Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Does The LGBT Community Stereotype Straights?

One usually hears of the heterosexual majority stereotyping the LGBT community, but recently I've seen some in the LGBT community hitting back. Here’s what I’ve heard them say. Heterosexuals are, among other things, boring, stupid, loud mouthed and ignorant

Sridhar Rangayan - LGBT rights activist
and Justin Trudeau - Canadian PM
It is smart to have 'attitude'. Laughter is a great antidote to and a release from centuries of having to swallow the anger and misery heterosexuals have put you through. Not only have they been ignorant, they've been indifferent to the pain they've inflicted through that ignorance. Their prejudice has meant your having to face their secret sniggers. Pay-back is gratifying. 

Some heterosexuals deserve everything you give. They choose to remain obnoxious and close-minded even today, in the age of the internet.  

What about the rest? The best way to get them on board is to remain approachable; to engage with them. 

The image above is a prime example of two individuals who are great role models. One needs no introduction. The other, Sridhar Rangayan, is well known within the homosexual community. He has worked tirelessly to promote the cause. He has addressed the prejudice, ignorance and fear relentlessly, but politely, and with a lot of patience. His passion is to make movies with LGBT themes so people understand what homosexual individuals go through at the hands of heterosexuals. 

If 7% of the population is homosexual and 93% heterosexual, he knows he needs to get sympathetic heterosexuals - and there are many, on board.

He has read the unspoken messages in the eyes of ignorant and prejudiced individuals a million times more than many young homosexuals. The, ‘Oh, how odd. He likes men/she likes women.’ kind. And yet, he prefers to remain approachable. 

We all know that this perception of your sexual preferences being odd, has got to go. We've seen how it colours every thought and action of many whose likes are more mainstream. Thinking of the homosexual community along those lines is absurd. I've yet to come across two heterosexuals thinking in that cringe-worthy manner when they are introduced to one another. Why single out homosexuals for that 'honour'?

But changing this perception can happen only if the lines of communication are open. There is humanity on all sides and there are some who will understand, like the other man in the photo - Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister. 

You've just got to reach out. You need to help people see that someone's sexual orientation is what it is. It is nothing against nature. And there is more depth, complexities and layers beyond, that should be their primary concern.

So, go ahead. Call us ignorant, stupid or prejudiced. 

Just let it remain within the realm of harmless fun. Okay?

Sridhar's Facebook link - a lot of support at this link for homosexuals. Huge support from Friends of Homosexuals here, too. 
All images from here

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Deja Vu? Writing on the Wall?

This is an excerpt from Rohinton Mistry's, "A Fine Balance". What struck me was the chilling resemblance between Indira's Emergency days and now.

A conversation between Maneck and a taxi driver.

To repeat some chilling lines from above, 

"...she was helping one group make trouble for the state govt. Afterwards the group became so powerful..." Sound familiar?

Friday, July 8, 2016


We've all heard the term, 'homophobia.' Most of us think to ourselves, 'That's not me. Didn't I drape my profile picture on facebook in rainbow colours to support them? Do I ever abuse them orally or physically? And don't I support their rights?' 

In India, the majority do have a, 'live and let live' attitude. Most of us support the homosexual community, but there are more ways than outright abuse to harm our minority LGBT+ community. The major culprit is ignorance. And perhaps, indifference. We are heterosexual, and homosexuality doesn't really concern us. 

Today, I would like to show how homosexuality does concern all of us.

If someone says, "It is unnatural,' what is our reaction? Do we feel angry but lack the courage to defend the LGBT+ community? Or do we feel forced to concede it is so? If it is the latter, it is because we are ignorant. It is because many of us, inside our hearts believe it is unnatural. But more than that, it is because we haven't bothered to find out for ourselves and say with conviction it isn't. We've kept away. There is only so much support we are capable of giving.

After reading the plethora of information available online - information from reliable sources, we come to know that about 7% of the population is born homosexual. They are not capable of entering into a physical relationship with people of the opposite sex. And humans aren't the only ones. It happens throughout the animal kingdom.

Even if we knew the fact, there's Bollywood and the way they portray the LGBT+ community that holds us back from giving our unstinting support. Here's one article on the subject  

So, how do we know we have these unconscious biases? Here's a challenge. Next time you see a pride march, observe your reaction. Do you walk past or drive past in a hurry? Do you hurry your kids past? Or do you pause to watch? Perhaps smile at their enjoyment? That should give you an indication. 

There's a lot we could do to overcome our biases.  

  • join Indian LGBT+ sites 
  • get to know individuals as individuals and not only by their sexual orientation
  • follow Godrej’s example for inclusive policies and policies of gay rights at the office
  • wave or even walk part of the way during gay parades
  • comment on videos or articles on the LGBT+ community… 
If you have more suggestions please do let me know either through the comments section or via email and I'll include them in the post. Please remember, unnecessarily rude comments will be deleted.

Here’s a beautiful series I watched recently - All About Article 377 . Don’t get fooled by the title. It is mostly about fun, young individuals living in Mumbai - some gay and some not. An interesting plot and the acting is superb.  

Final thought. First, an article debunking 5 Myths About Gay People on the LIVE SCI=ENCE website. 

Next, a question. Why should we work on our unconscious bias? 

Half baked or dhachu-pachu support for any cause falls into the hands of  the violent, in this case,  homophobic individuals who believe they can mentally or physically abuse homosexuals and get away with it. 

The violent have only one thing on their minds - power through violence. All else has failed for most of them. They disguise their desire for violence in various ways - homosexuals are perverts. women invite rape by wearing provocative clothes, servants don't know their place, a community's eating habits or strange rituals...

How could I forget cruelty to Animals?

The way to fight homophobia is to be informed and have the courage of our convictions. If most of us are (naturally) scared to stand up to the violent, if most of us are peace loving and non-interfering how do we do that? Do we simply let them go ahead and perpetrate their violence? Do we hand over our country and the future into their hands? Do we ignore our humanity when we see violence perpetrated by bullies on their victims? 

Here's an alternative. We get organised. (The violent certainly have.) We get together with others like us. Where do we meet others like us? Here's a post on how best to get organised. The suggestion is simple and effective. 

Your comments and feedback welcome. Feel free to share and if you do, please acknowledge this writer. Thanks.