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We Need People’s Acceptance Towards Homosexuality, Not Their Tolerance Or Pity

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By S. Vaishnavi:

Ever since gay rights have been brought into the limelight, there have been constant debates as to whether it’s a gift of God or gift of society. Homosexuality, if inherent from birth, is seen as significantly more acceptable, as opposed to when people make a choice to be so. Many have already attempted to validate or incriminate homosexuality based on arguments of ‘it’s inherent’ vs. ‘they choose to be’.

Some studies succeeded in getting to some results. There was a recent study that was published according to which homosexuality is 40% genetic and 60% caused by environmental influences, being very specific about the apparent contributions of nature and nurture. It is a remarkable attempt, although I still do not understand how it is supposed to translate to everyday sentiments. Are people going to go around being 40% ‘okay’ with homosexual behaviour, and 60% not?


We can see that this line of thought inevitably throws the ‘choice to be homosexual’ behind bars. “Why can’t you just choose to be straight?” We have all heard this argument. Having a choice to be straight and choosing to be gay while at it is viewed as morally wrong. However, if you are born that way, poor you, you had no choice, therefore you are excused.

It is pretty hard to see the underlying message behind this, which is why people all over the world- homosexuals, and their supporters alike, are trying to prove that homosexuality is inborn, hoping that would lead to mass acceptance. However, in this argument, we are diminishing homosexuality to a disease, as a disability, a pitiable condition. We are saying, ‘oh you had no choice but to be wrong? All right, you can walk.’ This is not acceptance. This is pity. It is tolerance. But we don’t need people to be able to just put up with homosexuals. We need people to recognize that this sexual preference is someone’s right, and when you are criminalizing it, you are denying them, the basic human rights. We need people to accept homosexuality. And acceptance is when we agree that being homosexual, whether by choice or otherwise, is not wrong. It is when we treat it as no bigger a deal than someone liking oranges over apples.

Digging deeper, I honestly do not see one good reason why choosing to be homosexual is so wrong. We all choose to be different things, in accordance with what lets us lead the most comfortable life.  I could be a lawyer and practice art in my free time while humming along to the tunes of hakuna matata. These are all choices that make me who I am, and handcuffing my right to be able to choose is taking away my fundamental right to freedom. Apply the same argument to sexual orientation, and it soon enough becomes pretty apparent that curbing someone’s homosexual preference is taking away his or her right.

Many would argue that it’s not the same. Your choice to hum along to hakuna matata affects no one else, but you. However, someone’s choice to be homosexual affects others around them, they would say. I beg to differ. When you actually think about it, my specific choice to be attracted to someone of the same gender would, and should affect no one else but the subject of my interest. In fact, there are many other choices I make in my life that are more likely to affect other people around me, like the choice to indulge in irresponsible consumerism, the choice to not vote, the choice to dispose of my garbage on the road etc.

Another perception is that if you let it, homosexuality ‘breeds’. Well, that makes it sound like everyone on Earth would one day turn to homosexuality if it were legalized. Firstly, homosexuality is not something that all people will turn to it, through some mass conversion scheme. It is just a different preference, and as I said before, it is like the difference between liking apples and oranges. Secondly, if that were true, places that have legalized it already (like the Netherlands) should be brimming or close to brimming with homosexuals everywhere. But we know for a fact that that is not the case. Thirdly, even if homosexuality does ‘breed’, the only rational problem with it seems to be possible stalling of reproduction, which is another argument homophobic apologists don’t waste time in bringing up. The common argument is that the traditional familial structure gets destroyed, and people would not want children anymore. This slippery slope argument forgets that there is no established link between being gay and not wanting children. Being exposed to so many gay couples we know for sure that is not the case. Famous gay couples have adopted children and the desire to raise a child rarely stems from being part of a heterosexual family that gave birth to the said child. And once they want children, there are means of getting to it, be it surrogacy or adoption. So there is no problem here, either.

Perhaps it is time we vindicate choice to homosexuality. Let’s stop saying homosexuals do not have a choice. It simply does not matter. If we are willing to treat individuals as people who deserve freedom, if we are willing to side with humanity and bestow people with basic rights of choice, if we are willing to look past what we are used to, to make another person feel comfortable, there need not be any excuse, any apology for homosexuality- just open-minded acceptance.

You must be to comment.
  1. Adishi

    Commendable job!! Kudos to the author!

  2. Ambs

    Nice! 🙂

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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.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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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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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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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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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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