Aunty ji se poocho

How can I get involved in gay activism?

By Auntyji Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 05:30
Auntyji, I really feel horrible about how LGBT people are treated. I’m gay myself and I always wanted to change things, but to be honest, I don’t have the guts. What should I do? – Pawan (22), Indore.

Auntyji says… that is very brave of you, dear. You’ve already taken the first step! Now let’s find ways to start moving in the right(s) direction!

I can’t agree with you more, beta Pawan. There is so much homophobia around us! People are very intolerant and aggressive about this issue. They just have no patience, no understanding… sensitivity toh is too long a call! That’s why there’s need for more gay activism in this country.

Pata nahin kya ho gaya hai logon ko! I often wonder why people are so dogged about this issue, what troubles them so much to accept that there are homosexual people around them, why do they get so hassled? There are so many theories and points of view on this.

Ignorance abounds
I do believe that ignorance, not having enough information or just having bits of information jumbles up ideas in people’s little heads and all of it comes out in the form of very aggressive and confused behaviour.

People think that all homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people are potential rapists and if they get a chance they will leap out of the wood work and take away their “virtue” and “virginity,” especially men! Arre, who do you think you are – some super hot, irresistible stud that no LGBT person will be able to resist you? Are all heterosexual people also attacking you similarly? No na, toh why then will LGBT folks?

Everyone’s role
Now the question is what to do to reduce this animosity, how do we change things? Right! So I think each of us, gay or not, has a role to play here. So sabse phele toh, get your facts STRAIGHT!

Please read up on the struggles of LGBT people, see how much effort they are still putting in to get what has been easily handed down to straight folks – an accepted identity. Worldwide there have been efforts, campaigns and movements marking the struggles and demands of LGBT people.

So before we begin to discriminate, we need to definitely end the ignorance, by just improving on our own awareness, our own information. How can a person like you contribute, Pawan?

Small steps
How about by providing any informed piece of literature or writing you may come across or by forwarding a message or two about the subject, by updating interesting facts and information on your FB page?

Small things like this. Put out alternative information and images, I say, to reduce the impact of the existing and prevailing stereotypes and myths. That is a proactive way to create a new image, a new awareness.

Being fair
And don’t forget to talk about it. Present logical and sensible arguments about why all LGBT people are not some sex-starved race and neither is each one of them out to milk the marginalised card. When general populations have to give up even an inch of the space they have so far rightfully appropriated, they just can’t deal with it. Nope, no sharing, no caring when it comes to this.

So you see, when anti-discriminatory steps are taken like reservation or affirmative action to give the underprivileged a fillip – be they women, LGBT community, people with disability – no one feels at all charitable. In fact that annoys and angers them: “Why should I give up my seat for women,” “Why should I construct ramps,” “Why should I have to make place for the gay person in my team”?

Well darlin’, because that’s fair. Don’t be a hoarder! And why the sudden panic? Worried you will get passed over by some smart gay kid? Well, quit flapping and gear up!

What’s normal?
Don’t straight people have gay pals, colleagues and relatives? Why do LGBT people themselves have to make all the effort to mingle and mix – to be and behave “normal”? On a side note, how “normal” is it to get on a horse dressed like leftovers of a yesteryear maharaja and then get your buddies to dance in front of it with necklaces of rupee notes around each of their necks? This is something I am still seeking a response to!

LGBT people are just like anyone else – bankers, lawyers, sports persons, actors, brothers, mothers.... just struggling with so much more. So bring along your straight pals and friends, family and relatives to parties, get together and mix. Involve your sensitive and considerate pals with you in parades and marches, hand them a banner or two, tie a rainbow ribbon and let them mix and be with people who they have feared and ignored.

Salute to diversity!
Small steps go a long way, Pawan beta. Don’t accept or allow discriminatory comments about anyone, and take whatever tiny measures you can – obviously or covertly – to create alternative ideas, images, feelings and discussions around these issues. We all look towards that day when homophobia and disharmony around LGBT people comes to an end. A day when we all can accept diversity and live in real harmony.

Beta ji, I am going to get a rainbow coloured dupatta made now and, a rainbow pagdi for your uncle. Aye hay, phir dekho tussi... Next time at the parade, your auntyji and your uncleji will both be around – maybe we go Mardi Gras! Ki kehndey ho tussi?

To protect the author's privacy, the person in the photo is a model.

Have you wanted to get involved in LGBT activism? Let us know how you made it or what stops you. Leave a comment below or start a discussion on Facebook.

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