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South Asian Literatures: Diaspora  
page: 1  2  3  4  

A Lotus of Another Color

The emergence of an international South Asian gay and lesbian community is most clearly reflected in the pioneering anthology A Lotus of Another Color: An Unfolding of the South Asian Gay and Lesbian Experience (1993). Edited by Rakesh Ratti, this volume consists of coming-out narratives, poetry, fiction, biography, and formal essays by thirty-two gay, lesbian, and bisexual contributors from around the world.

Some of the entries in the volume attempt to document gay and lesbian presence in the histories, mythologies, and religious traditions of South Asia; others articulate the lived and imagined experiences of contemporary South Asian gay men and lesbians.

Some of the most compelling pieces in the anthology are the autobiographical narratives that reveal the complex intersections of ethnicity, migrancy, post-coloniality, and (homo)sexuality in the lives of diasporic South Asians. The individual voices in the volume suggest the heterogeneity of the South Asian queer experience; yet their voices, collectively, succeed eminently in defining and articulating a singular South Asian queer identity.

A landmark event in the history of South Asian gay and lesbian writing, the publication of A Lotus of a Different Color will no doubt give impetus to the growth of this fledgling literary tradition.

Emmanuel S. Nelson

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arts >> Overview:  Asian Film

The recent popularity of Asian films with English-language audiences has allowed Western audiences a glimpse of Asian gay and lesbian identities and gender ambiguities in high-profile queer films.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hinduism

The dominant religion of modern India, Hinduism is no longer as tolerant of same-sex sexual relations as it seems to have been in the past.

social sciences >> Overview:  India

Indian thought towards same-sex eroticism and gender variance was more tolerant in the past than it is today.

arts >> Overview:  Indian Art

Not only is sexuality celebrated in Indian art, but many of India's gods also consider gender to be a fluid affair, sometimes manifesting as androgynes and sometimes switching gender altogether.

literature >> Dattani, Mahesh

Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.

social sciences >> Hijras

The Hijras--men who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for generations, maintaining a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition.

literature >> Kanga, Firdaus

Indian writer Firdaus Kanga has explored the intersection of two kinds of marginality: that based on being a member of a sexual minority and that based on being a disabled person.

literature >> Kureishi, Hanif

Although he does not employ the idiom of identity politics, Hanif Kureishi frequently gives gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals significant roles in his works.

literature >> Selvadurai, Shyam

Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Shyam Selvadurai has emerged as a significant figure in post-colonial and gay writing by virtue of the style, wit, and perspicacity of his three novels.


Brooks, Brenda. "Words Invent the World: An Interview with Gillian Hanscombe & Suniti Namjoshi." Trikone 2.4 (November 1987): 1, 4.

Chughtai, Ismat. "Lihaf." Trans. Surjit Singh Dulai and Carlo Coppola. Trikone 5.2 (March-April 1990): 1-3.

Knippling, Alpana Sharma. "Hanif Kureishi." Writers of the

Indian Diaspora: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Emmanuel S. Nelson, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993. 159-168.

McGifford, Diane. "Suniti Namjoshi." Writers of the Indian Diaspora: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Emmanuel S. Nelson, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993. 291-297.

Parmar, Pratibha. "The Conversations of Cow: Suniti Namjoshi's Thoughts on Being a Woman, Lesbian, and Indian." Trikone 4.4 (July-August 1989): 1-4.

Rashid, Ian. Black Markets, White Boyfriends and Other Acts of Elision. Toronto: Toronto South Asian Review Press, 1991.

Ratti, Rakesh, ed. A Lotus of Another Color: An Unfolding of the South Asian Gay and Lesbian Experience. Boston: Alyson, 1993.


    Citation Information
    Author: Nelson, Emmanuel S.  
    Entry Title: South Asian Literatures: Diaspora  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated March 30, 2009  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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