The Opposite Sex.

Welcome to another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Ashok. Understandable, at his age!

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

The opposite sex! What will we do without them and what can we do with them?

In the Indian philosophical system, not by any means as practiced now, but in the times gone by, there was no ‘opposite’ sex. There were two genders, each destined to carry out certain functions as destiny willed. Indians accepted that each gender contained within it traits of the other. A male contained more male traits but had some female traits and a female had more female traits and some male traits.

This acceptance of difference but unity is represented as our Gods inevitably being depicted with their spouses as pinnacles of perfection. This thought aptly depicted Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarishwara. Half-woman-God.

In India, the wife is called Sahadharmini. The word means one who participates with equal rights, in upholding Dharma’. Dharma means the righteous duty one has to perform in this life. Where is the question of her being an ‘opposite’?

In my case, which is perhaps unusual, I have been performing the roles of a male and a female with panache for the past ten years. When my father moved in with us in December of 2008, he found that totally scandalous and tried his level best to stop me from cooking, washing up etc till he realized that his efforts were futile and I will not change. Before that, when I was trotting the globe, my late wife Urmeela performed the functions of both mother and father at home with equal panache.

So, I personally do not like the term “Opposite Sex”. Apart from some physical differences and functions, there is little opposite to each other.

My problem is in coming to grips with Same Sex Relationships. Not that I am a homophobe, just some peculiarities that need to be resolved.

An friend of mine is the father of a homosexual male, who got married to another male. I am yet to gather the courage to ask my friend what he calls his new in-law. A son in law or a daughter in law. In that particular relationship who is the husband and who is the wife? I suppose the same will be the dilemma for female homosexuals too. I understand that the term used is ‘partner’ in both cases, and if it is so, does that person become a partner in law for my friend? Being Indian and very particular about giving the correct name for relatives, this should give some problems to most of us if we get into such a predicament. It is also difficult to imagine one being the opposite sex in same sex relationships!

In India, we are still new to this concept though the odd marriage between same sex consenting adults gets news coverage and recently there has been a lot of dust raised because of a supreme court ruling on homosexuality. This article in the New York Times gives a fairly accurate assessment of the situation.

Today’s paper talks about gay couple getting married in Washington DC on the first day that such marriages have been made legal. Two ladies who got married said that both called the other as the wife, so that if anything happens to one of them, they will have rights. Do both then become daughters in law?

My readers from the West with longer exposure to such freedom may be able to enlighten me on the correct nomenclature!

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