CELEBRATING LGBTQ PRIDE- WHY I NO LONGER NEED TO HIDE MY RAINBOW?
We all are stuck in lockdown roughly since march 2020 due to pandemic. In this duration of 3-4 months, inside the 4 walls of our room, we all must have acknowledged the fact that how tedious, strenuous and anxious life becomes when we are unable to expose ourselves to the outside world. Life gets full of stress, anger and grief when we cannot share our problems, our thoughts and our emotions to the closed one.
‘There is no learning without pain’, when we are going through a very unexpected and unhappy journey of lockdown it gives us immense opportunity to understand the pain of one of the most ignored, hated and stereotyped community, named LGBTQ. We all must have heard of this name once, but I can bet most of us are still not aware about who and why of this community. Contributing a little to our understanding of LGBTQ, I would like to give a brief intro. of this community. LGBTQ is sometimes extended to LGBTQ to include asexual and intersex people. People who are either lesbian, transgender, bisexual, belongs to queer, intersexual, or asexual are all a part of this community. Asexual people are those who don’t posses any sexual attraction and intersex are those who vary in their sexuality.
We are lucky enough as this lockdown is going to end soon because, our intelligentsia are working hard to get the vaccine. but in the garb of this happiness we must not forget the grief of 10% of world’s total population which is suffering the lockdown of their emotions, sexuality, perception, needs and rights from last 150 years. We cannot even imagine the depth of their struggle that they did, the height of their pain which they faced just to avoid the satire, harsh words and those vulgar and inhuman comments passed by so called ‘perfect’ people of the society. They have been persecuted not only by the society but from their own people; their parents, friends and other relatives. The world has always tried to put the burden of their negative mindset on people who are different from the majority in any way.
‘There is no player powerful than time’. With lots of efforts and after a long time of persecution gradually they got some recognition in the world. For others, the month of June might be a common month but for people belonging to the LGBTQ this is a ‘pride month’. This month was chosen as pride month to commemorate the ‘stonewall riots’, which began in early hours of June 28, 1969, between police and gay rights activist after a famous gay bar in Greenwich village, named stonewall inn, was raided by police. These instances were very common in those days such bars, which were dedicated to provide a socializing environment for those whose sexuality was under suspect, were subjected to regular harassment of police as solicitation of homosexual relations was an illegal act in that time. These riots further progressed into ‘international gay rights movement’. These movements have contributed a lot in bringing significant changes in the society which further facilitated easy living of LGBTQ people.
Till 1973, even the most developed countries like America used to consider homosexuality as a mental disorder but it was the impact of this movement that it was removed from the list of mental disorders and was accepted as a mere biological change. But as ‘a mind without education is a diamond resting in mine’, people who are not educated enough still think of it as a mental or physical imparity. I can remember one of my friend, from school, he was a gay which he realized when he was in 9th standard. We were together from past 10 years and he felt it comfortable to share it with me. he said me that his parents will take him to hospital and he will be fine then, as everyone was considering it as a disease. In country like India things are not so easy for minority groups. People here are way more conservative than we can think of, here homophobia is not a mental disorder but homosexuality is.
According to the 2019 report of International gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex association (ILGA), there are more than 120 countries which have decriminalized homosexuality among them there are 28 countries which recognizes ‘same sex marriage’, but in contrast there are approx. 6 countries which imposes death penalty on any kind of same sex acts, and death penalty can be a possible punishment in other 8 countries including Pakistan thus, there are in total 72 countries where same sex relation is illegal. Looking at this data we cannot deny the positive impact of the ‘LGBTQ rights movements’ but the question arises, is it enough? Is this what many died for?
Many countries might have decriminalized homosexuality but they cannot be considered as liberal towards LGBTQ right for example, Russia in 2013 brought a law banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’. By just decriminalizing homosexual acts and making laws against hate crime involving discrimination on the basis of sexuality, a state cannot make herself fully secure for these minority because LGBTQ people doesn’t experience overt discrimination always but more often they are ignored in a way with which they end up getting depressed and hating themselves. Thus, it is going to take a series of mass effort and support in changing the situation completely. But does it mean people belonging to LGBTQ community should hide their sexuality from their relatives, society, friends and fellows because they might be subjected to stigmatization and persecution?
While Celebrating LGBTQ pride, we cannot forget the real heroes behind this opportunity. Few of them are Audre Lorde, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (1st same sex couple), Harvey Milk (1st openly elected gay official), Magnus Hirschfeld (considered as father of transgenderism), Bayard Rustin (gay civil rights activist), Christian Jorgensen. These are just a few there are many more such people, some of them were a member of LGBTQ and some were part of majority but, they were pursuing a single goal and their struggle was to protect the future members of LGBTQ from what they suffered. Imagine today’s society, if these heroes would have denied to expose their sexuality and have refused to face the world, fight from the world to accept them as what they are just for the fear of discrimination and persecution?
Yes, your thinking is on the right track, if they wouldn’t have decided to fight back then our society would have never accepted and encouraged people including famous celebs. Like Angelina Jolie, Manish Arora (famous Indian fashion designer), Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Tessa Thompson who have exposed their ‘uncommon sexuality’, the society would have rejected Arti Kar (1st transgender IAS officer in India) from getting into civil services, a lot of multinational companies wouldn’t have released different plans to facilitate and give more opportunity to people from LGBTQ community. Recently I watched the movie ‘Subh Mangal Jada Sawdhan’, an Indian movie based on struggle of a gay couple, this movie gives a very beautiful message of ‘the change you are expecting will never be gifted you…your efforts will make your dream come true’.
All of us who belong to LGBTQ community owes a biggest debt of gratitude towards our heroes who fought when there was no ray of hope for their voices to be heard. They fought for our dignity in a time when anyone can be fired from their job if identified with an uncommon sexuality (as happened with Frank Kameny who was fired, from U.S civil services, for being homosexual), when people of LGBTQ community were considered as a criminal, when hate crime was common against this minor community. All they did for us for our bright future for our rights our recognition which can be traced in a progressive way. But as I said earlier decriminalization and making laws against hate crime will not solve this problem, it can only be resolved if we decide to fight for ourselves.
What do you think, if you will hide your sexuality you will live happily?
Here’s a very good example to tell you that hiding your sexuality will not help you my aunt is lesbian, but she hided her sexuality. She married my uncle as he was the choice of her father. Now both have 2 children but the husband wife no longer stays together. Most of the time they stay away from each other but just under the force of society and family they are representing a happy married life. Do you think they are really happy?
Obviously not, this would not have happened if she had told her parents about her sexuality. If we go on fearing consequences, we will end up getting stuck into such unwanted places and instead of dying once we will die every day. If we will not step out for change all the struggle our heroes did, will go in vain. People are getting aware about what is a myth and what is natural, what is a disease and what is an inborn reality. We need not to fear from anyone because not only people who belong to LGBTQ are against this discriminatory attitude rather a large no. of straight people are also fighting, to ensure equality and justice.
There is no scope in hiding our sexuality because the progress we are witnessing today is the result of ‘fearless fight’ that is possible only when we will openly accept and will show our pride on what we are. No one can help you if you won’t help yourself, hiding can never be an option but fighting can be. What would you choose, living a worthless life by hiding your reality behind your fear or dying like a warrior giving message to ‘fight and conquer’?
Your decision will empower many more like you to step out and say proudly to their family, friends, and the whole world that yes, I am not straight and you don’t have a right to discriminate. I would like to conclude with few lines,
Yes, I look like a boy but I like colour pink,
I am not straight and I won’t let my world get shrink.
God made us equal with different choices,
Your shit thinking can’t burry another million voices.
My fight will bring me more friend than foe,
Listen, I no longer need to hide my rainbow.
Authored By:- Chandra Prabha Upadhyay.