Call for Submissions: Anthology of South Asian Queer Erotica

•August 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Call for submissions: Anthology Of South Asian Queer Erotica [title forthcoming]
To be published by Tranquebar Press in 2012

The spaces for expressing queer concerns have increased across South Asia in the last decade. Much is being written about sexuality, rights and queer lives. Yet, in all of this, sex itself doesn’t get written about very much and there is a dearth of queer erotica from South Asia. Contemporary queer erotica with a South Asian focus would make these queer lives apparent in newer and compelling ways. This anthology is an attempt to present queer, sexual, regional literature that pleasures and satisfies. It is about queer sex lives, erotic experiences and passions. Queer in this anthology represents non-normative genders, sexualities, lives and perspectives. It aims to bring out voices that have been limited to smaller groups or never heard before.

What we want:

We want stories of queer love, lust and craving. Sex, however you may define it, should be a big part of the story. We want gender play, auto-eroticism, dark fantasies, monogamous and non-monogamous sex, stories of bondage, domination, sadism and masochism. We are looking for stories of deep passions, stories that complicate sex. We want stories of desire, fulfilled and unfulfilled. Stories that defy the gender binary. Stories of how you sexed up your aids and appliances. Stories on masturbation or the pleasures of paid sex. Stories of how you steamed up a bus ride, ended a clandestine affair or fucked with sex toys. Share with us stories that confront, redefine, dispute and reclaim what sex is. Let your stories queer erotica itself.

We invite you to write short stories with South Asian themes, characters and places reflected in them. We are looking for a wide expression of experiences across age, region, class, ability, gender and sexual identities. Stories can be fictional, semi-fictional and non-fiction, but we are not looking for academic or solely autobiographical writing on sexuality. Your stories will shatter the silences around queer erotic lives and encompass their diversities, so let us have them.

Who can write:

We want to foreground the queer voices of people living in or originally from South Asia. Queer includes but is not restricted to identities like lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex, hijra, kothi, questioning, genderqueer, genderfluid and pansexual. Authors do not necessarily have to identify with one or more of these identities but the stories they submit should reflect non-normative genders, sexualities, lives and perspectives.

How to submit:

We are looking for short stories with a word limit of no less than 3000 words. We regret that we are unable to include poetry.

All submissions should be in English. Translations from other languages are allowed as long as the author owns the rights to the translation as well.

Please submit the story as an email attachment on a word document. Please include a title and word count.

Do not include your name or any other identifiers in the word document. As we are using a blind submissions process, we will have to reject submissions that indicate the author’s identity in the body of the story.

Authors will be informed whether their work is selected by mid-October. At that time, we will request you to provide a name under which you wish to be published and a short bio.

All selected authors will receive a one-time payment. The copyright of the story will remain with the author.

The deadline for submission is 15th September 2011.

Send your stories to queerotic.stories@gmail.com

Now get writing about the kind of sex you have wanted to read about. And get us swooning!

About the editors:
Meenu is a queer feminist activist. She has been involved with issues of gender and sexuality through women’s rights organisations and autonomous collectives for the last six years. She lives in Delhi and is an avid reader of erotica.

Shruti is currently based in Bombay. In the last eight years, she has actively engaged with the women’s and queer movements in the country. Over the years, she has worked as a researcher, social worker and counsellor.

The Poetics of Sex

•November 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

by Jeanette Winterson. Need I say more? Go, read it now!

I forgot to mention that I can’t resist posting brilliant poetry….

•October 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

Splittings

from The Dream of a Common Language

by Adrienne Rich

1.

My body opens over San Francisco like the day –

light raining down      each pore crying the change of light

I am not with her     I have been waking off and on

all night to that pain     not simply absence but

the presence of the past      destructive

to living here and now      Yet if I could instruct

myself, if we could learn to learn from pain

even as it grasps us      if the mind, the mind that lives

in this body could refuse      to let itself be crushed

in that grasp     it would loosen      Pain would have to stand

off from me and listen     its dark breath still on me

but the mind could begin to speak to pain

and pain would have to answer:

We are older now

we have met before     these are my hands before your eyes

my figure blotting out      all that is not mine

I am the pain of division      creator of divisions

it is I who blot your lover from you

and not the time-zones or the miles

It is not separation calls me forth      but I

who am separation      And remember

I have no existence      apart from you

2.

I believe I am choosing something now

not to suffer uselessly     yet still to feel

Does the infant memorize the body of the mother

and create her in absence?     or simply cry

primordial loneliness?      does the bed of the stream

once diverted      mourning       remember the wetness?

But we, we live so much in these

configurations of the past      I choose

to separate her     from my past we have not shared

I choose not to suffer uselessly

to detect primordial pain as it stalks toward me

flashing its bleak torch in my eyes     blotting out

her particular being     the details of her love

I will not be divided      from her or from myself

by myths of separation

while her mind and body in Manhattan are more with me

than the smell of eucalyptus coolly burning      on these hills

3.

The world tells me I am its creature

I am raked by eyes     brushed by hands

I want to crawl into her for refuge     lay my head

in the space     between her breast and shoulder

abnegating power for love

as women have done      or hiding

from power in her love     like a man

I refuse these givens      the splitting

between love and action      I am choosing

not to suffer uselessly      and not to use her

I choose to love      this time      for once

with all my intelligence.

Shifting gears

•September 7, 2009 • 3 Comments

I’m really not sure anymore what place this blog has in my life these days. It started as a secret outlet for the thoughts and ideas about sexuality, bodies, queerness that I couldn’t say out loud; for a while it helped me make sense, through writing, of various experiences and relationships I’d had that again, I couldn’t talk about to anyone; and it let me explore a particular kind of writing, erotic, sensual, open to sensation — that again, I couldn’t do otherwise. But, over the past year, everything has changed.

Instead of writing, I’ve been having face to face conversations with a variety of interesting, stimulating, awe-inspiring people, learning from them, tentatively testing out my own truths, and then afterwards finding that I can’t write about it on a blog. I scribble in my diary, as always, and I send excited emails etc, but it’s all private, intimate,  in a way that even a password protected post here cannot begin to be.

Meanwhile, some intense relationships have loosened their hold on me and been put to rest, and new ones have inevitably sprung up, which is its own type of inexpressible happiness, and again, too private, too intimate, too immediate to write about here. And if nothing else, this is a tiny community, and I would worry entirely too much about everyone’s privace to be comfortable writing about any of them, lovers or not, online.

So that leaves the third type of writing and, to be honest, I’m really only tempted to write here when that mood strikes. So, I’m thinking — still thinking — about revamping this whole blog, which I rather like actually, in spite of all the adolescent angst littering it, and writing only (or mainly) erotic things. I’m not sure that anyone actually  reads me here still, but consider this fair warning!

Oh, and yes, I’ve changed back to the dark and misty green layout. It’s still the character this place has, in my mind.

Hello again

•April 21, 2009 • 3 Comments

Back, hopefully for a while. Things have changed, things need to change… among others, the layout here. I’ve also chopped off my hair in the flesh, so a drastic new style here seems entirely appropriate. Catching up, meanwhile, where I can.

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•April 21, 2009 • Enter your password to view comments.

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Doctor on the Boil

•July 8, 2008 • 7 Comments

This isn’t the post I’ve been planning to write, the one about the amazing Pride march in Delhi. It’s not even the alternative post about queer community that’s been percolating in my mind the last couple of weeks. I will write those too, but first I have to get this one off my chest.

I went to get a general health check-up, which turned, rather unexpectedly, into a session with a gynaecologist. This is one area where I hate not to be in charge, hate not knowing what is being said, hate feeling like I have no control over my own body and that someone else has the right to poke around in it and pronounce judgement. Generally I approach these things with fear, and so I deal with it by doing a lot of research beforehand — how to find a doctor who will be queer-friendly, what sort of experience does (s)he have, does (s)he specialise in something specific, what are my questions for this visit, why am I going here at all, where are the copies of my previous visits’ reports, do I still remember the difference between amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea from the last time I mugged it up?  Usually after all that, the visit isn’t bad — maybe because I’ve done all this homework beforehand and have everything prepared, almost all the gynaecologists listen to my explanations, and, if asked, explain what they are doing and why (they look surprised at being asked, but then so do optometrists, and dentists, and car mechanics…); and if they prescribe anything,  tell me exactly what it is, what it does, what the side effects may be, and that it’s my choice to take it at all. Not too much to expect from a doctor, right? Apparently not.

This time I found myself face to face with a woman I knew nothing about, who decided sometime in the first 5 minutes, while I was still sitting in front of her with all my clothes on, that she knew what was wrong with me, and that was it, she wasn’t going to listen to anything that might contradict her ideas. As it happens, her idea was something I’ve been misdiagnosed with before, and it was proved wrong, and I said so, but I didn’t have any of the paperwork with me, and she clearly didn’t care about a word I said. She was so sure that she was right that she began dictating a prescription without doing a proper exam — she didn’t even bother to weigh me! Then she asked me to take off my shirt and after looking at me like I was some sort of loathsome slug, became fixated on medicines for hair and weight loss.

Now, I know that I have more hair than the average woman on most of my body. I’ve had it ever since I hit puberty, and I used to be terribly ashamed about it, and secretly wonder what I’d done to be cursed with it, and try to make bargains with the universe about it — I’ll find a cure for cancer/become a nun/never eat ice cream again if I can only be normal now…. But over time, and after seeing other real women’s bodies, instead of only whatever fantasies you get on TV, I’ve realised that 1) it’s not that much — most men are still a lot hairier than I am, 2) it’s not that unusual — about 50% of my female friends, gay, straight, Indian, Caucasian, whatever, have some amount of body hair somewhere that the ideal woman doesn’t, 3) it doesn’t hurt me — I’m still very much a healthy, sometimes attractive woman, in spite of it, and 4) I don’t really care. Seriously. It stopped being an unexploded bomb after the first time I let someone else see me naked and realised that she still thought I was beautiful, and after that, it’s steadily lost any power it had over me to become a harmless shadow of the fear I used to live with. For the last year particularly, I’ve treated it in the same way that most women treat their arm hair — most of the time I don’t bother to do anything about it, since it’s perfectly acceptable anyway, and if sometimes there’s a special reason to care about my appearance, I’ll put in the extra time to get rid of it temporarily, for my own sense of occasion. I guess I’ve been lucky to live with people who also don’t care about it.

So, at first I was honestly puzzled, lying there in that clinic, wondering why the doctor was looking so disgustedly at me. When she began speaking, she started with a weight loss medicine, and I still had no clue what was going on — I’m not skinny, but it’s a far cry from needing diet pills! When she’d listed three more medicines, I finally asked her what they were for, and realised that she was prescribing hormones aimed at hair loss. Even then, I thought she’d just misunderstood, and I kept trying to tell her that no, really, I don’t care about the hair, can you just deal with the real gynaecological problem here, please? I kept saying It doesn’t bother me, mujhe usse koi dikkat nahi parti and she kept writing down more and more blood tests and possible combinations of hormones, and starting unfinished sentences about you’ll want to get married soon and it doesn’t look nice and abhi tumne socha nahi hai and I finally shut up, took the paper from her, and walked out, vowing never to return.

I can’t stop fuming about this. I know that even a year ago, if this had happened to me, I’d want to just curl up in a ball of shame and self-loathing and die, and all my anger would have been turned into whininess about life being unfair. Now, I’m just furious at the doctor for being so bloody-minded that she ignored a legitimate medical complaint to concentrate on this purely cosmetic, unimportant thing. Is the beauty myth really that overt now, that the idea of my attractiveness to society is more important than my health?

 
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