September 6, 2018, India was coloured rainbow throughout! Just one colour short of the usual seven colours VIBGYOR. Our social media was flooded with the messages which commended the move. Section 377 was finally decriminalised. So now one can at least say 'I'm Queer' without getting arrested.
This made me ponder, 'Are we really ready to accept them for who they are?' They might not be put behind bars for being themselves now, but as far as the community is concerned, society is concerned, the majority of Indian population is concerned, Its a long long way to go. I know for sure that its just a preface of a book yet to be written.
Why go further when I, myself is visibly uncomfortable talking about it to even my husband or writing about it right now. I come from a conservative family, further married into another conservative family. I was in college when I first heard of something like being a '#Lesbian' or '#Gay’. It was no more than a slang to me then. I couldn't believe it was possible, I couldn't understand how a girl won't like boys and be romantically involved with another girl instead (and vice versa). Moreover, I was (and am) a romantic at heart and every single Bollywood or even Hollywood love stories I saw back then, were about two people of opposite sex falling in love, so considering that romance can have its own colours, well, the concept was new and completely alien.
As I grew, I read about it in newspapers, magazines, blogs. I watched about it in various English TV series, movies, talk shows, interviews and awareness videos. I realised it was no 'concept', it was part of human nature. It was about people identifying themselves, and in India, it was also about breaking stereotypes and coming out of the closet. Watching foreigners as a part of the #LGBT community seemed okay. They are treated with absolutely no difference and even I won't treat them differently. But what about people around me, in my family or friend circle or locality or city or state or social media or basically anyone in my country?
A few years back, me and my brother were discussing marriages - arranged vs love and he said, "I'm never going to stop my children from marrying any caste or religion ever". To that I was like, "I dont think marrying any caste or religion will be an issue then, only if your son finds a girl (or vice versa) to marry would be enough approval". We both laughed it off then.
We could've definitely laughed it off then, but now its not something to laugh upon. We may say we are progressive, our generation is progressive but I really really feel, if someone from our own family comes out of closet, for most of them, the whole mask of progressiveness will fall off. I, myself would be in an uncomfortable spot if my own brother/sister/son/daughter (or for that matter anyone close to me) comes and tell me they are gay.
The brutal truth here is that I don't want to be uncomfortable. I dont want to judge people based on who they are, I want to believe it from inside me, I really want to, but I guess it will take time. I also know one thing for sure that I will always stand besides them and not against them.
I am a part of the progressive generation we are. What we think and what we are willing to accept wholeheartedly matters. If you read about the type of struggles 'queer' Indian people have went through, you'll feel a lump up your throat. By decriminalising #Section377, our country has given them a freedom to express, a freedom which they should've got without asking.
Being straight is no badge and being gay is no flaw. A lot of my friends protested when section 377 came in action and a lot of my friends have commended when it went away. Normally a rainbow appears after a rain, but it is raining rainbows since 6-9 (-2018). May be when more and more awareness about being 'queer' will float throughout our country, we'll see it more naturally and without bias. We still have a long way to go and to be willing to traverse the road, we have taken the first step but as I said earlier,
Its just a preface of a book yet to be written.