“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Society and Homosexuality

(Courtsey http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2006/04/open-season-death-squads-targeting.html)
(Gay individuals being hanged to death in Iraq)

Now that Delhi High Court legalized homosexuality and the news kept glaring in the front pages, it is with great relief that one can talk about homosexuality in public forums in India. More than the legal sanction, the real impact of the verdict is on the lifting of the social taboo that had persisted since centuries in this country. For the ‘normal’ heterosexuals that formed majority of the population, the topic of homosexuality has been repulsive. Yet it had thrived all the while, from pedophilic priests to soldier bunkers, to nauseating public toilets, to the privacy of bedrooms and to pornographic sites in the Internet. Like the proverbial cat lapping up milk keeping its eyes shut, the society pretended ignorance.

I always sympathized with the transvestites, the effeminate, the social limitations of those people who preferred same-sex partners - the trauma of stigmatization they suffered has always struck a chord in my heart as it should for those who are deprived of freedom and liberty due to reasons beyond them. The mainstream society treats them with ridicule and contempt (there is a Malayalam movie, Chaandupottu, in which the hero is an effeminate male. While the tone is light humor, poking fun at him, one cannot forget the vicious undertones and thin borderline between fun and outright hostility) to rage resulting in physical abuse. I have observed many individuals, watched documentaries and read books depicting and defending the plight of this minority. As much as I empathize with them, sometimes I am unable to understand the need to centralize sex in their lives. I agree that sex is an integral part of life, yet to focus on it as if their survival depended on it seems to me a bit stretched. As one of the heterosexual crowd, I am sure I too will be ostracized if I projected my sexual needs in an uncontrolled manner.

In some instances, I have come to learn that heterosexual depravity has been the cause of resorting to homosexuality. In some cases among women, sexual abuse by men in a young age had turned them into lesbians. A majority might have genetic or hereditary disposition for their sexual preference. Many of the Hijdas (Indian community of transvestites) have been forced and physically tortured to become one as young children or youth. What I would like to underline is that there could be justifiable reasons for being different from the mass.

To take in the scene with a wide-angle lens, one should be liberal and broadminded to accept the innumerable, irreversible deviance that exists in human society. Deviance from the mainstream, socially accepted culture and practices should not be condemned so long as it does not infringe upon others’ right to live in peace. This broad vision should include not only humans, other cultures and other religions but other species also, including plant and animals, with love and tolerance that collectively would radiate beyond the confines of the planet to the entire Cosmos, of which we all are part. It is not a utopian fantasy, but a reality that can be strived for.

***************Balachandran, Trivandrum 09.10.2010


  1. Back in the early 1970's around the precincts of the Govt Model High School in Thiruvanathapuram,I as student of the middle school used to run away from this polio afflicted person who was allegedly a pedophile and homosexual.The fear turned into jest and fun when topic of discussion centered around this man.Then the irritants one come across in movie halls.These shadows of constricted homosexual practitioners will be eclipsed by the tribe that now enjoy their sexual leanings in stealth,and by force.

    However I would term your ideas as Utopian . More because it is not in the nature of human beings to agree to disagree with fellow men.

  2. A well written thought about such highly controversial issues. There are many pros and cons but, as human beings, these people of different sexual orientations should not be mentally castrated. There are many homosexuals that are good people in heart and spirit; just as there are the same traits, good and bad in heterosexuals...

  3. To be frank, I don’t know why someone’s sexual preference should attain the centre stage. May be religion plays havoc here insisting that sex should be between men and women as the ultimate goal of it is reproduction. As long as these people are not harming anyone, why can’t we let them be what they are?

  4. Due to an imbibed fear of homosexuals that was part of our growing up years, it took me a lot of working on myself to accept this amongst people. I was scared of them. It took, I am sorry to say, american films and tv soaps to help me accept homosexuals as normal, loving people with just one varying parameter. I will be ever grateful to the film philadelphia for this!

  5. @sujata: Gay community is finding its voice the world over to stake their right to co-exist with the rest. Gay people, otherwise law abiding, are very much normal despite their sexual orientation. As responsible and sensitive individuals, we should listen to their side of the story too. Yes, Philadelphia was a watershed movie. So is 'Milk'. Have you seen that? We Indians have, by tradition, lot of sexual inhibitions, in spite of the ancient culture which celebrated sex as enlightening. Khajuraho sculptures for eg.

    @Arun: Tolerance is only in the holy scriptures, not in practice! :(

    @Sandy: There are ample studies and essays on this subject, for and against. One has to be honest to oneself, to realize truth.

  6. Hmm...I really cannot understand what this whole fuss is about.

    I have a friend who is gay and i really dont see him as different from any of my other friends. His sexual orientation is his personal belief..why should i even be bothered ?

    He is smart , intelligent , hardworking and as normal as any of us. Really makes no big difference..

    I seriously wish the world wouldn be so prejudiced..


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