September 16, 2020
Thanks to Bollywood and pop culture, gay men are stereotyped into these over the top flamboyant, feminine and are overly sexualized. This is a major generalization done to an entire community based on a few hyper exaggerated features, which leads to such blurred and wrong representation of the Gay men in India.
Below are some of the myths V/S reality about being gay in India.
1. Gender: “Gay men are all feminine”
The idea that male homosexuality is directly linked with femininity is erroneous. While there are of course some gay men who express themselves (via speech, dress and behavior) in ways which are traditionally “feminine,” there are many others who do not. Men behaving in an effeminate manner is not inherently problematic or deserving of public shaming. What is problematic is the assumption that all gay men display the same type of gender behavior. Gay men, as a group, display tremendous diversity in their expressions and displays of masculinity and femininity. Part of the reason this myth about the “femininity” of gay men survives is because many of the most masculine gay men are not necessarily open about their sexual orientation and/or it is not “assumed” by others that such men are gay. In this regard, the most visible gay men are often those who superficially meet the stereotype of femininity, not those who challenge it.
2. Sexual Attraction: “Gay men are attracted to all men and can’t control their desires”
Like any other group of people, men who are homosexual are attracted to only certain types of men who spark their interest or sexual desire. The notion that gay men have some type of universal sexual desire for all men is simply absurd. The dominance of this myth in certain societal contexts, however, creates particular problems for gay men who wish to participate or excel in domains (e.g. sport, military) that are strongly associated with “heterosexual masculinity.” The suggestion that straight men should “fear” having to share sporting change rooms or military quarters with gay men promotes the damaging idea that gay men are essentially predatory, completely incapable of containing their own desires.
3. Health: “HIV/AIDS is primarily a disease among gay men”
Within heterosexist and homophobic societal contexts, HIV/AIDS is frequently misrepresented as a disease of gay men. While in the U.S.A. men who have sex with men are over-represented in the population of people who has HIV/AIDS, labeling the illness as a “gay” one dismisses the reality that HIV transmission globally is uniquely associated with one particular group: human beings (of all sexual orientations). The fact that gay men form the single largest group of people with HIV/AIDS in America fails to take into account the various societal and cultural factors which contribute to this occurrence. Societal discrimination against gay men can have direct effects on individuals, impacting self-esteem and leading some men to engage in behaviors which place their health at risk.
4. Relationships: “Gay men are not relationship-oriented”
The suggestion that being homosexual would make gay men less able to connect with or fall in love with another person is illogical and has no basis in reality. Opponents of marriage equality demonize gay men as sex-obsessed on the one hand and yet on the other hand refuse to support their access to an institution (marriage) that aims to foster sexual monogamy and life-long interpersonal commitment. What is truly amazing is that throughout history and to this day, so many gay men have been able to sustain long-term committed relationships with a male partner in spite of having to deal with intense societal discrimination and lack of structural support for their relationships. As the legalization of same-sex marriage becomes more widespread, an increasing number of male couples are now choosing to formalize their relationships legally.
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5. Childhood: “Male homosexuality is caused by parenting or trauma in childhood”
Many of those who oppose LGBT equality dismiss the biological basis of sexual orientation and promote other theories regarding the development of a homosexual orientation. Some argue that a male homosexual orientation develops as a result of certain types of parenting such as the presence of an overly involved mother and/or an absent father. There is no evidence to suggest that how people parent their children has any direct involvement in the type of sexual orientation a child subsequently develops. Others suggest that sexual abuse in childhood can cause the development of a homosexual orientation. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim. The suggestion that abuse causes the development of a homosexual orientation doesn’t hold up given that many gay men have no such abuse history.
6. Parenting: “Two gay men as a couple can’t raise healthy and happy children”
Those who support discrimination against gay men frequently claim that children need a “mom and a dad” in order to prosper in life. Rather than focusing their efforts on preventing heterosexual divorce, such people focus on the alleged dangers of parenting by same-sex couples. In reality, there is no evidence to support the notion that children raised by gay male couples are harmed psychologically, physically or socially as a result of being parented by two men. Thousands of children in America are raised by gay male couples. Social science research from a wide range of settings and disciplines has demonstrated that children raised by same-sex couples (including gay male couples) experience similar outcomes to those raised by opposite-sex couples in relation to psychological, physical and social development.