Priyanka Chopra in Saheli-Ana: Why Should Boys Have All the Fun?

I can turn my brain off for a second and enjoy this video of Priyanka Chopra in a new avatar:

Of course, I don’t understand why the other woman has to appear dressed like a man to denote that kind of ‘Dostana.’ This adoption of gayness for humor is a troubling trend that reveals the deeper homophobic attitude of India. Why on earth is a gay relationship funny and any different than a straight relationship?

So far, only men have been acting gay for humor on the big Bollywood stage (Saif Ali Khan and Shahrukh Khan have entertained us with their gay act for far too many Filmfare Awards), but now Priyanka takes the cake for going a notch further.

Top 5 Bollywood Lesbian Icons

What is a lesbian or gay icon?

A gay icon or LGBT icon is a historical figure, celebrity or public figure who is embraced by many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; the term Dykon, a portmanteau of the words “dyke” and “icon,” has recently entered the lexicon as a word to describe lesbian icons.[1]

These could be referred to as dykons and mind you, that does not mean they are gay or that I am insinuating their sexuality–they are simply Bollywood stars who make excellent lesbian icons due to their strength, personality and various character portrayals.

Lisa Ray

The obvious choice. Lisa Ray has played gay not once, but twice (When Kiran Met Karen, The World Unseen) in her short career that also spans incredibly movies like Bollywood Hollywood and Water. These are all must-watch movies mostly in English, with underlying cultural, racial and feminist themes. She is certainly not Bollywood A-List, but I commend Lisa Ray for taking on these roles without hesitancy and serving the Indian LGBT community in doing so.

Bipasha Basu

Oomph, attitude, looks and brains. Enough said.

And before you ask, here is a larger size of the above mag cover.

Neil Nitin Mukesh recently said that Bipasha Basu was intimidating to men. After all, she is not only beautiful, tall and strong, she has an incredible personality that can even give her cool boyfriend, John Abraham (definitely a gay icon), a complex. Her performance in Dhoom 2 as a talented and beautiful cop pretty much cements her as an icon for lesbian women. Anyone who has seen her introduction scene in Dhoom 2 where tough-cop (Lara Croft rip-off) Basu hits the bulls eye with her gun and then struts down the corridor in those tight jeans and tank top would know what I mean. Her role in Corporate as a strong business executive also places her high on this list.

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Bidding Farewell to the L Word – The Last Word

“I certainly hope that it leaves them wanting more. I’m not intending to wrap everything up with a neat little bow!”

Finale Special (Not the episode)

Fans remain disgruntled with the poor storylines and choppy scenes of the last season (and especially the last episode) of the L Word. Was Ilene Chaiken trying to go out on such a bad note just so to make it easier on us to say ‘goodbye?’ It didn’t help — a crime mystery centered around ‘Who Killed Jenny?’ who is an alter-ego for the writer is quite meta as in ‘Who killed the L Word?’ (Answer: Ilene Chaiken), but not particularly intriguing given that by the time it was close to be over, we all wanted to kill Jenny (And I have wanted to kill her since I was barely 18 and legal). The entire sixth season was about providing a launching pad for The Farm — the new series that serves as a spin-off for the L Word, which is based in prison and much darker. The legacy of the L word though, is in the 69 other episodes and the 6 glorious years, which comes as the end of an era for women around the world who were so hooked to this show.

Critics may not be able to comprehend that the ladies on the show are not supposed to be representative of the whole lesbian community — that is actually not possible, but rather, represented a small community of lesbians in West Hollywood who are glamorous, chic, sophisticated and more concerned about their hair and makeup than Prop 8 (the measure actually won in LA County). The show was surprisingly slammed for it’s lack of diversity but what other television program has a bi-racial, 40-something, straight and married woman as the ‘gay for pay’ lead? However, we aren’t trying to build diversity through tokenism. As the show continued, we dropped ‘identity-politics’ in favor of ‘identifying’ with the characters as we discovered that L stands for love no matter who we are. I identified with Bette Porter more than anyone else and we are miles apart in terms of ‘social categories.’

Not anywhere near perfect, the groundbreaking show helped thousands of women all over the world come out of the closet, live strongly and freely and feel like part of a community. It gave our straight friends a ‘reference point’ for what lesbian life and culture is all about. More than anything, it taught us to be utterly unapologetic of our gayness. Jennifer Lewis sums it well in the Examiner:

The L Word will be greatly missed by a lot of people. Never before in television history has a show spoke to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community like this one has. The show will certainly go down in history.

There are themes that could have been better explored and with much more sensitivity. Dropping the ball on Alice’s (Leisha Hailey) bisexuality was one of the more irresponsible things that the show did given that there is a serious need to not stereotype bisexuality as a transition phase. The FTM character played by Daniela Sea, turned out to be more of a ‘token’ inclusion than a real exploration of issues surrounding transgenderism especially with the pregnant man storyline. Shane’s (Kate Moenning) lothario ways should at least have come with a ‘public service announcement’ of safe-sex.  In the last season, we get our first Asian-American character (Jamie played by Mei Melancon) with a substantial storyline, who is somehow stripped of her ‘Asian-American’ culture, save for her physical features. While Rose Rollin’s (Tasha) ‘angry black lesbian’ character gives us a lot to talk about in terms of racial issues and DADT in the military, the rich, complex and luminous character–Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals)–could have gifted us a great lee-way into a more political sphere, but we never really get there. Political messages, besides were instead delivered as soundbites and with a subtlety that is telling of our WeHO community: How much do we really care?

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Sovereignty and Same-Sex Marriage – Native American Tribes

Given the sovereignty of Native American tribes within the United States and the fact that the tribes are allowed to do certain activities that are illegal for the general United States public (i.e. smoking peyote), marriage also falls under this category. However, it still does not grant the couple federal benefits since there is no such thing as “same-sex marriage” under federal law.

It boggles my mind how discrimination so clearly and blatantly in violation of equal protection laws continues to thrive. I don’t understand what the government gains from creating and treating a special category of peoples as different and subhuman. Wouldn’t acknowledging same-sex marriage give more power and legitimacy to the state as well as prolong the life of the dying institution of marriage? Keeping people in the ‘waiting rooms of history’ where they await the chance to live their lives freely, has the potential of creating communities in conflict with the flow of government. Of course the ‘handouts’ such as ‘civil unions’ and hospital visitation rights, serves to keep these communities formed in the ‘waiting rooms of history’ in relative harmony with the state. And the case in discussion is just another one of those ‘handouts.’

At the request of a lesbian couple, the Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast has adopted a law recognizing same-sex marriage.

Tribal law specialists say this appears to be the first time a tribe has actively sanctioned such marriages. Most tribal law ignores the issue. The Navajo and Cherokee tribes prohibit same-sex marriages.

The impact of the tribe’s action, first reported by The Oregonian newspaper, appears limited to its small reservation, given Oregon and federal prohibitions against gay marriage. The couple planning their wedding at the tribal plankhouse don’t seem to care, saying they seek only tribal recognition and equal tribal treatment.

“For me, the important thing wasn’t about rights or the benefits,” 25-year-old Kitzen Branting told the Eugene Register-Guard. “I just wanted the tribe to say ‘Yes, we recognize that you are just as important as any other tribe member, and we will treat you and your spouse as we treat all tribal members.’ “

Legal scholars said that tribes do have authority over domestic relations among tribal members, but Congress may have the ultimate say-so.

“It can do anything good or anything bad to the tribes and the Indian people as citizen Indians,” said Robert Miller, who teaches Indian law at the Lewis & Clark College School of Law in Portland.

He said the tribes have all the rights they have historically held unless Congress takes them away or the tribes give them up by treaty.

“Congress is the 900-pound gorilla in the corner,” Miller said. He said it is a vague and generally unknown loophole that can remove tribal powers.

Bill Funk, who teaches constitutional law at Lewis & Clark, compared the Coquille action to that of states that recognize same-sex marriages even though the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 does not and says other states and tribes needn’t do so.

“Under federal law, these are not marriages,” said Funk.

He said the lack of federal recognition could make the couple ineligible for marriage-related Social Security and other federal benefits.

He compared the tribe to Massachusetts, which recognizes same-sex marriages although the federal government does not

Oregon voters amended the state constitution in 2004 to prohibit gay marriage. But with its sovereignty recognized by the federal government, the tribe is not bound by that. Oregon does recognize civil unions.

A same-sex couple from the Cherokee nation in Oklahoma applied for a marriage license there in 2004 and had a ceremony, then the tribe outlawed same-sex marriages after the fact.

At least two tribal lawsuits challenging the marriage have been thrown out and a third is in process, said Shannon Minter, an attorney for the San Francisco-based Center for Lesbian Rights, who represents the couple.

Two women get jailed and deported for kissing in public

Dubai: Two women who were standing trial for kissing and cuddling on a public beach have been sentenced to one a month prison term followed by deportation.

The women, a 30-year-old Lebanese visitor and 36-year-old Bulgarian employee, had pleaded not guilty to kissing, cuddling and sleeping on each other like a married couple before the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour.

The Public Prosecution charged the girls with kissing, groping each other and indecently gesturing in public.

Initial interrogations revealed that the two women were spotted being intimate together on a public beach between Sharjah and Dubai.

Witnesses claimed that they saw the Lebanese woman sleeping over the Bulgarian and the two were cuddling.

I don’t want to hear from cultural relativists or any spirited defense of the regression of some cultures. Love is a universal emotion; there is nothing ‘relative’ about it. I am glad I wasn’t brought up anywhere near South Asia or the Middle East.