Different not Inferior

homo.jpgWhat would your reaction be to someone you know getting married? You would obviously congratulate them. What if the people in question were not a man and woman but a man marrying a man or a woman marrying another? Would you approve of their union? Would you congratulate them or condemn them? Support them or make mirthless jokes about them? Would you condemn someone who knows his mind? Or would you simply disown a brother, sister or child just because he or she tends to be different, different in terms of his sexual preferences?

We are always very encouraging when we hear of a man and woman getting married, we call it a divine union of two souls for eternity(we are not considering a divorce that’s an altogether different story), we do not smirk when we see a man and woman holding hands, petting or cuddling up(off course we do cringe at times if it gets too mushy or intimate in a public place and off course the ideal, traditional, cultural, morally correct people term it to be a sinister act but we are not dwelling into the issues of what’s morally right or wrong) then why is it that most of us have a devilish grin on our faces if we see two men or two woman involved in the same act?

We worship true love, make movies glorifying love, desire, passion as long as the players are a man and a woman. If we can appreciate love between people of the opposite sex then why is it that we find it difficult to show the same appreciation for homosexuals.

We might pretend to be very righteous and the torch bearers of change, we call ourselves the people who have shunned the narrow minded outlook of our ancestors .Then how come it takes us time to absorb the very fact that one of our friends might not be straight?

The society on the whole is not very receptive to homosexuals, they are often treated as outcasts, most of the traditionalists if given a chance would lynch these people at stake to set an example for others who might try to follow their lead .There are many young people who would prefer to ‘maintain their distance’ from such people although they do fib about their support to the gays and lesbians, but would rather not show their support too openly least their sexual identity be mistaken.

Its not just the society which condemns homosexuality, our lawmakers did not make it any easier for them. Section 377 is amongst the most abominable laws enshrined in the Indian constitution. This law in itself violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals. This law penalizes love and romance and acts of consensual sex between people of the same sex. We must take cognizance of the fact that the constitution was penned down 5 decades ago; it should be modified to suit the society and provide protection to everybody’s human rights without discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. It should not become a weapon used to persecute, terrorize, blackmail or arrest sexual minorities. We should usher in laws which would provide this section of the society a right to defend their preferences, to openly come out and be at ease with their sexual identity. It must not be overlooked that the Indian constitution provides everyone with equal rights and the opening articles of the universal declaration of human rights states that ‘All persons are born equal in dignity and rights…Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration without distinction of any kind.’

Such laws do not only hamper the rights of the sexual minorities but it makes it very difficult for such people to come out in the open for the fear of being ostracized by society. In India 75% of the gays are married. This is not healthy either for their families or for the men and women concerned. If people become more supportive of these people, it will make it easier for the sexual minorities to stand up for their cause.

We must realise that there is nothing abnormal with these people, it is just that they are different from the majority when it comes to sexual preference, otherwise they feel the same emotions, they are hounded by the same worries, they are just as human as all of us, they too cringe for acceptance, they too desire love and loyalty. Instead of condemning those few who come out in the open about their alternative sexual preference we should congratulate them and extend our support to them. We must respect them for knowing their mind and having the courage to stand up for their sexuality considering the ire they have to face from the society and at times from their own families.

Apurva Joshi