Being Gay in India: Not So Gay Is It?
There are several sexualities such as gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, etc. But they don't get the respect that they deserve in India. What can we do about this?
India is a country with 130 crore people; there is a variety of people of different castes, colors, religions, etc. We treat these people equally and with the same respect because we take pride in the fact that India is a country with great diversity. So why do we not accept that India will also have people of different sexualities? If we can treat people of varied religions in the same manner, why do we make it such a taboo when we see a person of different sexuality than we are used to seeing?
Gender and sexuality are very personal and intimate for a person, society does not even have to have an opinion on that, but being the social butterflies that humans are, we tend to put out noses in other people’s personal lives.
Did you know?
We have been taught from early childhood that there are two genders, male and female; this is where the problem begins. There are several genders- trans-genders, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender etc. People do not know what they are because we have never heard about them.
That makes it even more difficult for people of these categories to come out because they are owning up to something that the majority is unaware of, which results in them getting ridiculed and shamed.
Now let us talk about sexuality; there are gay, lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual. Admitting to any of these is difficult, especially in a country like India. In this article, we will focus on the gay community.
Problems faced by the gay community
In India, there is not much acceptance of gay people; we still view it as against nature, ‘absurd’ or downright wrong. Now, this is where India needs to grow a little and modify their way of thinking.
Sexuality is something that none of us can control; nobody chooses to be attracted to the person they are attracted to; we are born that way. We must realise that targeting gay people, and shaming them, makes them afraid to come out to society and own their true identity. There are so many cases where gay people marry a girl to satisfy societal standards, but that only ruins their lives: because it eventually ends up in divorce or a lifetime of misery.
There has been a significant number of suicides in the gay community due to the homophobia attached to being gay; this is because their mental health gets badly affected by this stigma. If a person is unable to accept who they are, or if they must be afraid for who they are daily, it is bound to affect their mental well-being.
Gay people go through several stages in their life: the first step is accepting who they are. That is a difficult task because we are hard-wired to believe that guys are attracted to girls and girls to guys, so for a boy to accept and acknowledge that they are attracted to another boy is difficult.
Once they can accept who they are, the second step is telling their close ones, friends, family etc. In most Indian households, parents are not pleased to find out that their son is gay. This stems from the fact that they do not want to be shamed by society. They worry about what people ‘might think. Some families even disown their child after finding out that he is gay.
Now friends might be a little more accepting of this because our generation is more aware of these things, but that does not discourage bullies. Gay people are bullied relentlessly throughout their lives in our community, it might be in different forms, but it happens.
When they are in school, they are made fun of; when they are in college, they have to face ragging, and it just continues in the form of side glances, laughter here and there, discrimination in the workplace and whatnot.
Lastly, after overcoming all these barriers comes their love life. As most of you must know, it is still illegal for a person to get married to the same gender. It is so sad on so many levels because even after overcoming these hurdles, that boy cannot go out into the world and marry the person they love.
A gay person in India suffers from a burdensome life. They are not accepted or respected for who they are regardless of their talents or achievements. Being gay in India is indeed not very gay.
How to put an end to this?
How can we make their lives better?
We can ensure that we spread awareness about the gay community so that it is normalized in our country; we should speak up if we see gay people being bullied or discriminated against.
We can ensure that at least we are not treating them differently because they are our own; they are also the same human beings that we are, just attracted to a different gender, which does not make any difference.
We can have open discussions on these topics so that people stop being homophobic.
Are you homophobic? Take this quiz to find out:
- Have you ever made fun of someone for being attracted to the same gender?
- Do you recoil when you see a gay couple kissing?
- Would you stop speaking to someone if you found out they were gay?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes for you, then please take some time to self-reflect, because you might be one of the reasons that gay people are suffering in our society.
We need to work together and make it a happy and peaceful place for everyone living in it; hopefully, this article will provide some perspective.
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