An Indefinite Sentence

A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex

An Indefinite Sentence

A revelatory memoir about sex, oppression, and the universal struggle for justice.

From his time as a child in 1960s India, Siddharth Dube knew that he was different. Reckoning with his femininity and sexuality—and his intellect—would send him on a lifelong journey of discovery: from Harvard classrooms to unsafe cruising sites; from ivory-tower think-tanks to shantytowns; from halls of power at the UN and World Bank to jail cells where sexual outcasts are brutalized.

Coming of age in the earliest days of AIDS, Dube was at the frontlines when that disease made rights for gay men and for sex workers a matter of basic survival, pushing to decriminalize same-sex relations and sex work in India, both similarly outlawed under laws dating back to British colonial rule. He became a trenchant critic of the United States’ imposition of its cruel anti-prostitution policies on developing countries—an effort legitimized by leading American feminists and would-be do-gooders—warning that this was a 21st century replay of the moralistic Victorian-era campaigns that had spawned endless persecution of countless women, men, and trans individuals the world over.

Profound, ferocious, and luminously written, An Indefinite Sentence is both a personal and political journey, weaving Dube’s own quest for love and self-respect with unforgettable portrayals of the struggles of some of the world’s most oppressed people, those reviled and cast out for their sexuality. Informed by a lifetime of scholarship and introspection, it is essential reading on the global debates over sexuality, gender expression, and of securing human rights and social justice in a world distorted by inequality and right-wing ascendancy.

About the Author

Siddharth Dube

Born in Kolkata, India, Siddharth Dube is widely known for his writing on AIDS, public health, and poverty. He is a graduate of Tufts University, the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism, and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has since been a visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi, scholar-in-residence at Yale University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, senior adviser to the Executive Director of UNAIDS, and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York City. Visit SiddharthDube.com.

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