This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Nelson Bree. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The ‘Gay Gods’ And Other Arguments We’re Tired Of Hearing

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OTHER ARGUMENTS:

1. God hates fags.

God didn’t tell me that.

2. You’re sick. You people are spreading AIDS and other STDs, and yet you say that you’re doing nothing wrong?

Yes. I’m doing nothing wrong. Who I fall for is not what I decide. My heart decides it.

3. What? Shut up. Stop copying Western people. They’re jerks and so are you.

WHAT? Don’t call Beyon-

4. It’s wrong. Our culture doesn’t allow screwing people of our own sex.

How is it wrong?

5. If it were right, you people would be able to reproduce, have off springs, you know.

Wait.

I’m going to tell you the most important thing in the world right now. So, brace yourself.

I’m not a psychologist. But if you ever go and ask a psychologist what they think about homosexuality, I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s NORMAL. But, one day, I was told that talking to a shrink and undergoing therapy is Western. (Yes, it is true!)

I’ll tell you that people don’t choose to be gay. Well, when they do, they’re just experimenting. We can’t label them as gay people. We shouldn’t label anyone, though.

I don’t know why people are gay. Or bi. Or trans. Or cis. I mean, I guess no one knows that. Now, can I ask if you know why you’re straight? I mean, is it too important to see who they have sex with? Better leave them alone and mind your own business? I mean, people are gay just as they are straight. Got doubts about that? Get yourself enrolled in science and psychology classes.

Well, I sort of said that I don’t know why people are gay. So, I’ll just quote this Wikipedia article for you, okay? I guess it knows better than me. I don’t know whether I believe it or not. You can read more about it here.

While scientists do not know the exact cause of sexual orientation, they theorize that a combination of genetic, hormonal, and social factors determine it.

Okay, no. The number of gay people hasn’t been increasing. They’re coming out more. That’s why we know about them more. Earlier, they were quietened by the society and they didn’t speak up. They were there. Always.

Don’t talk about culture with me. Our culture doesn’t stop us from hating. Why does it stop us from loving? Also, does our culture also affect animals who engage in homosexual activities?

If you want to know about STDs, better enroll yourself in some biology classes. And, there’s something called a CONDOM.

Western Culture? Don’t be pathetic. Mahabharata is not Western, is it? Well, I didn’t know that-

“OMG Dad! How many times do I tell you it’s not your fault? Neither is it the fault of my brain. I’m NORMAL.”

Okay , so now I’m ready to talk about the most important stuff. The gay people and gods.

The Gay Gods

Well, I hope now you know that you are born gay. You don’t choose to be gay. So, all the atheists out there, just shut your ears, and believers, HEAR ME –

My God is not going to burn me in hellbecause he is the one who made me GAY.

I haven’t read Mahabharata or Ramayana or Puranas or Vedas. I haven’t read Gita or Bible or Qur’an, too. I haven’t touched them, and I don’t mean any disrespect to them or any religions.

I don’t know what the writers of these holy books thought of queers (and women) when they wrote them. I guess, their tellers assumed heteronormativity. (What word is that?)

But, we DO have examples of LGBTQ in our Puranas, Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc. Which makes it clear that it’s NORMAL AND NATURAL.

LGBT+ activists have been trying to make people aware by giving these examples.

Have you heard about ardhnareshvara?

Do you know that goddess Lakshmi and God Vishnu merged and formed hermaphroditic Lakshmi-Narayana?

In the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu takes the form of Mohini to trick the demons into giving up Amrita, (the elixir of life). Shiva later becomes attracted to Mohini and spills his semen on the rocks which turn into gold. (See?)

According to Tamil versions of the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna also took the form of Mohini and married Aravan. This was in order to give Aravan the chance to experience love before his death, as he had volunteered to be sacrificed.

There are instances of change of gender, too. Shikhandi (Mahabharata) was born as a girl named Shikhandini.

Agni, God of fire has same-sex encounters. Some versions of the Bengali text Krittivasa Ramayana contain a story of two queens that conceived a child together.


Do I need to make any more points? Gods have been depicted as gay. But, mostly, our religions/ religious books have told us that engaging in sexual activities with same sex is wrong.

Take, for example, Leviticus 20:13 that says:

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

(This gentleman in the picture below has a point.)

The Qur’an (4:16) also demands unspecified punishment for men guilty of committing lewdness together unless they repent. Women are also not allowed to touch each other when naked.


But, if we just sit still and think, we’re just making an argument for and against something that is natural, albeit condemned. And our arguments ( more often than not) include mentions of religion.

If I tell you the truth, I’m tired of telling people that we’re all normal, real and right, unless we’re hurting others. I’m tired of telling others of what our gods did and who they were. I’m tired of hearing arguments against and making arguments for Us.

I wanted to post it one last time. Tell people that it’s time to leave our backward mindsets behind and move forward, accepting themselves and others. Tell them to just leave God and religions for one thing.

You’ll not burn in hell for being the way your God made you.

Let’s just do it. Let’s accept ourselves and others.

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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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

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.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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