• Quirk NLS

Too gay or not to gay?

This article has been written by Dhawal M (Batch of 2025)The accompanying artwork is by Kajal Jamdare (Batch of 2025).

Law School is a mysterious place, more so when you have never actually visited it and have to bank on personal accounts which often contradict each other. Do I believe that it is an open and inclusive space or do I believe that even though I will not be hate crime-d, so to speak, wearing heels to class will not exactly be a fashun moment? In all fairness, the former account was a straight man’s and the latter a queer senior’s, so the choice of where to assign credibility here is pretty clear. My limited experience here has been full of contradictions. I’ve seen dyed hair and nail polish on men being appreciated and have also learnt, courtesy a batchmate, that the usage of the f- word (the gay slur and not fuck, duh) depends upon the situation irrespective of the speaker’s sexuality. Well, you learn something new every day.

I have seen Prof. Sushmita not be appreciated enough even though she is probably the most enthusiastic teacher that we will have ever have, and also witnessed the chad bois swoon over male professors who just acknowledged our problems and existence in general. The only reason that I can fathom? When you see m*n doing the bare minimum ~ chef’s kiss ~.

I do not intend to refute the liberal mindset of the people of NLS, but it just seems skin deep when juxtaposed with the sexist and homophobic behaviour of many. I have heard of Prof. Sarasu’s crusades against the patriarchy and I have also seen a Professor use the example of excluding a homosexual couple to demonstrate the ambiguous relationship between morality and law. He smirked during the discussion and the humoured condescension reminded me of the cheerful sidekick in movies ridiculing queer-coded villains (or as I like to call them, Icons). At the end of the discussion, I wasn’t sure if my potential exclusion is legally valid or not. More so, I am still wondering if the Professor maintains that it makes for an acceptable moral argument. *Gay panik* intensifies, not in a way one would like.

Which brings me to my earlier conundrum — what should I expect from Law School? I know homophobia exists, and to be honest, its temporary absence sometimes makes me feel uncomfortably safe but there was something unexpected about its casual usage as an academic tool that made it so significant. In all fairness, I do not think he intended to be homophobic but that did not translate into how it seemed. He wanted to teach us different complications (read as deviance from heteronormativity) the law may have to deal with. Did this example, however, initiate a conversation?

The point is plain and simple — the mere mention of a perspective does not equate to its consideration. Hate, in a classroom setting, portrays itself in multiple ways. A couple of decades ago it could have been an overbearing silence. Today it is an invitation to discuss with a NO written in bold letters and fine print at the same time. The queer exclusion here is so ambiguous that even Schrödinger would have taken a bow. While the invitation to discuss is pretty apparent, the lack of intent and the passive barriers to discuss are nuanced and well-hidden. First, the Professor’s condescending and ridiculing tenor sets the tone for a very one-sided discussion. Second, in a classroom where queer examples feature as complications rather than accommodable realities, the reaction towards furthering the gay agenda is obvious — speak, and be spoken about. Queer people should not have to deal with their life experiences being used as academic exercises. While this might not seem like a deliberate anti-queer act, is the intention important? Microaggressions like these assume the absence of queer people in the classroom and enforce the absence of the queer perspective in the classroom.

I know I am not in a Wattpad story or a Hallmark movie where I will be wowed by the liberal attitude of my college professors and strut around campus in my Cinderalla-esque ballgown while my ‘girlfriends’ support their gay best friend, but is qualified apathy or passive support something I can expect or am I setting myself up for disappointment? The coolness quotient associated with a ‘no fucks given’ attitude towards college discounts the role of professors. Along with the law and the humanities, they are also teaching us how to think about and perceive these subjects. Does that warrant that they undergo compulsory sensitization workshops or do some of us snowflakes need to get ready for the real world? –  The real world which is filled with people who were taught by queer-exclusionary mentors and are now wired to be such.

At the end of five and a half months of NLS, the illustrious history of the queer movement etched in the college ethos seems more like individual hagiographies, largely inconsistent with the popular belief. Yes, the NLS queer produce has done more than their fair share of reform and activism, but has the larger NLS population acknowledged the message or were they left on seen? So, I ask again, what should I expect from Law School? Queer empowerment or the same woke performative support accompanied by a “bRo Navtej Singh Johar bRo” when any substantive concern is flagged?

Do I revel in the promise of some visibility, albeit limited, or do I worry about the eyes the same would raise? Do I thank the ones who spoke before me or do I abhor them for not being louder? A billion such questions pique my brain as I obsess over the intricacies of hostel life. The most vexing being — too gay or not to gay?

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