Monday, July 23, 2012

To be or not to be...

The brain works in funny ways. When you’re half asleep, and only your subconscious is active, your brain gets flooded with brilliant ideas. But when you try to pen it down the next day, you hardly remember a fraction of the ideas that came pouring into your head like there was no tomorrow, quite literally. A large portion of those absolutely fantastic thoughts (if I say so myself) don’t get to see broad daylight.  It’s almost like your mind closes itself up when you’re awake and opens itself out when you’re sleeping. Perhaps the teachers should stop complaining if people are sleeping in the class. It looks like our brains might be more receptive when we’re half asleep. Also, on a more serious note, maybe that is why, sometimes, your dreams can be the most fantastic things that can happen to you.
Speaking of closed minds, I’ll get down to writing what I really wanted to write about. Being a part of law school gives me a lot of opportunities, one being studying areas I am interested in, albeit in a legal perspective. I now have subjects that allow me to think about homosexuality, as an area of study. By study, I do not mean study the habits of the homosexual people as though they were a different species. For, after all, they are also human and their habits are not going to vary largely or, for that matter, at all from the rest of ours. No, when I say study, I mean study the psychology and the reactions of the other members of the society.
My interest is not a result of the one year spent in law school. I may have led a fairly sheltered life, but that did not stop my mother from talking to me about the realities of life. I must have been 14 or 15 when the whole issue of Sec 377 cropped up, through the Naz Foundation case. Where my friends’ mothers sent them into their rooms and refused to let them watch what was happening, my mother let me sit next to her and watch the whole drama unfold, and even explained some things to me when the need arose. I was strangely affected to see how much opposition the LGBT community faced from the present day society. I heard stories of families breaking, people being uprooted, being ostracized by society and all because of something they could not help. Since then, I have been “straight for LGBT rights”, a term ‘straight’ people use when they want to show support. I have been a closet supporter, because of the society’s expectations from its members. Whenever someone said something against the LGBT community, I would very quietly tell them that they were mistaken, but not more, because I kept thinking I would be mocked at and ridiculed by society because I did not follow their beliefs of what was right and what was wrong. To put it simply, I was scared.
What changed this was not one event, but a series of events. For one, my family never thrust their views on me. I was always encouraged to think for myself and, as I grew older, I started realizing that having an opinion that did not conform to the majority’s views was not wrong. On facebook, I saw that a friend of mine was part of a facebook group called “Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook”, and that must have been the final turning point. She was a senior from school, and I thought if she could do it, why couldn’t I? I’ve become more vocal in my support since becoming a part of the group. Through that group, I've read so many stories, some sad, some happy, some heart-breaking, some heart-warming, and some outright ridiculous. The page has also given me an inkling of what arguments people give when they want to put down the community.
One of the most common arguments I have across is that “it is immoral”, an argument that gained teeth when Devlin posted his views on the Wolfendon committee report (people not of the legal profession, please bear with me). But what is morality? What is moral for you may not be moral for me? What is moral today may not be moral tomorrow. Morality keeps changing. Certain things always remain the way they are; only our perceptions of them change. Let me give you an analogy. Some centuries ago, people thought that the Earth was in the centre of the Solar System, and refused to listen to the voice of logic and science. Why? Because that is what they had been thought, had grown up thinking and suddenly changing the way they imagined their universe, because of one ‘lunatic’, was overwhelming. Also, it boosted their egos to think that everything, quite literally, revolved around them. So does this mean that the Earth was the centre of the solar system, and then suddenly changed positions when we ‘learnt’ about it? No, the truth always remained the truth, only our idea about it changed.
Also, what the majority of the people think has to be right, right? For this I tell you, imagine a room with four rapists and one woman. For that room, morals, as we see it, do not exist. So does that mean that rape is right?
Another common argument is that homosexuality is unnatural. No it is not. My statement is backed by science. Science has proved to us that being a member of the LGBT community is not their way of being perverse, they just cannot help it. It is naturally occurring, and they have no choice. In fact a study has showed to us that 40% of the dolphin population is gay. You do not see them ostracizing the gay dolphins, or conducting scientific experiments on them. We humans can become such a nasty race at times, I tell you. I don’t understand how it affects you when it does not affect you.
I am going into law here when I tell you that homosexuals are protected under Articles 14 and 21, namely the Right to Equality and the Right to Life. The Right to Life granted by the constitution of India does not mean living a vegetable existence. It means living a life of dignity and every person, regardless of whether he is a citizen or not, has the right to be treated equally in the country. Aren’t homosexuals people, regardless of their sexuality? And isn’t it just the correct thing to do to give them their due?
Live and let live, because otherwise life is not worth living.

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