“The only queer people are those who don’t love anybody.” ― Rita Mae Brown
Love knows no gender
Pride means, a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired is the explanation given in the dictionary. Over the last 20 years the meaning Pride took a whole new meaning, in 1999-2000 when the then President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton named it the Pride Month honoring the LGBTQ Community (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer). Gay: lighthearted, carefree, bright and showy are the meanings that were in the dictionary the meaning I knew for this word, till it also meant in the LGBTQ form. Now, I tend to associate those original denotations to the entire LGBTQ community.
I remember hearing the word Lesbian for the first time when watching the sitcom FRIENDS when I began watching it after 2000. Never talked about it to anyone though even though I was intrigued by the whole thing at that time. Had a conversation with Amma a few years later about this and how we discussed may be some of the earlier generations many in the families did not get married due to this. Been a silent advocate for the LGBTQ community in the recent years mainly since, I feel am a bit more progressive than many in my generation. Many haven’t been able to accept the fact that their can be same gender love or accept the fact that many individuals feel that they are more of a woman inside a man’s body or a man inside a woman’s body. This kind of acceptance comes when you know people or you have a love or affection towards a particular being. The younger generations in India have been more open and have been ‘Coming Out’ more than any in my generation or prior generations in the country. I have heard of a few marriages falling apart, mainly because one of the individuals was gay or lesbian. Their is an age old misconception especially in India, get the person married and everything will be alright (not only in this matter even in regards to mental disorders this is a total different blog if I can put it together). There are many humans who fall prey to this, because either they don’t want to be shunned by the society or the family is thinking of this as a ‘Phase’, hoping when they have coitus post marriage such a ‘Desire’ comes to an end. Whereas if the family has to accept the transgender in the family I think is equally an issue, mainly since the parents expect a boy to behave ‘like a boy’ and not prefer makeup or feminine stuff and if you are a girl not try and behave like a boy and grow out of the tomboyish stage.
As a parent/sibling/cousin/friend/relative the best one can do is accept the person as they are. There is a couplet that I quote here from the movie Mohabbatein: Koi Payar Karein Toh Tumse Karein, Tum Jaise Ho Waise Karein, Koi Tumko Badalke Payar Karein Toh Woh Payar Nahin Dhokha Karein which literally translates to: If someone is to love you, may that person love you for who you are, if they want to change you then its not love its just a lie.
These issues were tackled and spoken about on national television in Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate’s episode aired on August 18th 2014 Accepting Alternate Sexualities (episode is available on YouTube for those interested). At home we used to watch all the episodes of Satyamev Jayate as Mr. B and I are big fans of Aamir Khan and the topics he was addressing seemed very relevant to us. I still remember after this episode was aired we spoke about it and I realized he couldn’t accept this or rather couldn’t relate to it, whereas I was a bit more okay with the whole thing.
Fast-forward to a few years later when we learn that someone close to us, U prefers same gender instead of the opposite gender. A new realization dawned on me that this was something that’s probably our new normal. When this truth came out U was going through other issues in life and was at a place were some nuns tried to talk to U saying they had ‘saved’ people from living such lives they made it seem like U’s sexuality was something that could be corrected, was appalled that people could be so damn narrow-minded. Thankfully, a good Psychiatrist was found, who was able to get U of the lurch as their were suicidal tendencies as well at this point. Not many know about it even today and I am protective and proud of U. Of those who know not many have been able to accept it and move on, whereas between Mr. B and me this topic has never come up after this. U has a life and has probably continued to date and hopefully finds a match soon.
Transgender was a topic that needed some reading to be done and that was being postponed by me indefinitely, then I came across a social media profile of a youngster from my days with my parents in the bank flats. I had always seen this individual dress mostly like a tomboy (which frankly was a phase I went through so….) as a child. Now T is a man, undergoing testosterone injections before going for surgery. As Amma remembers T well I had shared this news with her and her reaction was at least T is happy now. I have no idea how T’s parents took the news hopefully they’ve accepted T for who he is. T’s sibling who again is younger me by years but older to T has accepted T for who he is.
Hopefully, there will be more acceptance to these, as I said this is my new normal and trust me when I say I wouldn’t have it any other way for both U and T. This is still an alien topic, something that’s considered a sin, in many parts of the world, its even been called an ideology. In India homosexuality was a criminal offence until Article 377 was amended on 6th September, 2018. Though the film world seems to have more movies talking about LGBTQ now than before. Even known actors in the Theatre, Film world are not shying away from accepting such roles, though these movies are not widely acclaimed even though its been showcased. In many cases its still a topic that’s discussed within closed doors. However accepting and progressive I am I wouldn’t discuss this topic with most of my older/peer or younger family members even now as the acceptance is still an issue. Just because the verdict has come doesn’t mean my older relatives on either side of Mr. B’s and my family will be okay with the topic in a discussion, homosexuality’s a big no here, but that doesn’t mean they can accept the transgender topic either. The verdict was only the beginning in the country, many are yet to accept this and many are still alienated by families, but as social media has shown over the last year or so especially the Humans of Bombay posts on Facebook families are slowly accepting this after some initial confusions. Many parents have issues accepting and later tend to become counselors and advisors to other parents, much like my parents Amma accepted I was dyslexic, but Achan and my grandparents (both sides) took time and soon they all were advocates for me.
This was a topic I was edging to write about for a long time what better time than when its Pride Month. October (USA) and February(UK) are considered History months for LGBTQ respectively.
The mentions of both U and T were done after taking their permissions. I didn’t act like the Didi/Chechi (older sister) and assume they would be okay with it ;). Like T just messaged me when I asked if I could call him tomboy when talking about his childhood, he mentioned a line from a poem ‘what is a tomboy if not a transboy in hiding?’ Here I request all readers not to get ideas that all tomboys are transboy’s. I am learning so much from those younger to me these days.
2 thoughts on “A Rainbow”
Lovely write up! Acceptance is all the LGBTQ community is asking for… and what they get instead is hate. Hoping this changes in the world soon 🤞🏻
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Thanks a lot. Yes acceptance is the key and the only balm to the pain. I too hope to see a change soon……
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