Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 March 2012
To be sure, sexuality is still not seen as a serious area for academic enquiry in India. The two constituencies that have taken sexuality up as a complex for research and action have been the women's movement and Women's Studies and the same-sex rights movement in India (more popularly known as the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and, increasingly, as the ‘queer’ movement, another indication of how globalisation matters given the currency of this term in contexts like India despite its provenance in US academia). Both these constituencies – feminists and LGBT folk – are themselves fledgling and marginal to mainstream political and academic life in India, the two arenas in which they seek to make interventions. Consequently, their claim that sexuality needs to be focused on is also fledgling and marginal.
Both movements have used the academic and the cultural as important vehicles in the articulation of their positions and these positions have been built as much on the streets as in theoretical and academic knowledge production. Further, this articulation has borrowed heavily from the available languages of feminism and sexuality-based movements in the West (by which I mean Western Europe and North America), as the presence of both movements in the West preceded their formal formation as movements in the Third world. Both the women's movement and the LGBT one from their inception here have been accused of being imports from the West, inauthentic and inorganic to the Indian contexts.