GIRLS WHO LIKE GIRLS

(BTW, there’s ev­i­dence that women’s sex­u­al­ity spans the spec­trum more than men’s does). From speak­ing up against the In­dian govern­ment’s re­cent rul­ing mak­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity il­le­gal, to de­bunk­ing com­mon les­bian myths and an­swer­ing our gay read­ers’ most pres

Cosmopolitan (India) - - ONLY IN COSMO - By @meherbee

When chap­ter XVI, Sec­tion 377 of the In­dian Pe­nal Code was brought back to life on De­cem­ber 11, 2013, it ef­fec­tively crim­i­nalised sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties “against the or­der of na­ture”, in­clud­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. This was a dras­tic blow to the LGBT rights move­ment, and our con­sti­tu­tional rights as In­dian cit­i­zens.

Son­ali Roy tells us she was shocked and an­gry. “All our fights for the last 10 years had gone back to square one. But this set­back has only helped us gear up to fight with greater mo­men­tum.” Son­ali and her part­ner Alka live to­gether in Kolkata, with Alka’s 17-year-old son.

La­belled a ‘minis­cule mi­nor­ity’ by the govern­ment, les­bians around the coun­try are pre­par­ing for a long and hard fight to have the Par­lia­ment re­peal this rul­ing.

Noor Enayat, a Delhi-based PR pro­fes­sional, and out-and-proud les­bian, is at the fore­front in the fight for equal­ity, con­stantly or­gan­is­ing ral­lies, pe­ti­tions, and even go­ing on na­tional tele­vi­sion to speak her mind. She asks, “Who the hell is so­ci­ety to de­cide who I can love and who I can­not? How would you feel if one day the very ex­is­tence of your iden­tity is crim­i­nalised?”

Cosmo be­lieves in, and sup­ports, equal rights for all and free­dom of ex­pres­sion, es­pe­cially for women, which is why we’ve put to­gether this im­por­tant and in­for­ma­tive story, star­ring real girls!

We asked six brave (and to­tally gor­geous!) ladies to be a part of our ‘les­bian life panel’ and tell it like it is.

You can be part of the change by pledg­ing your sup­port on the Face­book pages: Voices Against 377 and 1 Mil­lion In­di­ans Sup­port LGBT Rights.

BUT WHICH ONE OF YOU IS THE MAN? ... AND OTHER LES­BIAN MYTHS, DE­BUNKED

Myth#1: Butch les­bians just want to be like men.

“Let us clar­ify—us butches do not want to be men, we just look bet­ter than them in their clothes! Ac­tu­ally, there are a lot of psy­cho­log­i­cal as­pects to be con­sid­ered here. Sex­u­al­ity is so fluid that one can­not put a mar­gin any­where, there are cer­tain grey ar­eas. And again, ‘be­ing a man’ is so­cially un­der­stood on the ba­sis of some phys­i­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal traits that are com­plete gen­der stereo­types.” —Son­ali and Alka

Myth#2: Les­bians know ev­ery­thing about les­bians.

Do all straight people know ev­ery­thing about be­ing straight? There are some things that are nat­u­ral and some things that you learn over time.”

—Noor Enayat

Myth#3: In a les­bian re­la­tion­ship, one woman is ‘the man’.

“This is an­other un­e­d­u­cated as­sump­tion. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your choices and pref­er­ences. For ex­am­ple, I re­ally like the colour pink, but at the same time I am su­per pro­tec­tive about my girl­friend—what cat­e­gory do I fit into then?

—Mon­isha Aj­gaonkar

Myth#4: All les­bians

hate men.

“OMG! Don’t even try to men­tion men in front of us. We hate them, and given the chance we’d like to chop sev­eral heads off! On a more se­ri­ous note, no! Les­bians do not hate men. It’s just that we don’t want any sex­ual or ro­man­tic con­nec­tion with them. Do het­ero­sex­ual men hate other men?”

—Sree and Suchan­dra

One Les­bian ‘Myth’ That is True! All les­bians stay emo­tion­ally in­volved with their ex-girl­friends.

“Yes, and that’s be­cause we’re women. We don’t just end things and for­get ev­ery­thing. It’s a woman thing.”

—Noor Enayat “Oh yes! In­ter­est­ingly, un­like het­ero­sex­ual people who can prob­a­bly for­get about their part­ners the very day they break up or soon af­ter, we take longer, and will prob­a­bly stay con­nected.” —Sree and Suchan­dra “I told my fa­ther when I was 12, he hugged me and said I was too young to make the choice at point of time. He asked me to wait for an­other 10 to 15 years and then take the call. “At that point, if this is what you want, we

will ac­cept it, but now is not the time.”

—Sree Mukher­jee “I came out to my mom when I was 19. I re­mem­ber telling her, ‘Ma, I like girls the way boys like them’. She acted cool, but gave me con­di­tions. I could stay the way I was, but I shouldn’t get in­volved in any com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ships.”

—Son­ali Roy “I told my par­ents I was bi­sex­ual when I was 17 or 18. I be­lieved I was bi­sex­ual at the time be­cause that was much eas­ier to ac­cept about my­self. Then, by the time I turned 21, I re­alised I was gay, and slowly with time, that’s what I main­tained.”

—Noor Enayat “My sis­ter was al­ways aware of my sex­u­al­ity. And it didn’t make any dif­fer­ence to our re­la­tion­ship. My fa­ther got to know through a col­league who had fig­ured out through one of my in­ter­views. He ac­cepted the way it was. Luck­ily, my life has never been about ugly con­fronta­tions and ac­cep­tance speeches re­gard­ing my sex­u­al­ity. And my friends are chilled, too.”

—Mon­isha Aj­gaonkar

SREE AND SUCHAN­DRA THEY’RE A REAL COU­PLE WE LOVE. SREE IS A REAL-ES­TATE MAR­KET­ING PRO­FES­SIONAL AND SUCHAN­DRA IS A PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

( SUCHANDRAGRAPHY.COM). THEY LIVE TO­GETHER

IN KOLKATA.

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