Issues of Gender Identity Formation with Reference to ‘Funny Boy’ by Shyam Selvadurai

  • Fr Carlos Luis SAC Head of the Department of Arts and Humanities, St. Vincent Pallotti College, Bengaluru
Keywords: Gender, Homosexuality, Identity, ‘Coming out’, ‘Invitation in’


There is always a struggle to accept the difference one feels in oneself as far as gender is concerned. Because society conceptualizes the terms as per the arising needs. Not just conceptualizes but generates possibilities to how one should behave as a particular gender, which then stereotypes a gender. The developments in this regard take time to percolate into the minds of the people in society. Less of a discussion leads to less acceptance of anything different from the normally accepted binary. This paper analyses this process that an individual goes through trying to understand one’s gender, the difficult situations that one has to go through while one displays one’s gender. Arjie struggles to understand himself in the first place. Arjie only through and at various stages of his life understands himself and without taking the effort to convince others, lives his life. The process of convincing others would anyway lead to a dead end. At the time when Shyam Selvadurai wrote and published the novel i.e. 1994, society wasn’t ready to learn about different genders or sexuality for that matter. Therefore, this novel stood apart and won Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction. Shyam Selvadurai presents Sri Lanka and its slow but steady Sinhala-Tamil tensions leading up to the 1993 riots. So alongside the character, Arjie had to deal with his ethnic identity and sexual identity which wasn’t easy for Arjie. The paper also presents the psychological development especially during the process of his ‘coming out’ and the ‘invitation in.’

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How to Cite
Carlos Luis SAC, F. (2022). Issues of Gender Identity Formation with Reference to ‘Funny Boy’ by Shyam Selvadurai. Shanlax International Journal of English, 10(S1-Jan), 10-14.