Abstract Title

Sexually Ambivalent Gorkha and Pink Migrations from North-East India

Description

The Gorkha have multiple challenges to negotiate within the Northeast and outside the region. From being fetishised as exotic to erotic to ‘chinky’, the body becomes a site of a political struggle, reclamation and resistance. In the context of the Militarized Masculinities of Gorkha, one repeatedly hears of a ‘Bir Gorkha’, a ‘Gorkha Cheli Beti’, but never a Queer Gorkha. Contextualised to the ‘Gorkha’, Queerness or ambivalence in sexualities is an oxymoron. The sexually ambivalent Gorkha, living at intersections of subjectivities, experiences constant anxieties about defining, defending, and negotiating their sexuality and belonging. ‘Leaving ‘Home’ in search of a newer ‘Home’ becomes the indelible feature of the sexually ambivalent. ‘Pink Migration’ within India to the metropolitan centers provides interesting insights into the trend of ‘leaving ‘Home’ searching for a newer ‘Home’. These cities become a gateway to survival, anonymity and a collective narrative of discrimination. The queer Gorkha negotiates its space through livelihood opportunities- a Pink economy/Pink market for any acquired skills and a chance to freely express choices and desire under the garb of anonymity. The urban spaces provide solidarity of a visible queer movement and avenues for community building and networking. In short, the sexually ambivalent are constantly seeking spaces that provide an escape from one’s kin and region. The paper attempts to untangle the knotty braids of a Militarized Masculine Gorkha identity and problematise Masculinities and Queerness. It aims to unravel the circumvents, constrictions and contortions of sexual ambiguity among the Gorkha. Post decriminalising Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code by the Supreme Court of India. An Armyman’s sexual orientation would not hinder, nor would it mean a guaranteed free pass to indulge in gay sex in the Army. The paper attempts to weave the ethnographic accounts gathered between 2011 and 2021 from personal interviews of 60 informants and chart the ethno-narratives of the sexually ambivalent native Nepali speaking/Gorkha men in/from India’s Northeast.

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Dec 4th, 12:00 AM

Sexually Ambivalent Gorkha and Pink Migrations from North-East India

The Gorkha have multiple challenges to negotiate within the Northeast and outside the region. From being fetishised as exotic to erotic to ‘chinky’, the body becomes a site of a political struggle, reclamation and resistance. In the context of the Militarized Masculinities of Gorkha, one repeatedly hears of a ‘Bir Gorkha’, a ‘Gorkha Cheli Beti’, but never a Queer Gorkha. Contextualised to the ‘Gorkha’, Queerness or ambivalence in sexualities is an oxymoron. The sexually ambivalent Gorkha, living at intersections of subjectivities, experiences constant anxieties about defining, defending, and negotiating their sexuality and belonging. ‘Leaving ‘Home’ in search of a newer ‘Home’ becomes the indelible feature of the sexually ambivalent. ‘Pink Migration’ within India to the metropolitan centers provides interesting insights into the trend of ‘leaving ‘Home’ searching for a newer ‘Home’. These cities become a gateway to survival, anonymity and a collective narrative of discrimination. The queer Gorkha negotiates its space through livelihood opportunities- a Pink economy/Pink market for any acquired skills and a chance to freely express choices and desire under the garb of anonymity. The urban spaces provide solidarity of a visible queer movement and avenues for community building and networking. In short, the sexually ambivalent are constantly seeking spaces that provide an escape from one’s kin and region. The paper attempts to untangle the knotty braids of a Militarized Masculine Gorkha identity and problematise Masculinities and Queerness. It aims to unravel the circumvents, constrictions and contortions of sexual ambiguity among the Gorkha. Post decriminalising Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code by the Supreme Court of India. An Armyman’s sexual orientation would not hinder, nor would it mean a guaranteed free pass to indulge in gay sex in the Army. The paper attempts to weave the ethnographic accounts gathered between 2011 and 2021 from personal interviews of 60 informants and chart the ethno-narratives of the sexually ambivalent native Nepali speaking/Gorkha men in/from India’s Northeast.