Do you know why still people like you and us talk about gender sensitization only in terms of a male and a female? I know, for many of you this question might sound too philosophical, but it is a major question, taking the recent circumstances into account.
The reason behind this is that our society, in general, does not want to move beyond the black and white of the color spectrum. We are not able to accept something which is gray and does not comply with the binaries of this society. Heterosexuality is the accepted form of love and intimacy in our society.
On the other hand, Homosexuality which is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender is considered to be a sin. The rights of a female and the efforts of a male are widely discussed upon but there is no recognition to the LGBTQ+ community. LGBT or GLBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
Religious leaders have molded our mindsets that the world started with a male and a female and moving beyond this line means disrespecting the Almighty (very evident in the story of Adam and Eve). Parents usually don’t accept their kids if they find out that their kid is a homosexual.
September 6, 2018, was the day when in a historical decision, the Supreme Court of India struck down the draconian Article 377 which criminalized gay sex. The saddest part remains the harsh truth that, even after calling ourselves an independent country where freedom is accorded to everyone equally, a major chunk of our nation was not given equal status till 2018. Section 377 declared “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” punishable by imprisonment for life. This ruthless article was in place even after more than 60 years of independence but nobody ever cared to talk about it.
Even today the perception towards homosexuals remains stereotyped. The legalization of homosexuality has led to the recognition of LGBTQ but not their acceptance. It is still very difficult for people from transgender communities to come out of the closet and enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. Even friends, family, and relatives don’t accept this difference. Homosexuals have been facing humiliation, abuse, and other forms of exploitation for ages.
People from all walks of life very shamelessly make fun of gay, lesbians, transgender, and bisexuals. This community is not accepted even after continued efforts because in India it is seen as a disease. Homosexuality is not seen as something normal, but something which is a sin, something which requires punishment.
Somewhere, far away from gay pride parades, meet-ups, and heated discussions on Twitter, families in rural India have their own ways of dealing with LGBT individuals. In some parts, secret honor killings are planned so that the only way for a young gay man to survive is to run away in the cover of the night to some city, with no money or social support.
In other parts, lesbian women are subjected to family-sanctioned corrective rapes, which are often perpetrated by their own family members. Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, a transwoman LGBT activist and public policy scholar at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, who has openly spoken about her abuse at school, says that lesbian women and transmen in rural areas end up at the bottom of the hierarchy when it comes to basic human rights within the unit of family and village.
The Centre opposed changes to the existing laws on marriage to recognize same-sex marriages, saying such interference would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.
“Living together as partners and having a sexual relationship by same-sex individuals is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children which necessarily presuppose a biological man as a ‘husband’, a biological woman as a ‘wife’ and the children born out of the union between the two,” the Centre argued in the Delhi High Court.
Many writers and artists have also come up to help this queer collective. Homosexuals are at the forefront of this acceptance movement. Activists like Sambhav Dehlavi took a very innovative step when he started a cafe in Purani Dilli called Chez Jerome. Cafe Chez Jerome aims to provide a safe space to the people of the queer community. This is Delhi’s first LGBT cafe which anyone can visit freely.
Homosexuals don’t seek any special privilege or power but a sense of dignity and equal acceptance in society. Society has to understand that family is not something restricted just for heterosexuals. Rather family is an open institution that needs love and care for its formation. And definitely love is boundless, so if next time you see a girl saying another girl, ‘I love you’, then don’t feel embarrassed. Try and understand the passion of her love and courage.
We live in a world of cowards where we fear acceptance and moving beyond predefined rules and stereotypes. But it’s high time we realize the importance of breaking stereotypes because it is not about courage, but about saving an identity from severe exploitation.
This simple thing called ‘acceptance’ is what the so-called straight heterosexual Indians failed to provide the other significant chunk of the homosexual population.
Homosexuality legalization is the first step for India towards acceptance, yet the country still has a long way to go before it reaches an actual and genuine acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.