Dear straight people,
Before you ask me the question that’s on the tip of your tongue, the one you can’t resist blurting out, let me answer it for you- I’m straight, just like you. The reason I “clarify” this is because it will perhaps make you take me a wee bit seriously.
As heterosexual people living in one of the fastest developing nations in the world, you and I, are a privileged breed of Indians. We can go out when we want, with whoever we please, and wherever we’d like. We can follow our dreams, study where we’d like, and apply for that dream job without any inhibition. We enjoy a healthy relationship with our family, friends and even the society, to a certain level. This privilege, in itself, makes us responsible to stand up for those who do not enjoy it, especially when they’re not even at fault.
I’ve been interacting with people from the LGBTQIA community for quite a while now, and thus, I consider myself capable enough to champion their cause. Sadly, like most other “causes”, this shouldn’t even have to be one. My interactions with the community have convinced me of one thing- the stories we read in the papers and watch on TV aren’t as far removed from reality as we believe them to be. They happen every day, around us, to people we know or know of.
On the street near your house, a constable stops two boys for being out so late at night and threatens to tell their parents about them. A child is told by his mother he can’t wear a skirt because he’s a boy. A bisexual boy is told his sexual identity is invalid. A father looks his son in the eye and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t stop seeing the guy he loves. An asexual girl is told she’s just being a prude. A hijra is dumped behind bars and sexually harassed. A woman is fired from a job she’s great at because the other women don’t feel safe around her. It all happens, and looking away or validating your ignorance with indifference isn’t going to help the situation.
While we’re being taught lessons in self-love, being inspired to find our true selves, there are several people out there who are condemned for embracing their very self. While we are being asked to fight for what we love, there are people being told they cannot love someone based on their anatomy. While we are being asked to fight for our rights, there are people whose basic rights are subject to public opinion.
If not because you care, support the community for the simple fact that we are all human beings, meant to pull each other up. As a modern day, rational Indian, the least you can do is use your voice for those who aren’t allowed to use their own. Either you’re with us, or you’re wrong. Start today, and start by not flinching like someone shot you when they say you’re “gay” for supporting LGBTQIA rights. Would you react the same way if I called you “straight” for being indifferent towards the issue at hand? Start by not using the word gay to describe things you don’t like. Start by not being scared of the hijra on the local train. Start by not using the term “bicurious” to describe how adventurous you are. Start by believing asexuality exists. Start by being an Ally.
One of you