Title: Straight to Normal
Author: Sharif D. Rangnekar
Genre: Autobiographical/ LGBT
Publisher: Rupa Publications
“Homosexuality is a natural variant of human sexulity. A person’s sexual orientation is intrinsic to their being. It is connected with their individuality, and identity. A classification which discriminates between persons based on their innate nature, would be violative of their fundamental rights, and cannot withstand the test of constitutional morality.”
– Justice Indu Malhotra
Although I’ve had the privilege of having some amazing friends from the LGBTQ+ community, there have been questions that have been always there in my mind but I could not ask them assuming that they were too intimate and personal and feared offending these friends of mine. Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man comes as an answer to many such questions.
The book, for the first time in the history of the publishing world in India, creates a separate ‘LGBT’ genre for which I would like to congratulate the author as well as the publisher for their immense courage.
This book not just talks about the author’s individual discovery of his own sexuality and coming to terms with the same but also sheds some light into the doings of the community and how it functions- something which I could have never known as a straight person. A bookworm that I am, I had mostly developed my idea of love from the novels that I had read. Today, it haunts me to imagine what a queer child would have gone through when they did not find any validation for their love in the surroundings that they were growing up.
The book shares accounts of abuse and lost love- love lost because Section 377 would deem one a criminal in the eyes of law. It is shocking to see the kind of struggles an LGBTQ+ person has to go through every moment on matters that we take so much for granted.
Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man is the story of Sharif D Rangnekar unfiltered.
I would appeal to all of you to read this book at least once. A professor in my literature class had once said, ‘Read what discomforts you.’ If you think you will not be comfortable reading this book, pick it up.