“You wouldn’t know the demons in the closet unless you have lived in one. But when do you live in a closet? When you are told that you no longer fit in. But why do you not fit in? Because you are a man who loves a man or a woman who loves a woman, and you don’t get to decide that you can,” said 28-year-old Anuj, who came out last month. Since then he has been living a life that is more of a nightmare. His parents disowned him when he told them that he is gay, most of his friends abandoned him. Currently he lives at his boyfriend Sourav’s place.
‘I love you’
The most beautiful thing about this phrase is that it does not discriminate on the basis of the gender of the speaker and that of the listener. But people do. Even though most of the people and especially youth has accepted the same-gender love as normal and legitimate as heterosexual love, we still have a long way to go. Homosexuality in most parts of the world is seen as a disease, as something purely sexual and pathological. Same-sex marriages are still not legitimate in most of the countries. The things people do not seem to understand is that the gays and lesbians are not experimenting with their sexuality and it is not just a ‘phase’. It is their reality. LGBT community and their supporters, all over the world, are still fighting for their right to love and marry someone they truly feel for. If that is not sad, I don’t know what is.
Consequences of and challenges faced after Coming out:
It is true that society in general can be very ruthless when you deviate from what’s considered normal. But it doesn’t matter or matters a lot less when your family supports you. But what happens when it doesn’t? Anuj is just one of those people who face rejection from their family for being gay, for being so called ‘not normal’. This is one of the major reasons why many people never come out and continue to live an exceedingly frustrating and incomplete life pretending to be someone they are not and loving someone they don’t. They are forced to deny what comes naturally to them and live a normal family life and even have children.
People who gather courage and do come out are also subjected to something as horrifying as the ‘Corrective Therapy’. They may even be forced to have sexual intercourse with, or marry, a member of the opposite sex, hoping to ‘cure’ them.
What is Corrective Rape?
“The use of rape as a tool to correct the sexual orientation of LGBT people with the objective of getting them to toe the social norms. The term was coined in South Africa where such crimes are rampant. Often it is the family members of the victim who facilitate it.”
“Log kya Kahenge”
Even when parents are ready to accept their child’s sexuality, the society doesn’t make it any easier.
The society we live in has clear cut notions about what is right and what is not. More than often people are denied to live the life according to their own will just because they fear the rejection from the society. Any irregularity in the normal way of life is seen as wrong and even dangerous. Gays and Lesbians in India have to either keep their identities and sexual preferences hidden or closeted due to the fear of ‘log kya kahenge’. Otherwise they may face extreme humiliation and can even be lawfully punished.
Lack of Awareness & Sensitization
How many times have you heard people call someone ‘gay’ just to mock them? When I was still in school, I remember how ‘gay’ meant ‘not manly’ or a ‘weakling’. As I grew up, I realised how wrong we had been. The word ‘gay’ can mean their whole life to someone. It can mean denial of a life to someone. It can mean so many things but not ‘weak’. I have even seen adults who use the words ‘gay’ and ‘eunuch’ interchangeably to abuse a man because he is effeminate.
And some people are insensitive enough to call it ‘just a phase”. What these people don’t understand is that people don’t pretend to be gay or lesbian, they are wired that way biologically.
What happens when we accept them?
Anuj’s boyfriend, Sourav has a different, better story to tell. “When I came out to my parents, I expected a huge out roar and chaos. Instead, my parents calmly told me to leave the room. Next morning, my mother brought me my morning tea, and my dad sat by my side and asked, “is this something you really want?” “Yes, dad.” “Do you love him?” he asked. “Yes, dad.”
A pause. A sigh.
“I am not going to lie to you, beta. This is going to be hard for us to accept and go on with. But we are willing to try, for your sake.” And they did.
When a LGBT relationship is accepted by the society, it is no more or less than a heterosexual relationship. Within their relationship, gays and lesbians, experience the same challenges and difficulties as the others’. However, the depression and stress, gay and lesbian people go through, due to suppression of their true identity and sexuality, makes them more vulnerable to excessive aggression and frustration which may lead to violence, and in some cases suicide. No one deserves to die for loving someone, do they?
What Can be done?
• Come out only to those who you are comfortable with
• Parents mostly want their child to have a bright and stable future, and in this case if you are Financially and emotionally stability make it easier to for you to come out to them.
• Seek professional help from LGBT friendly counsellors or a good Resource Group.
Because if for once, we stop pretending and stop judging, what can be so wrong if a man loves a man in a way he can never love a woman?
You can also read our blogs:
- Enhancing Relationships
- Am I in a healthy relationship
- Live-in Relationships
- LGBT- ‘Shades of love’
- Post Divorce Cunselling -‘Are you brave enough to say goodbye?’
- Pre Divorce Counselling-‘ Is it the right time to say goodbye?’
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