If you aren’t familiar with the term already, LGBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Described by many as a colonial baggage that has outlived its relevance in the present times, the infamous Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a silent reminder of the sheer failure of the system to be inclusive and progressive. We got in touch with one such teen who narrated his side of the story, as a student who is part of the sexual minority. Read along as he describes the concept of homophobia, his experience as a DU student and more..
“It’s the 21st century and the LGBT (Lesbian is excluded because of the legal recognition and rights given to them recently, although they still face rampant discrimination.) population in India is still almost non-existent; well that’s according to the government who turns a blind eye towards the LGBT community and the Supreme Court which said in its 2013 judgement that “the LGBT population constitutes only a minuscule fraction of the country’s population” and reinstated section 377 in the statute books.
I’m a gay teen and many of you might think that You and I are very different. Well that’s not true because at the end of the day we are all humans except for the fact that you don’t have to live a dual life.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning, when I realised that I was gay. Being made fun of, the gender stereotypes and the countless myths and taboos are some of the things associated with being gay. I used to ask God “why me?” hoping that I would turn out to be “normal” and that this is just a phase. This was, until I read about being gay on the internet which gave me an assurance that it’s normal. I’m lucky that I had access to the internet, which showed me a ray of hope. I clearly remember reading a quote which said, “being straight is not normal, it’s just common.” It made me realise that I was not alone and that there are millions of others just like me. I even read stories of gay people from all across the world and the LGBT rights movements across North America and Europe.
I live a dual life and I’m good at it because I have never been bullied or called names, although I may have garnered a little bit of suspicion from some people. It’s basically living a lie; I have to pretend to like girls and hide my feelings towards a person of the same-sex. One instance I can recall in this regard is that I made a girlfriend just so I could show those ignorant homophobes that even I can get a girl. This act proved my “manliness” to my peers and put a stop to all those jokes and suspicions. They thought that I’m a late bloomer.
My experience at DU has been good so far. I haven’t encountered any discrimination/homophobia but also haven’t met many LGBT people. Maybe that is because they are in the closet just like I am. In my first year at DU, I came out to two of my close friends. They took it positively and hugged me together, twice. In fact, one of them only asked me to write this article. Coming out isn’t easy. That’s because you have to run a thousand simulations of how the person to whom you are coming out will take it. Then you have to predict how this person will take it or go with your gut feeling. After all this, find the right time to tell them. After telling them, see their first reaction and if its negative then say I’m kidding and it’s a joke or make up some lame excuse. So basically it’s a long process. After coming out, the person may ask questions, but that’s good because it shows their interest and that they care about you.
India is a free country, yet I’m not allowed to live openly and freely. There is always the fear of someone finding out. But now I have got used to it; it does not affect me as much as it used to. I have a long term goal which is to move out of this country and live freely, without any fear. It’s not like I’m unpatriotic, it’s just that I deserve better. Why should I suffer in this country when I can live a better and dignified life abroad. The reason I want to leave this country is simple- India is homophobic and ignorant. The country has no laws protecting the gay community; instead there are archaic laws like section 377 that still exist in the statute books.
However, there has been a change in the Indian society, people have started discussing the issue of LGBT equality. The media has played a significant role in highlighting the problems faced by the LGBT community. In the parliament a private member’s bill was proposed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to drop section 377 from the statute books. It was rejected for discussion, but at least it’s a start.
To be honest I don’t think India might adopt marriage equality and employment rights for the gay community anytime in the near future. Also, with the pace at which things are moving in this country, I feel its best if I move out of the country and live a better life.
The opinion expressed is a solely personal account of the writer, who wrote this with the promise of anonymity. LGBT rights is an important issue for discussion and such voices need to be heard. Does the mainstream even know about their existence? If not, we all should.
Featured image credits: : www.aljazeera.com
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