By Sarabjeet Singh:
I still remember when the 11 December ’13 verdict came out. While many people of all orientations were sad and expressed shock at the verdict and at how the state felt it within its ambit to control people’s sexual lives, some even acted unperturbed saying “Why do we have anything to worry about? We are not homosexuals.”
So, one is forced to consider if the straight people have anything to do with LGBTQI rights. After all, they aren’t affected by the non-existence of LGBTQI rights, right? Or, maybe it does affect all of us in unpredictable and not-so-visible ways.
Take, for example, the simple fact that India is a country where arranged marriages are the norm, not just in rural or among the uneducated, but even among the urban, elite, youth. But, arranged marriages create problems of their own. When you have a society with (1) prejudice and discrimination towards homosexuals and (2) arranged marriage as the norm, you have created the perfect recipe for sham marriages between gay men and heterosexual women – or, between lesbian women and heterosexual men. Ask yourself, “Would I be ok with my sister or daughter or any female family member marrying a gay man? Marrying a man who won’t/can’t love her?”
Yet, this is the kind of environment we have created in our society with the expectation that everyone should be married, by being a singles-phobic and homophobic society. No wonder that when young homosexual men are pressured psychologically (and sometimes physically) to “marry and get settled” by their families, they often cave in! Before we blame them for ruining the life of an innocent girl, it’s also important to ask ourselves, do they have much of an option? Had same-sex marriage been legal in India and had we been ok with an alternate view of marriage, there would be no cases of sham marriages between gay men and heterosexual women in India. And rest assured, there are many such cases in India. If what the scientific community says is true, i.e, 3-5% of any population is LGBTQI and even if a minimum 1% of men are gay, you get an idea of how many millions of men in India are married to women. Sometimes, they don’t even have the guts to tell their wives about their orientation and their ‘dark secret’, sometimes they’re pressurized by their families to not tell anyone in order to ‘save their face in society’. What we end up with is a loveless, unhappy couple in bondage.
This is not what we wanted for our children. But, this is the kind of result we get with an environment that is unwilling to accept uncomfortable facts about human sexuality.
Also, the lack of acceptance of homosexuals doesn’t merely lead to such ‘lavender marriages’, it also hurts the parents of young gay individuals to know that their offspring is not straight. Sometimes, parents themselves are unable to accept their kids as they are, but sometimes it’s the fear of the society. “Even if we accept, so what?! Society will never accept our children and their relationships”.
The gay youth’s depression because of this rejection of sexuality becomes their parents’ depression too – yes the parents who are straight, who are not gay!
Fraud marriages and concerned parents are just 2 examples of how nonacceptance of gays in society affects ALL OF US!