of the book is based on interviews which reveal the extent of the complexity at play: wives who traditionally vacate the marital bed to accommodate their husbands’ friends; kotis—”passive” male sex partners of men—many of whom will be married but see their relations with the kotis as fulfilling their destinies as males; the fundamentalist politicians who curse the Western influence of “gay liberation” and continue to justify the punishment of life imprisonment for homosexuality; and the activist groups who are working towards a clearer and more helpful understanding of contemporary issues.
The first work of its kind on India, Love in a Different Climate reveals how a traditional shrouding in mystery of sexual difference is slowly but surely giving way to a more open and essentially local celebration of that difference.
“This book is intensely moving and often painful, but also uplifting. It combines wonderful insight with a tremendous sense of the sheer weight of history ... and a subtle but powerful analysis of the political and cultural context. It is a passionate read.”—Jeffrey Weeks, author of Invented Moralities