Out of the Colonial Closet, But Still Thinking ‘Inside the Box’: Regulating ‘Perversion’ and the Role of Tolerance in De-Radicalising the Rights Claims of Sexual Subalterns
Volume 2 Issue 3 (2009)
This paper primarily intends to throw light on the postcolonial reading of the legal engagements of sexual
subgroups that depicts the complex layering of sexual subjectivities in a postcolonial context, which are not
captured in a straightforward ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ reading. The use of the term ‘sexual subaltern’ in this paper is
mainly intended to capture this complexity. Through the discussions on the engagement of the sexual subaltern
with law, the author draws on subaltern scholarship to provide a more complex articulation of the position of the sexual subaltern as well as the relationship between law and the subject. The first part of the paper, briefly discusses the explosion of homoerotic imagery, literature and sex talk in the context of sexual subalterns in postcolonial India, to illustrate that the voice of the sexual subaltern is being gradually accommodated within the postcolonial discourse, and that the public space has become more amenable to sexual subaltern claims.