Saturday, 18 February 2017

Literature Review: Queer Studies

Literature Review
Submitted to
P. G. Centre of M. Phil.
Swami Shahjanand College of Commerce & Management
(Affiliated to Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University)

For the Award of the
Degree of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in English

Research Supervisor
Research Scholar
Dr. Hetal J. Mehta
Swami Sahajanand College of Commerce & Management
Ms. Nidhi Jasani
P. G. Centre of M. Phil.
Swami Sahajanand College of Commerce & Management

Enrollment No.: 2154112220170001


Table of Contents









LGBT people are human being. However society or some people cannot accept them as humans. This LGBT people face many problems. They struggle for their existents and survival in this society where only two genders are exist men and women. Here researcher tries to find out and represent their problems. LGBT people are marginalized in mainstream society. Now they get some space along with they raise their voice for their social rights. Even in literature some writers have started writing on LGBT people. And few critique started one theory, is “Queer Theory”, in which they tries to shows the social, economical, and psychological suppuration or marginalization of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender people in ordinary society.  

Theory of Marginalization

LGBT suffers in society; rather they are marginalized in normal human beings and known as ‘other’. Theory of marginalization, make clear about what is queer theory, what are their problems. There is range of people who are marginalized in their society and culture. It suggests that marginalization is not a little thing but it is widely spread over the world. Marginalized people are avoided by powerful people and by power position. Generally in marginalization there is absence economic power, social value or equality, lack of political right and knowledge, lack of medical awareness and lack of power. Marginalization is dangerous and harmful thing in the world. It is also based on class, cast, race and gender. People who not belongs to higher class, who are not belongs to white race, and particular higher cast they are known as marginalized people. In gender biasness male are in power position so, women are marginalized, and in social perspective the third gender ‘gay’ people are marginalized. Seeing to the problem this way leads to the following definition of the marginalized by political philosopher Iris Marion Young, in her study of justice: “Marginals are people the system of labor cannot or will not use.” Its definition of marginalization is: “Marginalization occurs when people are systematically excluded from meaningful participation in economic, social, political, cultural and other forms of human activity in their communities and thus are denied the opportunity to fulfill themselves as human beings.” She is writing about the United States, she includes the elderly. Again we see the multidimensional character of marginalization. It goes beyond poverty, although the poor are often marginalized. Marginalization is a phenomenon of material resources, but it also includes, for both the EFA Forum and for Irish Marion Young, lack of capacity to participate politically and culturally, in markets and in other institutions. Lines of social difference and discrimination often overlay, indeed sometimes promote, patterns of marginalization (Jenson). It makes clear that how this marginalized especially LGBT struggle for their survival. Under the postcolonial theory, theory of marginalization gives the voice to those people who are suppressed in society. It stands against the power position or power structure of society. Through this it is clear that this queer people are marginalized not only in society but politically, economically and they are voice less. Theory of marginalization is study of the rights and power of the people who are socially and economically suprase (marginalized).

Queer Theory and Studies

When one start studding on Queers, it is important to know about what Queer Theory is and who is/was founder of the theory. It is necessary to know about Queer theory, what queer theory do. For whom this particular theory works?  Where queer theory begins? It is a part of postcolonial studies or theory. Queer theory largely talks about categorization of gender and sexuality or sexual identity, especially LGBTs. The idea of gender is itself problematic. If there is no identity of gender, not categorized it then it not creates those problems of gender biasness, however it is not possible. That’s why there is need of gender studies and queer theory. Generally queer theory connected with post colonial and post structuralism theory. In around of 1970 many writer have starts use this post structuralism and theory of deconstruction in sexually or sexual identity, especially in queer. With the help of post structuralism critique of queer theory started deconstructing the sexual identity.   
Queer theory is derived largely from post –structuralism theory, and deconstruction in particular. Queer is an inclusive umbrella term for those not only deemed as sexually deviant in relations to a social hegemony but also used to describe those who feel marginalized as a result of social practices and identity. The term queer theory was introduced in 1990, with Eva Kosofasky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Adrienne Rich and Diana Fuss (all largely following the work of Michel Foucault) being among its foundational proponents. Annamarie Jagose wrote Queer Theory: An Introduction in 1997. Recently, this term has been used as an umbrella term for a coalition of sexual identities that are culturally marginalized, and at other times, to create discourse surrounding the budding theoretical model that primarily arose through more traditional lesbian and gay studies. There is an abundance of identities in which Queer Theory not only recognizes but also breaks down in relation to other contributing factors like race, class, religion, etc. queer is a product of specific cultural and theoretical pressures. It is important to understand that the terms ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ are static, Eurocentric labels that fail to be universal when looking at a transnational scale. It is merely reductive to view Queer Theory as a byname for Gay and Lesbian studies when the two fields have stark differences (Wikipedia, Queer Theory). Queer theory is huge term, it is study of gender, start from the feminist theory. Feminism raises the question on gender discrimination, along with those questions people come to know about the problems and existence of LGBT. After that the “queer theory” becomes popular among literary critic. Queer theory is the theory for LGBT people; it studies the problems of the queer and tries to give voice to those people. There are some major critiques that try to identified problem of LGBT and present it in literature. It is complex or multilayered theory which includes field of gender studies. Queer theory also focused on culture, life style and language of the LGBT people. Queer critique tries to find out gender trouble.        

 Queer in Indian Society

Heterosexuality and queer studies are differently accepted in Indian culture and society, even in Indian religion also. There are different words used for LGBT in different regions of India. Indian people are more religious minded so they connect this kind of LGBT people with god. In Gujarat, a state of India, if a child birth and belong to this gay community, they give that child to Bahucharaji temple. And the LGBT community had known as “Bahucharaji na Bhagat” means worshipers of goddess Bahucharaji. Gay people have their cultural identity especially in Indian society, like they dress in sari with lot of makeup, these shows or identified that, that person belongs LGBT community. Queer includes those who openly wear sexual identities like lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and those who use indigenous terms like hijra, kothi, panthis to describe themselves. In addition to this, there are regional identities of sexual non conformity, such as jogappa and jogtas in northern Karnataka and Maharashtra or the shivshaktsis and gannacharis in parts of south India who are real and potential participants in ‘queer azadi’. But in using the word ‘queer’ and ‘queering’ I wish to draw attention  towards the fact that as a political and emancipator term ‘queer’ loses its radical potentials when it takes a purely cultural turn and tends to neglect the pervasive impact of political economy. By cultural turn I mean the queer protest which takes place through art, avant-garde experimentations and identity politics without incorporating material conditions in which subaltern sexual subjects poor ‘lesbians’ are entrapped. Interpretation of sexuality exclusively in terms of ‘discourse’, ‘performance’, ‘difference’ and ‘life style’ as disrupting hetronormativity inflected from issues of political economy and class should be seen in connection with corporate funding for research reshaping academic agenda (Kumar). Here in above paragraph there is description of different names give by people to LGBT people, and tries to find of what are their life style, culture and how they live in Indian society. From the ‘Vedic’ period in India gay people have their existents and it mention in the text of “Mahabharta”. In Mahabharta there is a reference of person whose name is Shikhandini, was a gay person. What are their religion identities in different place of India is also different from the different region of India. In Indian culture and society connect LGBT with religion. Apart from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, in India they have various names like Hijra and Kothi etc. In India there are many gay people work in whore house during night, especially in metro cities. It shows new culture-trend in Indian gay people, it can be for money, and also leads towards homosexuality.

Social and Economical Problems

Generally normal people do not accept LGBT as normal human, because of this attitude towards LGBT, LGBT people feels that they are subalterns. They faced many problems in this ordinary society. This people become member of social minority group who are live in same society but they have not their voice or not enough space in society. LGBT people are growing to be very broadly accepted as sexual marginalized. Not only sexual but also social, political and economical suppressed in ordinary society. All LGBT people are the members of the social suppressed and minority group, who are subjugate and suppressed by normal people. The people of this group are suffering from the political, economical, social, and cultural injustice in mainstream society. They have not their right as a citizen of particular country; LGBT people cannot enjoy their social right as a citizen. They only face those problems of gender discrimination, threat of sexual violence, harassment, mental violence because of their sexual orientation. The biggest problem of LGBT especially youth of LGBT is homelessness, because they need love and support from their family. However they cannot get love from family members, but they kicked out from the family and home. This is directly affected on their mental state, and psychology. This LGBT people are marginalized from many things like education, medical care, economical, and some legal rights also. It is extreme level of marginalization that LGBT have not their fundamental things and rights, like house, no family support, health or medical care, social suppuration, education.
LGBT individuals may experience multiple forms of marginalization-such as racism, sexism, poverty or other factors alongside homophobia or trans phobia that negatively impact on mental health. Marginalization of LGBT people often starts with the family into which they were born. According to one study, approximately 30 percent of LGBT youth in the U.S. have been physically abused by family members because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and LGBT youth are estimated to comprise up to 40 percent of the homeless youth population in the U.S. The family marginalization of LGBT youth hinders initial prevention and education efforts, encourages risk-taking behavior that can lead to HIV infection, and places obstacles in the way of receiving proper medical treatment and psychosocial support for LGBT youth already living with HIV/AIDS (Chatterjee) LGBT people face this kind of medical and social problems. This LGBT people face this kind of dangers disease like HIV/AIDS. They cannot get proper medical care for HIV/AIDS, because they have not enough money, and awareness about the disease, especially in youth of LGBT. Apart from this they also face social and mental problems, because of racism, sexism and poverty this factors leave negative impact on mental health of LGBT people. Family members also abuse them and rudely behave with the LGBT people; it leaves very bad effect on the mind of LGBT especially in youth. There is lack of medical awareness lead youth of LGBT towards a such a dangers dieses like HIV/AIDS.         Social problems of LGBT and how they feel marginalized in society. Some LGBT people hide their identity and behave as normal human beings, and they started working at some places. When authority of working place comes to know about identity of LGBT he/she kicked out from the job or working place. They try to become equal to common men. LGBT people have started working, but still they are marginalized. Since of their gender identity and sexuality they cannot get appropriate space in working place, sometime kicked out from working place. In society there is politics of sexual identity. As ‘normal’ dailt citizens share hegemonic sexual construction and participate in sexual exclusion, an elite queer may be marginalized in sexual terms but is able to access the material comforts of her own class-group. Such queer individuals can equally choose to remain apolitical and enjoy material comforts with ‘intimate relations’ of their choice which is evident in collection of gay short stores Pink Sheep authored by Mahesh Natrajan (2010). When social movements as a sub-field is almost as old as sociology itself and when the queer movement in India has two decade old history, why do movement studies fail to include mobilizations active in challenging sexual power. I end with a humble submission that every sociologist in India who considers ‘social suffering’ and ‘marginalization’ as authentic subjects and auto-ethnography as one of the reflective methods of sociology must read Truth about Me: A Hijra Life Story by A. Revathi written Tamil (Kumar). It is also happened that a person who work very well in any field, though that person kicked out from that place, for the reason that, that person belongs to LGBT community. Sometime LGBT kicked out by their family members also, especially their parents. There are several writer started writing about those particular group of people, in which they write about some basic problems of LGBT people. For any human being generally there is two things are important: social status (space in society) and economical power (money). In social media like Faecbook and Hike they only give two options Male/female, there is no space for the other (LGBT) people. It is not matter because now in many form we found that they give 3rd option of ‘Other’.

Psychological impact on LGBT

Not only social and economical suppuration but also there is psychologically they are suppressed. Even in schools and colleges they are physically harassed by normal student. In Indian constitution, there is little space for LGBT. The abnormal behavior of normal people with LGBT people is leaves deep effect or impact on the mind of the LGBT people. When a normal human started abusing LGBT people for their sexuality and sexual identity at that time they become psychological depressed. It affect their mind, mentally they become distress. It is also point of thinking that, if the gay people want to parents, however they are not able to be parents, they cannot get marriage. This physical deformity affect their psychology, mentally they think or accept that they are not equal to common men. LGBT people face extreme level of mental suppuration; rather we can say victimization because of their sexual orientation, especially youth. Higher perceived family, workplace and friendship support reduces psychological distress in LGBT people. Evidence suggests that a supportive school environment with clear anti-discrimination and anti-hate crime laws, LGBT people display lower levels of psychiatric disorders than do LGBT people in states without such protection. Finally, laws that provide equal rights for LGBT people would improve mental health. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to expand recognition of same-sex marriage in federal legal matters such as survivor benefits represents this type of change (Friedman). Psychologically they suffered, because some desire of LGBT is not full filed because of their sexual orientation. For that psychologically depression they need love and support from family and friends, but  they not get that support. Family has already leaved them and nobody wants to be friend of LGTB people. In schools and colleges gay people feel sexual insult by other normal student, this kind of sexual harassment, affect psychology of LGBT they feel marginalized and suppressed. That’s why from the childhood some gay people try to hide their sexual identity that they are belongs to LGBT community.

Representation of LGBT in Literature and Films

In literature and film how LGBT people are represented. It is good that they have given some space in film and fiction. No doubt that in literature and film they have not given an appropriate space. Film and fiction is good medium for describing and showing this problem of LGBT people to common people. Literature and films sensitively express social, cultural, historical and political status of LGBT people. Gay people time and again face marginalization in mainstream society and culture, nation and power. Through the help of literature and cinema (film) Indian writer want to demonstrate experience of LGBT. Their language, culture, life style, suppuration and many other things are highlighted in Indian film and fiction. What Sucheta Mallick tries to say is.  My dissertation argues that the representation of queer spaces in Indian literary and cinematic texts counters the disempowerment of the queer community in postcolonial India. I analyze a selection of literacy and filmic texts novels, short stories and a film from colonial India and the Indian Diaspora to demonstrate how queer space is constituted and configured within the context of this “unique” ambivalence, which results in a distinct kind of territorial reclamation. Historians of homoeroticism in the Indian subcontinent-Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai among them rightly point out that while same-sex desire was not uniformly valorized or celebrated in pre-colonial India, homosexuality rarely called for punitive measures before the British instituted the anti-sodomy law in 1861 (Choudhuri). With the help of some well known critics like Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, it is interesting explanation of the troubles and what is their position in film and fiction (literature). No dough that in film they are used for create laughter only. LGBT present as point of entertain people. In film and some drama film producer bring this character for crating laughter only, generally they are ridicules characters. However some film and fiction also tries to shows real problems of queer, especially homosexuality, for example ‘Gulabi Aaina’ (Pink Mirror) by Sridhar Rangayan and some other from other director.
This is the good example that how LGBT people are represent in literature. How they represent in literature, what are their mantel or psychological effect of how normal human beings are behave with them. Some time they want to hide their identity from normal people. Here Mahesh Dattni gives some point from one play, that what they feel when their identity revel among normal human, especially when they try to hide their original identity. Sometime LGBT people feel loneliness, at that time they need someone especially family member for support.   Characterization of bisexuals - Are They Hypocrites? There is a different opinion between Kamlesh and Ed, about the photograph. Kamlesh finds it beautiful whereas Ed calls it ugly and a piece of filth. Ed’s calling it ugly shows that he was not ready to leave any proof of his gay identity with Kamlesh. He also tries to commit suicide when he comes to know that Kiran and other people at the party and the wedding have seen the picture and his gay identity that he wanted to hide was revealed to the people. The fear, the loneliness and the conflicts of playing the traditional gender roles are fully displayed in On a Muggy Night in Mumbai. In many cases, homosexuality may exist by side with heterosexuality. The socio-psychological identity crisis of the gays, who are torn between the social taboos and their personal desires, their conscience and social consciences are discussed in the play On a Muggy Night in Mumbai. Dattani examines the psychology of persons who are by nature or by choice ‘gays’ or bi-sexual’ and the desire on the part of some of them to term heterosexual, by hiding their identity (Dattani). Through literary works some writer tries to represent the problem of LGBT people. It is different than one writer represent LGBT in their work from a person who is LGBT and presents their problems in different way. Now some LGBT people have also started write fiction. In which they try to shows their struggle against society, some LGBT writer become famous with the support of their family also. However they are very few that who get support from their family. The serial “Shakti Astitva ke Ahesaski” in which they tries to shows problems of LGBT in society but the main character who is gay, she get support from their family members, and fight against society. Fight for her existents (Astitva) in society.


It is proved with the help of those articles that Queer (LGBT) is marginalized in society. They face social, economical, and physical as well as psychological problems. LGBT people are also human, accept them as human being. Even their family member when they come to know that their child is belongs to gay or LGBT community they kicked out from the house. In working place LGBT people are become reason of laughter and even if they are do good work they kicked out from their working place. How LGBT people represented in literature and film. It shows that people started thinking about those marginalized group of India, and give them some space in film also. Though they are still not having their voice, rather says it is marginalized voice in Indian culture and society. Not only in India but they are known as other or third gender in all over the world. Queer study introduces some core ideas regarding what is the social, political, economical, regional and religious status of LGBT. Queer theory originates from the feminist studies. Because when feminist critic started thinking on direction of gender biasness and gender studies, at that time they also fight for the identities of whore (prostitute). From that critique come to know about the problem of LGBT people. Queer have several problems like homelessness and family, religious problem, economic means poverty, lack of medical facility, socially suppressed, mantel depressed. Through literature and criticism writer and critique try to shows their troubles, and their fight for their survival and struggle for their existence. 

Reading Resource

Name of Article/book/ online source referred for Literature Review
Glossary of literary term (book)
Beginning theory (book)
Literary Theory and Criticism (book)
 Eva Kosofsky Sedgwick Epistemology of The Closet (web)
Queer Theory in Relation to Epistemology of the Closet
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Person & Socioeconomic Status (web)
Backgrounder: Thinking about Marginalization: What, Who and Why? (Article)
Problems Faced by LGBT People in the Mainstream Society: Some Recommendations (Journal, Article)
Gendering the Narrative (web)
Queering India (web) 
Queer Theory (Wikipedia)
Queer Studies (Wikipedia)

Gender Trouble (web.) Judith Butler
Marginalization of Gays: A study of Dattani’s On a Muggy Night in Mumbai (pdf)
Queer Space in Indian Fiction and Film (Research paper)
Queer sexuality by Rohit Dasgupta (Research paper)
Privileging the Marginalized voice of gay/lesbian college students (PDF)
A Pioneer in Queer Theory (web)
Queer theory in Relation to Epistemology of the Closet (web)
The Queer Theory essay (web)


Chatterjee, Subhrajit. "Problems Faced by LGBT People in the Mainstream Society: Some Recommendations." International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies (IJIMS) 1 (2014): 15.
Choudhuri, Sucheta Mallick. "Transgressive territories: queer space in Indian fiction and film." Iowa: University of Iowa, December 2009. 3-196.
Dattani, Mahesh. "Marginalization of Gays: A Study of Dattani's On a Muggy Night in Mumbai." August 2013. 3 February 2017 <>.
Friedman, Michael. The Psychological Impect of LGBT Discrimination. 11 February 2014. 13 January 2017 <>.
Jenson, Jane. "Thinking about Marginalization: What, Who and Why? ." November 2000. Canadian Policy Research Network Inc. (CPRN). 12 January 2017 <>.
Kumar, Pushpesh. "Queering Indian Sociology A Citical Engagement." Queering Indian Sociology, Working paper. Hyederabad: Jawaherlal Nehru University, New Delhi, May 2014. 7-9.
Wikipedia. Queer theory. July 2011. 26 january 2017 <>.

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