Flitting through the pages of Bent days before I ventured into my Sexuality in Performance and Culture class — I knew this was going to be the last subject I’m interested it. Homophobia hasn’t been one of my flaws, and I firmly believe in equal rights — but knowing someone and understanding someone has enormous differences.
Set in the Holocaust period, Bent is a love story amidst two men in Germany. No matter how liberal I was, this wasn’t what I signed up for. Yes I was clapping with educated joy when President Obama equalized marriage for all, but I knew there was a person in me who would laugh my heart out on stereotyping people from the LGBTQ community. It was normal to take them as a piece of joke.
Until I met a guy, who was gorgeous and passionate about who he was and not a tad bit embarrassed about his sexuality. No, there wasn’t a part of me wishing he wasn’t gay because being gay wasn’t his identity — it was simply a part of it. His eyebrows were definitely shaped, and he had a sense of fashion that would make me feel like a disaster every time but jokes apart — he was handsome not because of his half European genetics but for being who he was. With pride and passion.
Clenching my numb fingers to get rid of social anxiety as I sat in a theater for the first time, I swallowed the lump in my throat as I read the description of the play. Feeling slightly reassured to find a few classmates, I hoped their subtle company would help me sail through the one and a half hour act of a gay man finding his part in the theater.
I am a highly competitive person, and as much as I wished, sportsmanship is not a talent I can boast about. But never have I ever been satisfied with being royally slapped off my prejudices. With dedication and ambition marking every move, Rotimi Agbabiaka showcased how narrow the world is to think of humans based on whom they wish to have sex with.
My face ruddy from enlightenment than embarrassment, I learned three things about gay men that broke their stereotypes of being ‘gay’:
- A man’s masculinity, handsomeness and physicality have nothing to do with their sexual preference. It has everything to do with willpower, genetics and hitting the gym on time. Plus, they’re not always wearing pink nor are they desperate to have sex with every guy they see on the road.
- A gay man is a man. A lesbian woman is a woman. The difference between having a penis and vagina and your sexuality is as wide as the Pacific Ocean.
- Identity is insignificant to desirable qualities. Whatever is being done with your sexual parts has nothing to do with being honest, wonderful, loving and sexy. Being lesbian, gay, trans, queer (or anything you identify yourself with) comes with no guarantee of who you are as a person.
Feeling oddly wise, I snatched up Bent once again and read the tragic love story till I was overcome with tears. A sentiment I never felt while reading Romeo and Juliet. It never mattered it was a romance between men, heck it didn’t even matter who they were! Wiping my hot tears aside, I realized how foolish I was to have compartmentalized love. Just like beauty, love is in the eye of the beholder.
The purity of love isn’t sampled by male-female copulation after marriage, it’s by treating your partner right with every inch of respect you have. Right, God might have never written about “Let’s party with LBTQ theme” tonight, but no God in any religion permits anyone to kill anybody just because they love people of their own choice.
To need a job we need either great caliber or amazing education (sometimes a mix of both). To be a wonderful parent we need compassion and discipline. To be a great friend we need loyalty. To be a great lover we need commitment, passion and consent. Hmm… maybe sexuality is being overstated when it comes to success.
I love everyone, seriously, irrespective of who they are and who they love — heck that question doesn’t even come in my mind if someone is stereotypically straight or not. My point over here is to not belittle “straight” relationships and elevate “weird” relationships… my simple point is that there is no distinction between the two. For anything to work — we need love… and that seems to be in shortage nowadays.
Sometimes we don’t need to see things to believe they exist.
Air. Devotion. Love. Gravity. Pain.
They all exist, irrespective of anyone and anything.
Dialogue credit: Chameli. Originally published on 6th January 2017 in www.intangiblebonds.wordpress.com