I don’t advocate LGBTQ rights
But I’m not homophobic either
Disclaimer: This is a post based on my own beliefs and observations and does not intend to offend anyone.
I live in an international school with both implicit and explicit diversity — of nationality, religion, appearance, opinion and sexuality. Besides being bombarded with so much media regarding the perils of the LGBTQ community and their ongoing struggle to gain rights, I can understand what the problems are about, but can never truly empathize with them.
I lived(and still permanently live) in Chennai, this growing town in South India, which isn’t as metropolitan or diverse as megacities like Mumbai or Delhi. I studied in this private day school, much like any other school in India following the the obvious rules, an indian syllabus and a uniform. We were a large community with conservative rules — even a rumor of someone liking someone else or a couple being formed spread like lightening. I had friends and lived a life like any other student but was never in a relationship of any sort. The concept of being someone identifying as LGBTQ was an abstract concept to me. It had no relevance in my life and it was something I could only imagine.
Fast forward to this day, where I’m two weeks away from graduating high school. My high school is a tiny international residential community of over 150 students where faculty, staff and students come from all walks of life. We have more couples here than I’ve ever seen before. I was reading in my common room the other day and a lesbian couple — two of my juniors — were making out on the couch.
It made me uncomfortable to glance or even hear them. Besides my belief that such shows of affection were really personal and should be done privately, what made me most uneasy was the fact that they were both girls. To watch two girls kissing and making out felt so unnatural. I have a background of everything being just as it should and following conventional norms and seeing two students so open about their sexual orientation was just unsettling for me.
Somehow, I empathize to a certain degree with other causes, like banning cruelty towards animals and advocating woman’s rights. I’ve never had an issue with my sexuality personally — which is why I don’t feel strongly towards LGBTQs. Sure, I can support the cause. I respect them for who they are and accept them as human beings, but don’t understand the drive towards LGBTQ pride parades and campaigns.
Through my personal experience, I simply feel that public displays of affection in any form in any form can be unsettling, but when the couple’s sexual orientation differs from what is conventionally believed, it just heightens the embarrassment I feel. However I’ve been learning — and slowly accepting that all people weren’t created the same, and identifying as someone who is not typically male or female doesn’t change the fact that they are human beings like you and me.
I understand where the hate comments come from. I understand why certain governments and countries are hesitant towards legalizing same sex marriages and seeing the LGBTQ community as ‘equal’ to everyone else. But hatred or discomfort isn’t the answer.
Let’s try to promote a culture of understanding and supporting those who have accepted and acknowledged their sexuality — rather than to go with emotions of fear or hatred.