This paper is concerned with the experiences of violence visited upon Queer folk and the peculiar predicament where such violence becomes a resource for the Queer movement to lay claims to speaking for and as an injured body, and ultimately to make claims to citizenship. Where social, political, economic conflict/tension plays out on particular bodies, activists find themselves engaged in the work of bringing these instances to bear upon their projects of citizenship. In order for this to happen the global form of 'homophobia' is evoked and these experiences are in turn made intelligible as instances of 'Homophobic Hate Crimes'. This is a process, I suggest, through which the erotic dimensions of these experiences are disavowed. This is also a process through which a ‘bad’, sexualised Queer body is distinguished from a ‘good’ one. Based on fieldwork in Shillong, a small city in the North Eastern state of Meghalaya, a few months after the particularly brutal murder of a local gay man, this chapter examines the relationship between eroticism and violence and argues that the extraction of the former from the latter disables our ability to acknowledge homoeroticism within the State.
Akshay Khanna is a queer activist and has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. His doctoral research relates to the emergence of sexuality as a political object in people’s movements and civil society formations in India. An aspect of this research relates to the engagement of activism relating to health with issues of sexuality. Akshay is a founder member of Prism - a queer activist forum based in Delhi which carries out dialogue on sexuality with various progressive groups and movements and has earlier worked as a human rights lawyer focusing specifically on issues around health, HIV/AIDS and sexuality.