Strange World, Stranger Rules
|Image from Stonewall|
We live in a funny world; and our thoughts and action, even funnier. It is so apparent in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The law of the land, on one hand, has been redefining bigotry and encouraging the pathetic moral police and culture vultures—instead of making the lives easier for the people. On the other, our near and dear ones and neighbours are too moralistic to accept nature as is. Why do people find it hard to ignore what is happening in others' bedrooms?
If we want to loot a bank, no one can stop us—but when we talk about sexual orientation there are thousands of people up in arms against one’s desire of expressing and embracing sexuality, let alone accepting and tolerating individual differences. Certainly, some people have always been proving that we came from the caves. The inability to accept the reality tells a lot about ourselves, about the people. It tells as well why it is important to highlight the news for a power-memory.
Things and objects plus matter and mind are so relative that we can have multiple interpretations, and this holds true in every aspects of human activities and the overall manifestations, both artificial and natural, around us. The problem is the rigidity of a society that suffocates an individual. It was most apparent, earlier this month, over the fracas of Article 377 in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Chapter XVI, Sec. 377, IPCLaw and Disorder
Unnatural offences Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
(Alternatively) Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offense described in this section.
|Image from Wikimedia Commons|
The ignorance of our existence makes the universe so relative. We do not know why we are here but that’s another story. In this condition, it is subjective to find the absolute and ascertain who would define the phrase of ‘against the order of nature’. Does s/he have the authority, on what ground, to interpret the meaning in the first place? Some of us would say that the government has the power to define these unnatural deeds—well, to hell with it. In a relative universe, there are areas where even the gods are meaningless; mortals are too hopeless, with the exception of Adolph Hitler, Idi Amin and their ilk.
There has been a bit of Hitler, Amin & Co. in us. If we go by the fact, the imperial British started criminalising sexual activities that are, in their words, unnatural. The legal expression goes back to 1861 and it was so effective—that’s probably why India in the 21st century is still clueless to get rid of colonial hangovers, though it is no surprise considering the likes of AFSPA, 1958, which still exists legally in the largest democracy.
All hell breaks loose when on 10 December, the Supreme Court of India announced that the dealing, read amendment or repealing of this law, should be handed over to the Parliament rather than the judiciary, but not before declaring homosexuality is against the nature. And it is against the law.
Then, it hints anarchism is the alternative to whatever forms of government that we are being administered and governed with. Democracy is already down the drain; for confirmation, just count the numbers of paramilitary personnel and state police in a state like Manipur. There is seemingly a connection: maybe the government is sadistically involved in making our lives a nightmare.
Critics condemn the development and to some extent, a few activists even declare that the queer movement in India is still in its embryonic stage. It is understandable if we look at the lack of political intervention in the issues affecting the LGBT community. It was around the same time, in the 1990s across the globe when the articulation of sexual rights and the movement whistled the starting signal. So it will be wrong to completely ignore them. That way, we know as well the frustration of the people is too obvious.
“What sexual preference do you hope she has?” “Happiness.” Isn't that cool?”
- Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat
In my hometown, the transgender has an important societal role, especially in the entertainment industry. But they have no voice because they are politically so naïve and their community is so concentrated, which is apparent from the deafening silence from the LGB people—only the ‘T’ people are speaking out off and on while the trio is still caught in a medieval cocoon.
Being a homosexual is a big thing that should be swept inside the carpet. What would others think of us if we have a person who is inclined to the same sex? This kind of mentality assures we are sitting on a sexual volcano that could erupt any time. This is clear if we see the ever rising voices from all the corners. Alternatively, we can make it bloodless if we understand, accept and tolerate individual preferences.
Intolerance is just killing. And it starts from the family, more blatantly in traditional societies like ours. It’s a shame to admit it and when it reaches the societal level, the homophobia reeks of human absurdity, not to exclude our disappointment and the frustrations of people in the LGBT community. Briefly, people should mind their own business. The society, including you and I, is too narrow-minded to see that it makes no difference because the lovers are going to love and the haters, hate. The legalisation will only make life easier and thus the articulation and the protest. It makes a difference, for better, if we are willing to accept the reality, while getting rid of intolerance, unasked self-righteousness.
|Image from Trinity College Dublin|
So what’s the way forward? Life should go on as usual. It is a personal choice, and the obstruction only shows the underdeveloped feelings towards others and the immaturity to deal with people having different sexual inclination. We are not fully evolved so it is no surprise that there are glaring animal instincts in all of us. When it comes to example, the silver lining is becoming more powerful than the sun. History shows there has always been a subjugation of women, but see now, the emancipation and the rise of feminine power in the last few decades are evident across the world. Perhaps there will be a time when we can see a woman or a man as s/he is and not through their sexuality. Truly the labels are for clothes, not for people. Sometimes it is so plain and irritating to see the dragging progress—though we can slowly start here, being tolerant to those haters and the nameless government.
When we talk about these issues, there is a sense of behalfism. There is an apparent gap between inside and outside the LGBT community. However, it would be wrong to take it at its face value. All of us are affected by archaic and meaningless laws and stereotypical views, which are further aggravating our problems with the response of sheer arrogance and ignorance in and around the country. Besides the law is playing with our sensibilities and law makers are playing hopeless animal games. Our public memory is too short to help us move forward; and hence, this reminder.