What queer people want the world to know
What is love? No. This isn’t a reference to the 1992 Haddaway song. In a world where being “woke” is as important as having your PAN and Aadhar linked, this question needs to be asked with a lot of vehemence. That’s because a good number of us still believe in the heteronormative norm that marriage or romance should be between a man and a woman. This is appalling, especially in an age where section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that once criminalised same-sex union has been scrapped.
Some conservative sections of the Indian society have still not “bought into” the idea of normalising a same-sex relationship, and people of the LGBTQ community still face discrimination and ridicule.
This type of intolerance stems from ignorance about the community and what homosexuality really is. A little education and a smidgen of empathy can go a long way to turn things around.
In a countdown to Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate the idea of love. And on this occasion, we asked five members of the LGBTQ community what it means to love and be loved.
We believe in consent too
“Somehow, my classmates thought it was OK to touch me or grope me in jest, thinking that I liked it,” says Wilfred (name changed). “In school, some boys used to mess with me in class, all the while calling me a hijda, chakka and all that. But I am sure some of those bullies had latent homosexual tendencies, because they would mock “rape” me in class and touch me inappropriately. Just because I am gay doesn’t mean you can touch me as you please. My consent is important too.”
Bisexuality is not always experimenting
As a bisexual woman, Anupriya is tired of being told she’s going through an experimental phase. “I’ve been asked by so many men and women whether my bisexuality is a phase. I liked both men and women all my life. It’s only in my adulthood that I finally got to explore my sexuality. No. It’s not a phase and I won’t do a threesome with you and your wife!?” she adds.
We have sex too… but it’s different
Most heterosexuals are often befuddled by the idea of gay sex. Rishabh Dhruv, a Mumbai writer ,in his mid-twenties wants to spell it out for the confused heteros out there. “Two boys having d****, no vagina here. So how it’s possible? That’s why there’s anal sex. The “top” (the person who enjoys the penetrative role) enters the “bottom” (the person who enjoys being penetrated) and they have fun! People think anus is not meant for sex…but that’s not the case!” he explains.
“Don’t just respect us; treat us like an equal”
Treating someone normally is more important than just giving respect. “I feel like there is a huge difference between respecting each other, and seeing each other as an equal. Even if people respect your orientation, on the moment they learn about it, suddenly it’s the most interesting thing about you. However, I think it partly is caused by curiosity, because people want to know what it is like. But you are suddenly a different species to them,” says NoethLatty a Redditor.
“For some reason, some straight guys are convinced every gay guy wants them”
“Excuse me, but I have standards,” says a 31-year-old creative director from Mahim, Mumbai. “Just because I am gay doesn’t mean I am starving to have sex with the next person I see. I may be friendly to you, but please don’t flatter yourself,” he says.
“We lead ordinary lives”
Life as a gay person doesn’t mean it is flashy as they show in the movies. They can be as low-key too. You don’t get “how utterly ordinary, mundane, and average most gay people and their lives actually are,” says a Redditor. “The gayest thing I do is watch Rupaul’s drag race,” adds another.
“Coming out never stops”
If you thought “coming out” — the moment in a gay person’s life when they disclose their sexuality — is a one-time thing, you are mistaken. “At every point in my life — when I join a new workplace or make a new friend — I have to come out to them. It’s a lifelong process and I hope it stops one day,” says Shrishti (name changed).