Saturday, 5 December 2009

Love . . . naturally . . .

Reading through Part I and Part II fiction of my blogger friend Nevine's blog, I could not help but wonder at some of the conventions and conditions of the notion of love. I also noticed the different perceptions of the male and female mind. Culture and mainstream society has ingrained our mind with the picture of a man and a woman while thinking about love, sex and other related ideas.

Traveling to Madurai last week for purpose of my research, I moved closely with the transgender group that lives there. Being a researcher of gender and related concepts, I encountered a spectrum of sexuality which completely baffled me and opened me into a colourful world filled with a mish-mash of relationships. It was a revelation to me: The existence of different hues of sexuality in comparison to the usual 'heterosexual' one. Media fuelled by the mainstream which is further fuelled by the cultural domain has strongly impressioned the heterosexual norm that one is choked by the variety that is presented by the so called 'other.'

But what I found interesting is that even though my transgendered friends live in a community, they fall in love with a man (who is gay as well as married having a family) and follow the norms like any heterosexual couple. The male-to-female transgender assumes the role of a wife and does everything that is expected of a dutifully married woman in the Tamil society. Even this is love. There are issues of jealousy, trust and fidelity that creep between the couple.

This further brings me to write about the 1994 film that I saw in the telly a few days ago: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The film tells the story of two drag queens and a male-to-female transgender who take a road trip through Australia performing in many places. The story showed the emotional humane side of the three individuals who have their strengths and weaknesses. However strong and aggressive they appear on the outside, their inside is populated with a mirage of emotional anxieties ranging from fear, anger, restlessness, etc. The director has tactfully shown their life as well as  people's reactions towards them.

Now coming back to love and relationships: My experiences of staying with them as well as watching the film makes me wonder whether the treatment meted out to them is justified. At the end of the day, they are no different. They are plain human beings who crave for love, express their anger and fight for causes that are dear to them. This is also love.


  1. Susan, first off I would like to thank you for mentioning me here. I am so honored! And you are so very insightful of the concepts of love and how it is interpreted, and more importantly, how it is judged.

    I'm particularly taken by your comments on jealousy. Jealousy is one of those emotions that has such a power over us, it is capable of destroying us entirely. But it is also capable of tempering our relationships. A small amount of jealousy goes a long way. But when it gets out of hand, that is where the danger lies.

    I don't think I've ever seen this movie you mention, Susan, but I'm interested in checking it out. I will order it and see what it has to offer.

    As for love and equality, I am a believer in people's right to express love for whomever they wish, and in whatever manner they think is best for them. We are humans, and people should never be placed in boxes, because we are too fluid, and we will eventually seep out of our box and find our freedom.


  2. Dear Nevine: Thanks for that first line. Its an honour for me as well to give the link to one of my writer-blogger-friend who has her way with words and emotions --Two powerful tools.

    Love is something that is there everywhere and as bad as it seems, jealousy tags with it. It is dangerous for sure but then see it this way: Sometimes I have seen friends who are never jealous but their respective partners understand it as having 'no love.' So jealousy here becomes a tool for love. I know this sounds ridiculous but its true nevertheless.

    Please do see the movie. Its an old one but a fine cast and nice story.

    I am glad that you are one of those who have no rigid notions of the varied hues that life has to offer.

    Great weekend Nevine.

    Joy always,

  3. "They are no different"..And if they are, it is because they cannot help it...
    Thanks for this post Susan. Very insightful...

  4. Beautiful post, very thought provoking. It shows a very contemplative mind, very intriguing. I loved *The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert*, it was a superb movie, very well made.

  5. Ashley: You should explore more on this. Glad that you enjoyed the post.

    Zuzana: Happy that you know about this movie. Thanks for the nice words.

    Joy always,

  6. beautiful post, susan - and i, too, have seen priscilla and loved the characters as well as the story told - it was incredibly done and a film all should see - it is so easy and simple to me - it has been all my life - the thing that we are all one - no one different from another - there is the same physical heart beating in each of us - the same mechanism that keeps us physically alive and spiritually awake - the same beating heart - there is nothing else - nothing else matters - but, sadly, there are those who cannot and do not see that - in any event, great post, lady! loved it! and yes, nevine's work is fabulous, isn't it???

  7. Jenean: Thats so nice of you. I guess the world would be a better place if everyone realised that truth. I could relate to the film in many layers.

    And yeah, Nevine's work is fabulous.

    Hve a great day, Jenean.

  8. Nice post. Excellent. Transgender people are treated very badly all over the world. Antidiscrimination laws are very strict in USA. Even here, these laws do not protect transgender people.

  9. Dear SG: Thanks for dropping by. What you have remarked is very true. The 'heterosexual' gang is up against anything that does nor fit in.

    Joy always.

  10. Dear Susan,

    Sorry for commenting on something not related to this post..!

    I love that song too.. infact I lve all S&G've heard.. "I am a rock" its lyrics sometimes makes sense!

  11. Why hello!!
    You have quite a blog here!
    Saw you commenting regularly on Gypsywoman's blog and decided to drop in.

    Shock no. 1 - You are from India! Always thought you were from outside.

    Gender..a very interesting field!
    What you said is very true. Every human being desires nothing but love, care and attention.


  12. Dear Deboshree: Glad that you dropped by. Many-a-times we are neighbours in commenting in Gypsywoman's blog.

    You are from Bengal, right.

    Happy to meet you Deboshree. Drop by as often!

    Joy always,

  13. Beautiful post, Susan. I wish people have the ability to look beyond and simply love and respect them for who they are. That is all they need. Watching the movie :)



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