HYDERABAD: Dates are difficult to remember, but not for Suniti Namjoshi. The writer, who is known for her poetry and prose exploring gender-based issues, remembers clearly when she came out of the closet as a lesbian. “It was 1978 during my sabbatical from the University of Toronto. I was spending the year in England and I saw my friend, Hilary Clare (alias Christian Donald), who could out-argue me on various issues. Till then, I had never thought of politicizing the issue but she would. She would wear badges with messages which proclaimed it was okay to be a homosexual. It was the beginning of the gay liberation movement in the UK back then,” recalls Suniti. What gave her the courage to proclaim her orientation was to see others fighting her battles. “When Hilary would get into discussions with strangers on the issue, she would often be at the receiving end of nasty remarks. Though I was capable of fighting for myself, I saw others being damaged when they were fighting for me,” says the writer in an interview with City Express.
Given that she lived abroad, it was easier for her, admits Suniti, though it is still difficult for many women in India. “The most important thing for a woman is to be financially independent. Otherwise, they would be slaughtered by the society,” she believes.