Before I answer the question in depth, please allow me to clarify that I’m not homophobic & by all means support people with all sorts of sexual orientations.
Homosexuality being an outrageous concept for Indians has many reasons few of which I want to write about in this post. Please read with an open mind, specially if you are against homosexuality.
In India, homosexuality is a criminal offence. This is law wise.
What about people in general?
Well, few NGOs and minorities of homosexuals apart, the larger population doesn’t approve of homosexuality. One might expect that younger generation might be more inclusive but for most, it’s only a porn fantasy(guys watching girl-on-girl porn) and a subject of laughter, ridicule or leg pulling. For instance, two best friends being really close will be made fun of by those around them, accusing them of lesbianism in joke….(as if it is funny or something nasty)…the same way in Western countries a guy being romantic is judged as gay (read-not masculine enough).
And most people get very angry when someone relates their behavior or attitudes to that of homosexuals. Anyway, this is the brief picture of how approving or disapproving the general population is of homosexuality.
The reasons why this is, are diverse. I somehow managed to make sense with my tiny bit of observation.
Bollywood a.k.a cinema shapes the lives of Indians deeply. Indian culture is in fact largely defined by cinema and TV soaps. People are die hard fans of film stars and take their made-up dialogues very seriously.
I discovered two Bollywood movies from the 80s and I want to share what they had to say about homosexuality.
1- The first movie is called Subah, released in 1984.
It’s about a woman’s struggle to run a women’s shelter and her determination to serve women who are judged as scum of the society. The shelter that she runs is filled with true-reality based- unsugar coated- blunt stories of women’s lives without the so called cover up. In the shelter one night, the women discover two women making love in the dark. The rest of the women start beating them up & demand that the head (the protagonist) dispel them. And these are women who have already been accused of prostitution & are very much an outcast. While in that culture, prostitution is looked down upon & was life threatening (it still is), even prostitutes hate & disregard the lesbian couple.
While the protagonist isn’t considering them as criminals, she sees them as sick. She speaks to her boss about them needing psychiatric treatment which is denied anyways and the lesbian couple ends up lighting themselves on fire.
2- The second movie I discovered is called Kaam Shastra, released in 1978.
It sounds like a porn film but its a disguise. The movie is Indian sex education style film based on whatever gynecological information they had in the 80’s. Anyways, there is a scene in which there is a group of high profile sexologists answering questions from the general public at a large conference. Someone asks about homosexuality, as in why it happens etc.
To my shock, the high profile sexologist says that homosexuality is a mental illness that occurs in people who have witnessed their parents fight when they were kids!
I cant even begin to comprehend the stupidity & the absurdity from this doctor, while many other questions they answered about sexual health were answered logically and realistically.
What I gathered from both these snippets is that people don’t really see homosexuality as natural. Those people who were young in the 80s are actually the age demographic of our current politicians, law makers, attorneys and police heads. Their knowledge of homosexuality comes from what was prevalent in their times.
I happened to strike a conversation about it with some of the people I know who fiercely reject homosexuality. I ask them a simple question- whatever you know about homosexuality, how do you know it? Have you ever read a medical journal judging whether it is normal or abnormal?
NOT ONE has ever made an effort to know what it is. All they see it as is a dirty choice some people make to piss off others. And don’t even get me started on their so called religious arguments against homosexuality, while they conveniently neglect that the prime commandment of religion is to protect and respect human life.
The only way forward is education. When I talk to such ignorant people and explain the science behind homosexuality, they are speechless. Lucky for me, they cannot argue against science because that’s based on research, unlike their hateful opinions.
And in the end there’s just one simple solution. If you hate guys don’t be one. If you hate women, don’t be with one. If you hate Islam, or African Americans or Asians, don’t be near one.
But keep it to yourself because human beings, regardless of their gender, colour, race, sexual orientations and life choices, are all worthy of human rights. Live and let live.