No living species in the world is as diverse as Homo sapiens. Animals and birds hunt and prey, breed and sleep. Those are not the only things human beings do.
Of course, we do breed, sleep, use our two limbs for walking and two for eating and working, but that’s not the point!
Our shades of skin, body types, languages, customs, traditions, beliefs, ideologies, even the realities that we live in differ from one person to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another.
And so do we differ in our preferences and inclinations too. And yet, we are ALL Homo sapiens. And that’s what matters. Or rather, that should alone matter!
With the kind of diversity that exists in the human race, no ONE belief is only right, no ONE tradition has the upper hand, no ONE skin tone is above the rest, no ONE natural inclination makes sense over all else.
And it has been proven by the scientific community that homosexuality is as natural an inclination as heterosexuality is. And so are bisexuality, transgender and queer. So where does the intolerance or unacceptability come from?
The paramount truth is this: LGBTQ+ people are found in all walks of life. They are human beings just like everyone else who ought to live in the most natural way that they deem possible and content with. It’s not a favour we bestow on them, it’s their right!
Which brings us to the question of why India hesitates to embrace the LGBTQ community despite the rest of the world being more broad-minded in accepting them more readily in the 21st century than ever before in human history?
Amongst the communities of gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexual and queer, India wouldn’t have too much of a problem in accepting transgenders into the mainstream, because since ancient times, transgenders have been a part and parcel of Indian society.
Referred to as hijras in common parlance, they are perceived as “third gender” and even have some of their rights protected by certain states. Therefore, transgenders would be the easiest amongst the LGBTQ+ lot to find acceptance in the Indian society, though in most places their rights remain side-lined.
But things are not at all easy for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and queer. Many of them hesitate to admit to even themselves about the reality of their “natural feelings”, for fear of how they would be stigmatized, brutally taunted, humiliated, threatened, maybe even killed by people as close as their parents, siblings, cousins and other relatives.
Which Indian family can tolerate such a “blemish on the family reputation”? They would rather kill than be “dishonoured” in the society.
Forget about the country, acceptance should first start from home. It’s high time that Indian families understand that their children are individuals with identities of their own, dreams of their own, preferences of their own and goals of their own.
A country in which families decide what careers should their children follow, who they marry and at what age they should start living on their own, it comes as no surprise when they are aghast at their children’s non-heterosexuality and force them to “behave” in an “acceptable” manner.
Times have changed, the world is moving in leaps and bounds not just in science and technology but in matters of inclusivity and gender neutrality too.
We had better accept the inevitable and allow our citizens to make personal choices and live a life of fulfilment and contentment, and not bog them down with the weight of our prejudices!
Laws that protect lives and reputation of the LGBTQ+ community must be introduced and effectively implemented without fail.
Or else, the country would be deprived of positive contributions from quite a good chunk of its citizens.
More importantly, a nation that is widely lauded for celebrating “Unity in Diversity” would lose its sheen by and by!