Homosexuality, particularly in modern India, is seen as something which is an ultra-deviative behaviour from the so-called ‘natural’ norms. And the ‘natural norms’ concerning the sexuality according to me is based on production.
Since there is no production in a relationship involving LGBTQ folx, the majoritarian group (social and religious systems/institutions) along with state (political systems/institutions) have declared it as unsocial, unethical and criminal activity (although in India, now homosexuality is not criminal). Thinkers, philosophers and rationalists are of the opinion that physical and emotional love has no gender. But socially, such kind of love is seen only as a sin.
This attitude of the society has made a large section of society (not minuscule) live their life in complete denial, emotional unrest, confusion, deceit, disloyal and all other sinful forms as per the social norms. When will the society understand that by not allowing the LGBTQ folx to live their life as they earnestly wish to, the society is actually forcing people to a sinful life? (I don’t believe in the concept of sin, but I am using it since the society see it from sin perspective)
The society forces LGBTQ folx to live a life which is not real. Even their parents never ask them about their sexual preference. They think that their children are heterosexual. What a great assumption! Very strongly, their parents link their sexual orientation with their family prestige. The moral fight with their parents is so heavy that most of the LGBTQ folx in India prefer to marry as per their parents’ choice and live a complex life thereafter. This leads to loneliness, depression and other mental health issues which they cannot share with anyone.
Does the society understand that since centuries, they have actually forced the majority of the LGBTQIA+ community to live a life of fear and loneliness?
They are not free to choose our own sexuality and live proudly with dignity. Actually, LGBTQ folx have been living in quarantine since the time they became aware of their sexuality. I understand that a person cannot choose their parents. Nature does not allow it. In India, we generally cannot choose our own religion too. But sexuality, which is one of the important identities of a person, is also not allowed to be chosen freely. Just imagine the pain that one has to live with, throughout their life, suppressing their original sexual orientation only because of fear and shame.
LGBTQ folx go through pathetic mental health and in many cases, the individual may not even be as they have learnt to live in denial. Isn’t it a health pandemic?
A cross-sectional survey guided by Meyer’s Minority Stress Model was carried out by Anupam Joya Sharma, (Social Epidemiology, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, Published online 2020 Mar 12. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229893) “to assess the links between minority stressors (internalized homophobia and degree of closetedness), age-related stressors (ageism and fear of ageing) and psychological wellbeing (loneliness, depressive symptoms and sexual compulsivity) among 207 Indian men (aged 40 years and above) who identified themselves as non-heterosexuals“.
Results showed the significant positive relationship of ageism, internalized homophobia, and fear of ageing with loneliness (even after accounting for sociodemographic and stress mitigating factors). The study goes on to state, “Overall, the theory-driven empirical findings suggest that even in India, where family and friends are social insurance for later life, the issues of ageism and internalized homophobia have the potential to lead to worse mental health outcomes among older queer men.”
So imagine a large section of individuals in the community who are non-heterosexual, not because of their choice, and have to live in quarantine and closet with fear, loneliness, stress, throughout their life. Is it not a serious mental health issue? I don’t know because I am not an expert on mental health. But if yes, then should it not be called a pandemic?
Why can’t our modern institutions, established on human rights values, be sensitive enough to call it as pandemic and find ways to resolve it? Oh, sorry I forgot one important thing, these modern human rights institutions are ruled by the majoritarian groups of the society who believe strongly from the deepest corner of their heart that homosexuality is a deviation norm. They may show themselves as very sensitive because it comes from the belief that my family members are ‘normal’.
Homosexuality is right outside their family, so with a guilt syndrome, they show that they accept homosexuality. Funny and ironical, if you ask me.
We are all homosocial (this means the same-sex relationships that are not of a romantic or sexual nature, such as friendship or others). That is why people in gay/lesbian-dating sites say that they want friendship but are scared of explicitly expressing that they want a relationship beyond homosociality. Hence in case of gay men, some marry women to ensure that they are the perfect man (able to have sex with women and produce a child).
But in reality, they just perform the gender role of a man being in a conjugal relationship with a woman. Just imagine that these men at some point of time may get tired, frustrated and mentally sick performing a role that does not actually not coming from their natural feeling. Is it not an issue of mental health? Again, I want to clarify I am asking as I am no health expert. If yes, then why is this condition not a pandemic? Just imagine if the woman comes to know at some point of time that her husband is just performing his gender role, then what type of mental agony she will go through just imagining the societal norms.?
Why do our society and its different systems and institutions never teach us to be proud of our sexual identity? Why do our teachers not inject that courage in our mind from childhood that allows us to accept who we are? Why are we always taught to do things that adhere to the majoritarian norms of our society? Why are our children not taught to just love? Why does our society unknowingly (maybe knowingly) teach us to hate others which are not as per majoritarian norms?
We have many identities as humans. Sexuality is one of the important identities which governs our life and its chemistry. Why can sexuality not be left to personal choice? Why is sexuality associated with production? Why is it not discussed openly with a lot of maturity by our parents and teachers?
Can you (who are heterosexual) just close your eyes and imagine that you are a LGBTQ person? Will you ever dare to think for one time in your life in case you are not LGBTQ person? If you do so (in case you are brave) and think for a few seconds you are a gay, then how will you feel? Is it a good feeling? I could imagine that majority of you saying to yourself after the imagination exercise (almost a hundred times) that “Thank God I am not Gay”. With this thought, I leave you all here to reflect on what I shared above in this small piece expressing deviation norms so openly.