Section 377, a law that criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal,” has had a long and contentious history in India since it was first introduced by the British in 1861. It was challenged in 2001, struck down in 2009, upheld in 2013, and once again struck down in 2018.
The 2009 Naz judgment on Section 377 delivered by the High Court has come to be a landmark judgment in recent times. The judgment is poignant, not only because it empowered the queer community, but also because it spoke of the government’s interference in the spheres of privacy and freedom as something that affects everyone- therefore universalizing the sense of repression felt by those who identify as queer.
Using extracts from this judgement as a backdrop, this piece ties together 4 stories- a teenager who is desperate to know what it means to be a real man, a young adult who looks back at his secretly queer childhood, the guilt of another young man who has failed the masculinity ideal, and a policeman who makes it his business to ensure the purity of our culture.
Referencing queer performance artist Tim Miller's intensely private manner and genderqueer musician and performer Vaginal Davis' alienating and subversive tactics, the show is a blend of realism and the grotesque. Funny, moving, and irreverent, this piece takes a satirical looks at images in popular culture and turns them on their heads- providing an inclusive and empowering manner of negotiating these images; as well as inviting members of the audience to have a long hard look at the monsters that they themselves have been complicit in creating. (Additional Direction and Dramaturgy: Sheena Khalid).