I’ve had crushes on boys ever since I joined the school. Athletic ones, nerds, the jocks, you say it, I have fallen for that type of boy, at least once. It was not ‘true love’ of course, more like an obsession. I’d always wondered, ever since I was a child, “what would it be like if I married a girl one day?” In grade 3, I was disgusted by the thought and promised myself never to think the same again.
Then, I proceeded in the 6th grade, and that’s when I heard my friends saying that girls can be in a relationship with another girl. I was shocked because even though I had imagined it once, I never thought something like that was real. What was more surprising was that I only got to know about this in the 6th grade. My friends knew so much and I was left behind, trying to process the things they were saying.
The only guy friend I had was this boy in my class. The other boys in our class thought he was ‘weird’ because they considered interacting with girls to be ‘disgusting’. They’d call my friend ‘gay’. Not because he was gay but because he was the only one in class who was friends with the girls.
My guy friend was not bothered by all this but I felt really bad. I didn’t completely understand why the boys called him ‘gay’ so I went home and looked it up on the internet. I learned what ‘gay’ means, what the LGBTQ+ community is. Then, I thought it was a gross thing because almost all the kids in my class would always make a disgusting face when someone mentioned the word ‘gay’. So then, I never spoke of it.
In the 7th grade, my best friend asked me what I thought about bisexuality. I was surprised because I had never spoken about that subject for a long time. I asked her what she meant by that question and she said that she had questions about her sexuality. I didn’t take it seriously at that time.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit my country and I was locked up for 6 months. I became a huge One Direction stan in this period! That’s when I came to know about a ‘ship’ called “Larry Stylinson”. People thought Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson were dating. I was surprised because I had never heard about a real-life gay couple and dug deep. I read about the conspiracies and was introduced to a side of things I never bothered to visit before.
I learnt about the LGBTQ+ community, their struggles, their hardships, and how difficult it is to survive in the present-day world. I cried a lot, watching TED talks and real-life stories of queer people. I realised that it is not a ‘gross’ thing to speak about, and became an ally of the community.
Recently, my aforementioned best friend came out to me. I was crying with her and promised that once the pandemic is over we would have a party.
That night I didn’t sleep and I laid down, thinking about her future. I was so happy for her but I realised how hard her life might be.
In a country like India, kids have very-little-to-no knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community. I came to know about it in the 6th grade, and that too I had to learn about it myself. No one had ever bothered to tell me about it, not my parents, not my teachers, not my mentors, no one.
I’m going into the 9th grade now and STILL, not a single soul, except my friends, thought of acknowledging it. Why? Why is it such a taboo?
Many teens do not have any knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community because their parents or teachers have this mindset that it’s not an ‘appropriate’ topic. Just like they avoid talking about sex and reproduction (even though its nothing gross to talk about), even queer culture is regarded as ‘disgusting’.
The kids are only exposed to this knowledge by their peers or through the internet. The lack of understanding might just create a wrong image of the LGBTQ+ community in the minds of the children, which will affect their lives in the future. Parents SHOULD educate their kids on queer culture because it IS important. Your kids might just not have a clue that it IS okay to fall in love with the same sex. They might break another peoples heart without even knowing it. The way others view them will change. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, engineer, or teacher. Being queer is acceptable and your kids should understand it.
What is bad about love? If you can tell your kids to love people, then why hide the fact that love exists between people of the same-sex too? It is a simple and beautiful fact that is not hard to accept. So, just sit with your kids and explain that love is love.
Most Indian families develop a close bond with distant cousins and relatives. But, many of these relatives are the ones who end up causing a lot of problems, I feel. Some of them are nice and understanding but others act like they own your life! These kind of relations are usually the ones that persuade us to ‘change’ our sexuality and to ‘think straight’ even when we are not. See, I’m not saying that all aunties or uncles pry, but the stereotypical ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ do exist in real life. Educate them and make them understand queer culture. But most of the times it won’t work so leave them to their business. It’s your life and you can live however you want to.
I’ve seen how many people who come out as gay usually end up moving abroad. That clearly states how uneasy it must be for them. Same-sex marriage is not legalised nor is being gay accepted. What exactly does ‘India is a developed country’ mean when love is not accepted? I strongly protest the anti-LGBTQ+ actions the country has taken till now.
The community is getting very little recognition and support from the government, as well as from the people. Just building cool buildings and starting new companies is not enough. I beg you to do something for the queer community, who are struggling hard in our country. They are forced to go to conversion camps which are horrible horrible places. The amount of stress and anxiety they go under is unmeasurable. Ban conversion camps, and support the community, please!
I’m not labelling my country. These are facts that are happening in the country as well as many other places now. Please show them mercy and let them love, like any other people. Being gay is not a sin. It is beautiful. And those who don’t accept that are toxic. #LoveIsLove