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A collection of oral histories
of LGBT persons

16. R.Raj Rao

R.Raj Rao

Raj's contribution to writings and discussions about Indian
queer literature is immense, though he himself hates to be
branded as a queer writer, because his work expands and
grows beyond it. From a traditional family in Mumbai, Raj's
exploration of his sexual desires was mostly possible in
crowded trains, parks and public washrooms. He makes no
bones about the fact that he does not subscribe to class or
caste when it comes to looking for lovers or partners, just
as the characters of his world renowned books Boyfriend
and Hostel Room 131. His writings reflect the angst and
passion of the Indian middle and lower middle class gay
men whose sexuality is often subsumed within the
patriarchal traditions. Raj is one of the few out gay Indian
professors who also runs a queer study course at the
Pune University where he has been teaching for almost
two decades.

Vivek Anand

Concept, Interviews & Direction:
Sridhar Rangayan

project BOLO - vol1

Watch BOLO Video of R.Raj Rao


Excerpts from BOLO Interview

Raj: I met this boy who was 19 years old, Dalit (working
lower class) and I met him at Churchgate loo and… I was
a great one for washroom sex, I still swear by it. I think the
internet is no match!! Washroom sex is extremely sensuous
and internet sex doesn't have half of that sensuality. This is
where I met Rakesh and we took it from there and the fact
that something begins in so sordid a way, blossoms into a
serious relationship… it is a quite amazing and should be
recorded. I think the book does it.

Working men is always my hero. The attraction could come
from my early romance with Marxism, but a younger working
man was better. I didn't have problems finding the kind of
people I want and having sex. I had all my friends - who are
professionals, academics, both gay and straight. But when
it comes to my love life - it is a very different type of guy that
I am looking for.

The thing is to shun stereotypes… and if you would detect
stereotype, then one should try to move away from it. Having
said that, it should be left to the individual... Stereotyping is
the silliest thing to do, as anybody could be a gay man or a
homosexual. That's what the word 'queer' does, it includes all
these people under the ambit of 'queer'.

Also when you talk about stereotyping, we are talking about
certain segment of society that is affluent, what about who
are outside the affluent society but are also queer?



India : Queer Ink
International : Amazon

Supported by
UNDP India
Produced by
The Humsafar Trust

Associate Producer
Solaris Pictures
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