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Redefining The Laws Of Sexuality: Are You Sure Heterosexuality Is ‘Normal’ And Homosexuality Isn’t?

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By Krishna Prasanth:

It’s interesting how homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders rarely feature in historical texts and how their role in society, and perhaps their existence in itself, goes unrecognized. So much so that many educated people have come to ascribe modernity and consequent moral corruption as the causes of homosexuality and bisexuality, although people of both kinds were always there in the society, downtrodden and stigmatized, forced to sexually behave in ways which weren’t their natural tendencies.

Homophobia

The society always was repulsive and still continues to struggle in its attempts to breakdown this stigma towards these so called “unnatural” people, but progress has undeniably been made, which is something unprecedented and heartening. But what one must understand is that while references to LGBTQs in historical texts are rare, the fact that such references even exist across the timeline does mean that such people always existed and aren’t a new breed of “morally corrupt” people. Plato wrote about homosexuality in his book Symposium and Alexander the Great was also known to have been interested in boys and young men.

The social faction most ardently against homosexuality is the religious orthodoxy. They believe homosexuality is a ‘sin’ and ‘morally unacceptable’. It is intriguing that homosexuality is considered a sin when the desire to be homosexual is essentially natural and instinctive, just like heterosexuality is. How can a person be blamed for something over which they have no control. Is being true to one’s nature, natural identity and orientation a crime? The problem with these orthodox segments in every religion is their blind belief in religious texts and scriptures, without even the slightest desire to reason out such beliefs. Hence, their views should be wholeheartedly disregarded and not even considered for discussion because they aren’t backed by any reasoned argumentation or genuine concern, but blind irrational following. Catholics have anyways come around on the idea of accepting and using condoms, thanks to immense rebuke and ridicule from across the world, and it’s only a matter of time before they come around on this as well.

But just accepting their presence in the society doesn’t help as long as they are not allowed to be a part of important social structures, like the institution of family. It’s disappointing when people of immense social stature believe that LGBTQs can’t actually create and run families and somehow them doing so is against the idea of a family. Here again, conservatives like them just talk about the idea of family while never explicitly arguing the idea of family in itself and why a male and female are so necessary for this institution to remain meaningful.

Families aren’t as much about having a female or a male as they are about the qualities that they bring to the table in order to fulfill the purpose of any well-functioning family. A family, generally, is about a healthy couple contributing emotionally and economically to each other and eventually continuing their lineage by raising children, all of which happens under a legal contract. Contributing emotionally is a matter of mutual feeling which will always be subject to the strength of their relationship irrespective of whether they are homo or hetero-sexuals or even transgenders. Economically supporting children is not a big issue and again depends from person to person irrespective of sexual orientation. As far as raising children is concerned, it really is about the determination and the zeal to raise them, teach them habits and virtues and economically support them.

Ellen Lewin, an anthropologist at the University of Iowa and the author of the book ‘Gay Fatherhood’ says that gay fathers in the United States indicate that the desire to have children is part of finding happiness or satisfaction in life, particularly as they mature. Another motive is to pass on their own values and traditions, just as heterosexual parents do.

“I interviewed several guys who adopted kids with disabilities or other challenges and basically gave their lives up for their children,” says Lewin. “But most weren’t out to be heroes or do something revolutionary by becoming gay fathers. Most were ordinary people who live in suburbs, go to Disney World for their vacations, and just want to have children like anyone else.”

This understanding of gay fathers and lesbian mothers as ‘ordinary people’ is really important. This understanding also applies to transgenders, bisexuals and queers who wish to enter into similar familial structures. People must understand that the success of social and interpersonal relationships depend upon social virtues, values and character, and not sex or sexual orientation. The natural instincts that these people possess must be respected and they must be allowed to manifest, just like heterosexuals or the so called ‘ordinary people’ are.

This debate about LGBTQs’ legitimacy as a legally accepted sexual orientation and whether couples from such orientation should be allowed the legal tag of ‘family’ is at the end of the day, more of a majority-minority issue than perhaps anything else. The majority always fails to understand the minority and doesn’t accord them the rights they deserve as fellow human beings, examples of which are in abundance across the human history. What always will remain important in such situations is the understanding that the people in the minority are as much human, as much natural and as much ordinary as the people in the majority are.

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  1. Vishali

    But isn’t the Resistance to Homosexuality a Semitic concept ? Societies all over the world including that of the Native Americans accepted Homosexuality.In fact we see incidences of Great people encountering Homosexuality in all societies,Like you states above the example of Alexander.And there is strong evidence too that Achilles was a Homosexual or a Bisexual.And in Indian the most famous example for homosexuality is Arjun.He had to be an eunuch for a year.Also the Hijrah community,and why they are called upon to bless weddings and stuff,very few people know the legend behind it.As the Legend goes,when Lord Rama was going to take his Vanvaas,the Subjects too followed him.This was followed by Lord Rama requesting all ladies and gents please disperse back to Ayodhya.They did so on his request but there remained another group of people who were categorized as the Third Sex(the LGBT people),When Lord Rama enquired as to why they haven’t gone for Ayodhya,They stated they neither belong to either sex.Lord Rama please with their devotion granted them a boon that they will be able to grant great blessings to people.
    The scene changed greatly when Semitic religions became to dominate the World and since then Homosexuality is widely seen as unnatural.

    1. neo

      “Resistance to Homosexuality a Semitic concept ”

      So is the resistance to incest and bestiality.

      Unfortunately some Hindu religious texts/icons/pictures etc condones that too. Interesting eh ?

  2. Radhika

    Well written and crisply constructed article, Mr. Prashanth!

    The issue of legitimizing the rights of LGBTQs is one of the most crucial steps to bring in sensible humaneness in the minds and the hearts of the people. In fact, personally, due to the excessive negative hype created around this so-called ‘morally wrong’ thought and practice, for a certain period in my life, I too considered it a taboo of ridiculous nature. But this mindset changed when I interacted with some transgenders.
    Similar to the point that the author Mr. Prashanth correctly put, LGBTQs are also normal and natural people with the courage to openly disclose their genuine feelings and emotions, irrespective of the societal tag given to them.
    It is indeed high time that we reckon the humanity and true familial happiness revolving in and around the ‘families’ (yes, I call them families. Why wait for the obsolete ‘democracy’ to recognize it when we can do that right now?) of the LGBTQs.

  3. neha (name changed for privacy)

    Very Well Put !!
    I wish articles like these could reach out to more and more people in our society . We need to change people’s mind sets. I would like to request all my straight friends reading this article who are intellectual and aware enough to understand all of this , who all can be considerate , kind n human enough to think of others and treat others as equals… take a second to share this article through ur profiles on social networking sites for the people who are leading tough lives..people like me who cant share this article on my own. But if you all do this for all of us. Many like me will feel free to be who we are and not be scared of the consequences of coming out. I hope to see a day in my life when people don’t have to “come out”, a day wen everyone can freely just normally tell who they are in love with. With help, understanding and support of you all… we can also live an ordinary life (by ordinary I mean that is not against our nature) coz we are also just ordinary people like you. Lets all together make this society a better place to live, a kinder and a beautiful place to be in, where everyone has an equal right to enjoy their fundamental rights and live freely without any fears.
    And people who have not understood anything in this article, i will try more to make u understand , just because you don’t like something or feel that is just weird, then don’t u think just because of that you are making others go through hell. please keep in mind that God doesn’t make mistakes. you are questioning God’s creation.. it can’t be wrong. Just think you could hav been born gay too , or your child could be gay or any of ur family member could be gay too, Wouldn’t you want them to live freely and just be who they are.
    IF you guys still feel its wrong then please check out what APA – American Psychological Association has declared about homosexuality. And last thing i would like to say (to all those who do not care to or try to understand this huge issue) – LIVE AND LET LIVE !!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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