A few days ago I saw a fairly attractive couple, braced with infants strapped to their torsos, absorbed in shopping for infants' items in GVK mall! The only difference was they were both men. Two daddies with their two babies. Another scene on Independence Day at KBR Park in Hyderabad. A group of ten youth did the Freedom Walk with posters stuck to their T-shirts. Each poster was worded differently. “If being gay is a choice, then when did you decide to become straight?” “I’m not gay but I support gay rights because I believe in freedom of love.” “I kissed a girl and I liked it.” The sight evoked curiosity. Some read the posters, and were aghast. And some read a few words and shied away from reading further.
|(Designed by Amar Mitra)|
Instances, such as these, of lesbian and gay visibility are increasing by the day. And that’s something extremely refreshing and positive. Yet that does not happen in all places. There are some who take objection to that. A friend asked whether gay people have to wear their sexuality on their sleeve.
Homosexuals would not have to wear their sexuality if they were in a society where they were considered equal. I’m sure you have not seen heterosexual men and women walking in a parade, holding banners stating their heterosexual preference. They do not have to. They are not discriminated against within their families and work places because they love or are attracted to someone of the same sex. They do not have to live in insecurity of whether it is fine to share about their life with someone they consider close, out of fear of losing a relationship. They do not experience hatred or confusion or silence from their closest relatives, only because society and the state does not acknowledge and validate homosexual relationships.
The pride of being homosexual is a personal experience which manifests itself as a political act. It is a desire to be acknowledged for who one is in society. It is an invitation for others to accept them for who they are and for who they love. It is cry for wanting to have the same rights as those who love a person of the opposite sex. It is a hope that some more people would be considered equal and not be discriminated for loving another person.
This need to come out is an intrinsic act of survival. One might wonder why some homosexuals do not feel need to foreground their sexual orientation, while others do. The reasons could be various. For some the risks are very high, which would involve the loss of their loved ones, threat to financial security, or perhaps a certain kind of middle class “shame” to the family. For some others, it is the inability to live a life of suffocation where homosexual relationships are not even recognized, least of all considered a norm. While for a few others, their sexuality is visible and their personal, social and economic lives depend upon how others treat them.
Our stubbornness to acknowledge and accept homosexuality has only deteriorated heterosexual marriages. The parental expectations of their children’s marriage, the fictitious belief that the “gay phase” is transitory and the possibility of social ostracism have only led to many unhappy and torturous marriages. Often it is the most vulnerable who have to pay the price. Those who can afford it, get divorced. Most languish in their unhappy marriages. Others commit suicide. Little do we realize that every time in every conversation that we denounce homosexuality, we are unconsciously condemning someone to life of affliction.
For the moment we take great pride that we not only have those who risk themselves fighting for gay rights and but also those who live their lives quietly forging new kinds of relationships and families.