How you can stop being unconsciously homophobic, transphobic or biphobic
Perhaps the greatest debate of our time is the debate concerning who should be allowed to love whom. Let me put this across simply — I don’t think anyone should get to choose who we love, be it in a marriage, about your friends or the sexuality of the person you’re loving. There’s only one thing that matters in this perspective and that is consent. Without consent, nothing works. But, I digress.
Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The cause calls for everyone around the world to pay heed to the discrimination that the LGBTQ community faces on a consistent basis. How can we stop this? It’s not easy. And it takes more than just one person. But everything that we believe in, our value systems by themselves, are a product of the views society has impregnated within us. To prove this point, I’d like to introduce you to a video that I came across by chance on Facebook.
This video addresses just a few of the issues that gays and lesbians in India (and probably around the world) face every day. Do you notice how every single one of the silly questions that straight people ask gay men are an exaggerated view of how normality is supposed to be based, which in this case compares a gay or lesbian relationship to a “normal” relationship. But let me ask you — what really is a normal relationship? By trying to impose our views of what normal is onto a relationship between two people of the same sex, we are telling them that their relationship is probably improbable. Think about it. Why should there even be a man and a woman in any homosexual relationship?
By telling them that there needs to be a hierarchy in terms of the partners roles and duties, we are instilling within them the requisite for a patriarchal system, which is what our society runs on, which is where our society stands wrong.
And you can see this even in the classification of homosexual relationships among straight people. Lesbians are seen as inherently hot and over-sexualized. Bisexuals are the perfect middle group, the ones who will sleep with both sexes, who will probably be getting into threesomes, or sometimes, the ones who can’t really decide who they want to fuck, so they go about doing both until they see the light. And gays are the ones everyone (and I mean, everyone) hates and is really disgusted by.
And let’s not even get started on how transsexuals and transgenders are viewed in this country. Historically, transsexuals and transgenders were said to be magical and highly esteemed individuals with powers and value beyond our knowledge. Where did our respect for them go? They’ve been reduced to hiding within their violent and sometimes, murderous communities for the sake of protection. Because they would much rather stay in a community that is savage but accepting than in the larger community that abhors them. I had the privilege of meeting a small group of transgenders fighting against their injustice during my postgraduate days for a paper on feminism studies. They told me stories of how men would come to them for sex (prostitution is a common job profile among the transgender and transsexual community) and at the end of the ordeal, would send them away, disgusted at them. What baffles me is that they are not disgusted with themselves for actually indulging in (what could possibly be) any extra marital affair or relationship, or even disgusted at themselves for hiding their true orientation (which is also common among the customers they they receive), but instead they are disgusted with the partner whom they have slept with. Again, why are these men acting out this way against these people? Perhaps it is the sound reasoning that has been ingrained into them which tells them that women must be degraded into nothing, because they are only worth that much.
My intention is not to sound preachy, but to bring to view how our entire flawed perceptive rests upon the way society views us, the way society wants us to be, how society will continue to treat the “weaker” sex. And we can rise against that. I urge you to think outside this box you’ve grown up in.
You may believe that you are supportive of the LGBTQ community and are fighting against what they face, but how many times have you used the word ‘gay’ as a synonym for stupid or weird in the last 24 hours? How many times have you looked at a transgender and shown them a face of utter disgust, rudely asking them to move out of your way? How many times have you called a girlfriend ‘bi’ for affectionately kissing another girl? Every time we subject someone to any of these orientations as adjectives, we are unconsciously reminding ourselves of the beliefs that society has rooted within us — this is unacceptable, this is wrong, this is insupportable. Worse still, you might be telling someone who has no voice in the matter, who has been hiding under the covers, but is fearfully looking forward to letting someone else understand their plight — this is unacceptable, this is wrong, this is insupportable. Don’t be that person. Try your hardest to never be that person.
As a conclusion, I would just like to say this — gender is a scale, and people vary across miles on that extent. Much like the flexibility of gender, we must also be flexible. Flexible enough not to question someone’s feelings for another person, because they know what they feel. Flexible enough not to try and reduce a person because of their sexual orientation. Flexible enough not to ruin the moral compass of anyone. Rise against the the flaws that our society insists we follow.