As the world’s oldest democracy has accepted queer people, it’s time for the world’s largest democracy to take some action as well, right? Now would be a good time to raise the question of whether LGBT+ people should be accepted or not. Sadly, that doesn’t to be the case.
Shanavi Ponnusamy, a 26-year-old trans woman who is also an actress, engineer and model, was refused a job by Air India due to her gender. This incident shows the attitude of Indians towards LGBT+ people.
On the other hand, yoga guru Baba Ramdev thinks homosexuality is a mental disorder and claims to have discovered asanas that can ‘cure’ homosexuals.
It’s actually hard to believe that we are living in the 21st century – the era of technological growth and globalisation. And still, some people, with their mentalities, prefer to live in the stone age. The concept of homosexuality is not rocket science – it’s when one is attracted to members of the same sex. It’s natural and normal just like the transformation of a caterpillar into a fluttering butterfly.
But we Indians, with our orthodox mentalities, made such things complicated. There is nothing wrong with queer people but there is a lot wrong with the world we live in. Queer people have to struggle a lot as they have to take a stand against people with rigid and outdated mindsets. These people with such mindsets have made LGBT+ people into something alien and have forgotten a basic tenet of humanity – that every individual has their own ideas, comfort zones, identity and way of life. No one has the right to interfere in these areas.
The main problem is the ‘ethos’ of Indian society where TV channels are rapidly changed if there’s an AIDS-related advertisement. Or they are met with awkward silence and glowering eyes on the part of parents who think talking about such things is ‘paap’ (a sin).
This is the reason it is very difficult to talk about issues dealing with queer people. Most people in India cannot digest such things because of their outdated ways of thinking and this leads to something natural being classified as ‘evil’, all in the name of preserving Indian ‘sanskaar’ (traditions). Here, society is prioritised over individual rights. So anything that might trigger the “log kya kahenge (what will people say)?” button is looked down upon.
I think it will still take about 10-15 years of Indian society to become comfortable with queer people and their rights. Until then, kudos to all the brave queer people who are standing up against all odds and raising their voices to mark their existence. Some people with narrow mentalities might claim to hate them, but deep down, they all wish they had the same courage.