Hate mongers are at it again!
As you all know, the Supreme Court of India is currently hearing appeals against the Delhi High Court 377 verdict that decriminalized homosexuality in India.
Homosexuality is all over the news in India, once again. The national media is watching the trial closely. They are publishing articles, writing editorials, and conducting interviews around the issues of homosexuality and Sec 377. I am flooded with links to these stories from my friends, social networking sites, mailing lists and tweets from @BombayDost, @ChennaiPride, and other sources.
Every time I click a link, I tell myself “Don’t! Don’t look at the comments”. But I can’t help it. I read most of the comments and, at times, respond to some of them.
One would be naive to expect a civil discourse on Internet forums. People who post comments on these forums mostly don’t want to hear what others have to say. They don’t want a discussion and don’t want to hear different opinions. They don’t want to listen to facts. They just want to condemn things, ideas and people they don’t like or they don’t agree with. For them it is yet another platform to release their stress, vent out their anger and spread hate. When it comes to homosexuality, there is no scarcity of hate. It keeps on coming!
The funny thing is most of these hate mongers don’t know anything about homosexuality! They have never directly interacted with a person from the LGBT community: this is obvious from their comments. This, however, does not stop them from pronouncing judgement on the LGBT communities and accusing us, especially gay men, of a laundry list of wrong-doings. When one posts responses based on facts, personal experiences, and evidence, they get even more furious!
Instead of responding to the hate mongers individually, I thought I would write a post here.
Gays are charged with so many things. But are we guilty?
Allegation: Gays convert other people (including children) to homosexuality:
I have been out as gay to parents, family and friends for six years now, and have known I was gay since I was a teenager. I have never attempted to convert a straight person – man, woman or a child – to homosexuality. But, believe me when I say this, every other straight person to whom I came out, including my parents, family and close friends have tried to make me straight!
“It is just a phase.”
“How do you know you are gay, if you have never slept with a woman? Try it!”
“Let’s go to a psychiatrist. I am sure they can make you straight.”
“Just get married.You will be fine.”
I have never said “Try it” to a straight person. It is the mostly the ‘other side’ that is guilty of the conversion attempts, not the gays.
Allegation: Gays are against family values:
I love my family. I always have. I have been a dutiful son and a caring brother all my life. I have stood by my family through thick and thin. After I came out, nothing changed from my end. But from my family’s perspective, I was not the same son, brother or cousin anymore. Some in my family have stopped talking to me, some talk to me, but completely ignore the fact that I am gay, some have conditions to maintain a relationship with me (“as long as you don’t talk about your sexuality, or your relationship” etc.). There are so many permutations and combinations, honestly I have to maintain a list of what I can talk about with each family member.
This is true for many in the LGBT community. Many of us are disowned, ignored, ostracized and condemned by our own families because of who we are. So, if family and family values are all about unconditional love, being there for each other, supporting through thick and thin, are the gays guilty? You decide!
Allegation: Gays spread HIV/AIDS:
This is simple. HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) spread because of unprotected sex. Gender, race, sexuality are all irrelevant. This is a scientific fact! You try explaining this to the hate mongers, they simply won’t listen. They keep on flogging a dead horse. I mean, how difficult it is for someone to understand this? Really?
True, there are certain high-risk groups. For example, in the US the African American community is considered a high-risk group, but that doesn’t mean if you are black, you will be infected with HIV/AIDS. In the same way gays are one of the high-risk groups. That’s it. And how on the earth is stigmatizing a high-risk group is going to help any of us?
For the record, 85% of HIV transmission in India is from men to women and vice-versa.
Allegation: Gays are sick. Homosexuality is a disease:
APA, WHO and many leading mental health professionals in India don’t think so! But that is simply not enough for these self proclaimed scientists and doctors. “Mental disorder”, “Hormonal malfunction”, “Psychological problem” – hate mongers come up with different terms to brand gay people as sick. Ignorance is bliss! Isn’t it?
A friend of mine was taken by his parents to a psychologist, when he came out as gay. The parents thought homosexuality was a disease and their son needed to be cured. They were hoping the doctor would prescribe medicines and treatments and cure their son. Guess what? The doctor did prescribe a treatment, not for the son, but for the parents. He asked the parents to attend parents counselling. The counsellor explained to the parents about human sexuality and how homosexuality is a difference not a disease. It took several sessions, but the parents finally came to understand the truth and accepted their son for who he is.
The fact is homophobia is sick, not homosexuality.
Still not convinced? Well, if you think you know better than Narayana Reddy, Vijay Nagaswami, KS Jacob and others, who am I to burst your bubble?
Do you have something to say to the hate mongers? Please feel free to post a comment here.