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. He was part of a valiant movement to decriminalize same-sex relations and sex work in India, both similarly outlawed under laws dating back to British colonial rule. He emerged as 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 do-gooders—warning that this was a 21st century reprise of the moralistic Victorian-era campaigns that 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 a tour de force on the pressing global debates over sexuality, gender expression, and of securing human rights and social justice in a world distorted by inequality and right-wing ascendancy.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501158490 | 
  • January 2019
List Price
AU$ 12.99

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About the Author

Siddharth Dube

Born in Calcutta, India, Siddharth Dube is a writer, a specialist commentator on poverty, public health, and development, and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York City. His books include In the Land of Poverty and Sex, Lies, and AIDS. He studied at Tufts University, the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism, and the Harvard School of Public Health, where he completed his MSc in 1991. He has since been scholar-in-residence at Yale University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS and a long-term visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi.

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