By Baidurya Sen:
Homophobia, literally means a fear of gay people. It broadly indicates the prejudices and hostility which the society has against them. Also it means that certain ideologies are prevalent in the society that deliberately discriminates some people by segregating them into a different class of its own based on their preference of sexuality. It manifests in the form of physical and verbal attack, making crude jokes or discrimination in workplace.
A survey done by CNN-IBN in 2011 shows that 73 percent of the Indian population wants homosexuality to be illegal. This is a blatant example of the homophobia in our society. Often it is wondered where homophobia stems from. Is it from our upbringing where we gradually imbibe the societal prejudices or is it through lack of sex education which does not make ourselves fully aware about the homosexuals.
It is true that when a child is born in today’s world, by the time he reaches his teenage years, he will be infused with considerable amounts of homophobic knowledge. Most of it comes via media. There are lots of myths going around regarding homosexuals, such as they are the carriers of AIDS virus and that they are mostly paedophiles with acutely perverted mindsets. Gay person is shown in the movies and sitcoms as someone who has a girlish tinge to his character and preys on any handsome man that he may come across, which is stereotyping in the most crass terms which pertains to the narrow mind-set. Also, it has been largely stereotyped with fashion designers and those in the entertainment business. Also there is a widespread false perception that a homosexual or a lesbian is inherently a spoilt character. Much of these prejudices can be dealt with properly via sex education. Proper sex education lessons are needed from an early age so that a child can dispel a lot of these myths.
Even parents should take a proactive role in imparting sex education to their children. Not only children should learn the biological or physical attributes, but also should have a firm concept of the sociological and psychological angle of sexuality. And the parents should never feel that enlightening their children of the different sexual preferences that a person might have may induce them in exploring these. On the contrary, they can make informed choices and discriminate between what is real and what is fiction. The children will then develop a temperament wherein they can also include the gays and lesbian with open arms into their world.
Homophobia should not find any place in today’s society which considers itself modern and accommodating. With time, no section of the society should be ostracised or repressed. Just by thinking they are somehow different from us is also a wrong attribute. All of them should enjoy equal rights and privileges and have a say in today’s world.