FSOG Blog Series: I AM AN ALLY- Straight Indians Fighting for LGBTQIA Rights.
I have observed that someone who believes in a cause will never be shy to voice their opinion. Our next Ally in the series has cemented this belief of mine.
“A three legged dog, for instance, gets sympathy that knows no bounds, but when it comes to people who are slightly different than the rest, they receive no support, and are in fact picked upon, harassed and bullied”, says Yashika Chauhan.
A 19-year old heterosexual media student from Dehradun, Yashika believes that people from the LGBTQIA community are humans just like the rest of us, and do not get to choose who they are or who they love for they are born with it. Growing up away from home in a boarding school in Mussoorie, she noticed that her gay friends were usually more sensitive and understanding towards her problems than the others.
“In my school, we had more Thai students than Indians. Perhaps because they knew how it felt not to be understood, or just because they were better people, my gay friends were always better companions than the others. The straight guys would generalize a lot, and practice misogyny without even knowing they were wrong. They would label any guy even slightly feminine as “meetha” and were very nasty to them.”
“A lot of straight guys idolize Iron Man, but dislike girls wearing makeup. They can admire someone using prosthetics, but they cannot take a second out to compliment you on your contouring or highlighting. I have known gay people who will come up to you and compliment your liner if they like it, without any inhibitions or fear of judgement”
The judicial vehicle, according to Yashika, majorly contributes to the way the community is treated in India, through “stupid” laws that fail to make sense.
“Section 377 is an utterly stupid law. What two people are doing within the walls of their room, with their bodies, how they choose to get intimate should not be anyone’s business but their own. There is no need of a third person to monitor something as private and personal as their sexual activity”, she says.
Besides the regressive law, the biggest challenge the LGBTQIA community in India faces today, she feels, is not being considered humans at all.
“This pertinent issue is not seen as a concern at all. People do not see people from the community as humans. They are seen as abominations. Trans people are seen as ‘chakkas’ who clap and dance by the roadside. People give them alms so they won’t pass on their ‘curse to them’
As a straight person who supports LGBTQIA rights, Yashika feels there are several reasons the issue doesn’t find a lot of champions in straight people. The pressure from parents and relatives comes first.
“Parents do not want their child associating with this cause for fear of what the society will say. Fortunately, that was never the case with me. A single parent, my mother has always been cool with my gay friends. In fact, she feels like I am safer with them.”
Next up is peer pressure, that can mess with anyone’s head very easily.
“If one guy stands up in support, the others will pull him down asking, ‘Oh, so even you’re gay?’ ‘Tu bhi chakka hai kya?’ The pressure is so intense that people don’t even think of voicing their opinion when it comes to this”
Speaking to Yashika answers so many unspoken questions in my head, but it is what she concludes with that has the greatest impact.
“Millennials today want to travel, learn new languages, meet new people. I ask, how will you accept people from different parts of the world when you can’t accept and support someone right next to you and see them as equal?”