Yesterday S and I happened to be talking about this guy we know - he is maybe late twenties/early thirties, small town, close knit family, typical Indian upper middle class, defence kind of background. His family is on the quest of suitable bride for him – and nothing to stop him from getting a “good match” – he is reasonably intelligent, educated and good looking.
However, his peers are fairly certain that he is a homosexual. He has never dramatically “come out of the closet” or anything like that – but the indicators are there.
I was just musing to S wondering what fork would he chose in life – would he get into the societally conventional marriage with some girl, and live a life as per the “acceptable” norms and thereby probably living a confused and conflicted life ( not to mention the wife’s!)?
Or would he choose to tell his parents and family, face opposition, ostracization, guilt and heartache – and yes, the burden of disappointment of breaking radically away from the life he has led so far – as the doting beta and the ‘good Indian boy’.
Either ways, a terrible choice.
It takes tremendous amounts of courage in India for anyone to “come out” (As an aside, why on earth are the terms aligned to homo-sexuality so shifty sounding – “coming out” sounds like someone is crawling out from some dark underbelly, then you have the “straight” folks as opposed “queer”)
But why it is that people are so homophobic and so quick to condemn and deride homosexuals?
S hypothesized that even educated people still think it’s a condition that is catching and contagious – hence it’s much easier to revile than accept. Because something that is despised holds a lesser lure. Could be a possible explanation, yes.
Could be the crass media and societal caricatures- – the insensitive Kantabai and variants. The only half sensitive movie I recall was probably “My brother, Nikhil”. And the stereotypical imaging of a gay guy being less than a man and a lesbian woman being less than a woman – both occupying that gray zone between the genders is such a farcical, nay, hurtful fallacy.
But I would have thought most people (at least the so called educated folks) know it’s say like being left handed – you can force someone to write with the right hand, but doesn’t make it easy or smooth or well, right.
I think about this bloke, and I wonder, that if because of the taboo he does chose to get married to a girl – what kind of life they will lead. The constant senses of being trapped in the wrong role in a play – where you are acting out something but don’t really know the lines, don’t belong to the character, but cannot get out nonetheless. And the tragedy for the spouse as well for being forced onto a stage, mouthing words which lose their meaning and their relevance.
Or the alternative, where he will be definitely splintering (if not breaking) his family’s heart by choosing to live his life on his terms. One could ask whether the parents will not find happiness in the child’s happiness. But the reality is that happiness is a composite of so many things – and it’s really not as self-denying as one would like to believe. Parents have a lot of emotional investment in their kids – and the payoff ( though many would hesitate to label it as such) is in the child living the perceived right life – (study well, get a good job, marry, have kids, take care of parents etc etc). So something like this perceptually reflects on their self perception of having raised the kid right.
Coincidentally, after this discussion, today’s Sunday times carried an article on Gay marriages – and how it had been celebrated with family and priest and the trappings. I think most of the examples were in the US. But a heartening read for all that.
Maybe, just maybe, that will be the norm in a few years.And kudos to the people who have had the courage to come out - it cant be easy.
Ed Note: I thought many times about whether to post or not to post this . Because the fact is while I do know a few homosexual people, none of them actually shared the problems/issues . So whatever I write is the outsider perspective – which might be completely wrong and completely biased. So if I tread on any toes, apologies in advance - that was not the intent