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Today, homosexuality and queer identities may be acceptable to more Indian youths than ever before, but within the boundaries of family, home and school, acceptance of their sexuality and freedom to openly express their gender choices still remain a constant struggle for LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people. In urban India, where social media and corporate initiatives have created increasing awareness of LGBT rights, the scenario looks more upbeat for gay men than for transgender people or lesbian women. While urban LGBT voices that are heard through several online and real-world platforms form an important part of LGBT activism, these expose only a small part of the diverse challenges faced by the community.
Far away from gay pride parades, meet-ups and heated discussions on Twitter, families in rural India have their own ways of dealing with LGBT individuals. In some parts, secret honour killings are planned so that the only way for a young gay man to survive is to run away in the cover of the night to some city, with no money or social support. In other parts, lesbian women are subjected to family-sanctioned corrective rapes, which are often perpetrated by their own family members. Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, a transwoman LGBT activist and public policy scholar at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, who has openly spoken about her abuse at school, says that lesbian women and transmen in rural areas end up at the bottom of the hierarchy when it comes to basic human rights within the unit of family and village.
She invokes B. Ambedkar when talking of the rural socioeconomic environment. Refusal to marry brings more physical abuse. Stories of family acceptance that you see on TV and other media are more of an urban phenomenon. Even in educated urban India, suicides by lesbian women make headlines every year. It comes as no surprise then that a tribunal recently ruled that the only danger to lesbians in India is from their own families.
A recent study found that one of the major factors that in the stigmatization of LGBT people is parental reaction towards homosexuality. The study goes on to conclude that most LGBT people are acceptable to family only if they agree to behave like heterosexuals. He says LGBT people must not get carried away by what they see Lgbt community in india the media.
He lost his home, his job, everything. I always tell people to be fully aware of their own reality. Be financially prepared.
Detach a bit from your family both emotionally and financially before you plan to take this step. Staying in the closet is a huge psychological burden. If you and your family have access to information, I suggest you do it whenever you feel strongly about your identity. She was forced to stay at a psychiatric ward for several months after she came out. The experience has also shaped her deep distrust of the medical community.
The doctor conducted torturous psychosexual experiments on me by forcing me to stay with other mentally ill women. She wanted to see how I reacted to their interaction and sexual advances. This same person has now changed her practice to make it easy for people to shop for therapies that are more in fashion now. I am not saying all doctors follow unethical practices, but LGBT people and their parents must know that there are doctors who follow trends just to adjust their current practices to what will get them more clients and money.
So, I would say take your own time and come out to only those you are comfortable with. Financial and emotional stability are must-haves before you communicate with your family. Parmesh Shahani, head of Godrej India Culture Lab and author of the book Gay Bombay, does not know a single person whose life turned for the worse after coming out, in the long term. I know of so many families that have become much closer after people decided to come out. I would say seek help of a good resource group and an LGBT-friendly counsellor if you can.
When you come out, you are only sharing who you are with others. You are not seeking their approval or acceptance. Be willing to give them the time they need to process, ask questions, and accept you. In a society bound by a rigid set of social and cultural norms that dictate the terms and conditions of education, career and marriage, the lack of family support can prove to be a big blow to the mental and physical health of LGBT people.
Isolation and pressure to conform often lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and psychosomatic diseases. Many of them prefer to move to another city to stay away from the immense pressure to marry and start a family. Families that accept their identities put many restrictions in the way they choose to dress and interact with their partners.
In the absence of family support, online groups and social media have offered accessible alternatives to form a community outside of family. Dhrubo Jyoti, journalist and LGBT activist, says social media offered him a semblance of belonging right from this teenage days. Through a fake Facebook profile, he met and interacted with other queer people and found an avenue to express his fears and desires.
Juneja was motivated to start Gaysi because she felt the lack of space where LGBT people could share their experiences. When I first started Gaysi, there were hardly any avenues for lesbian women to interact and reach out to each other. Fortunately, in urban India, at Lgbt community in india, we have strong LGBT associations and communities in most big cities, so people are never alone," he says.
But access to safe online spaces and support groups does not always compensate for the vacuum created by disapproval from family. Gohil says in the absence of family support, many LGBT people decide to succumb to the pressure to marry.
You are just fulfilling your responsibility. By accepting your child you are also helping create a better society that values diversity and accepts the uniqueness of people as they are," he says. The fundamental problem is that parents have a hard time accepting their children as sexual beings. So, any talk of sexuality and sexual or gender identity is thwarted and wrapped in shame.
This is where the guilt and confusion begins. If children ask uncomfortable questions, most parents hush and silence them. Parents need to learn to listen and let their children open up about difficult issues. Jyoti says some of his friends simply asked their parents to watch the episode of Satyamev Jayate that focused on alternate sexualities instead of trying to explain everything on their own. Sahoo says TV helped him through days when he was too young to understand all that he was going through.
He adds that TV has the biggest reach when it comes to influencing both the elder and younger generations. TV wins hands down in its reach. Jyoti recollects being inspired by appearances of filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh on TV. Through the conversation, he made the person understand that though he could take all the mockery, there were other people with similar identities who could be deeply affected by such behaviour.
That episode made a lasting impression on me. So yes, in addition to being a point of connection and inspiration, TV has the potential to affect attitudes across generations. Considering TV and movies are accessible to even rural populations where social media has not yet penetrated, these could prove to be the most effective tools in redefining the roles and attitudes of families through programmes and stories that not only educate and enlighten but also relay LGBT experiences in authentic and varied Lgbt community in india.
It is an encouraging that schools and colleges have begun to take up institutionally approved LGBT activism. Invisibility is the first and biggest challenge that we need to take up," he says. Though, theoretically, most educated citizens support alternative sexualities and gender identities, when it comes to day-to-day behaviour, there is an urgent need to change the ground reality. Lgbt community in india, for example, the rampant telling of homophobic jokes.
We need our allies to point out that such behaviour costs us our freedom and dignity. Creating a critical mass of such an aware group is an important part of on-campus activism," says Revi.
When I see students open up about such deeply personal issues, I know that change is taking root. However, Mogli is vocal about going deeper into investigating how schools can play a more robust role in supporting LGBT issues. This must change. We have to encourage our children to question and learn from debate. Children must be taught about their basic human rights and the tools available to protect those rights," she says.
I am not talking of heavy legalese but simple legal concepts," she says. She adds that asking young people to take individual responsibility without talking of Lgbt community in india change is futile. We need to talk about Section We need to talk about the new transgender bill, which the vast majority of transgender people find unacceptable. Families and individuals cannot change much as long as the system supports oppression of LGBT rights.
Gohil sums up the hope of the LGBT community when he says that once educational institutions become their allies throughout the country, future generations will have a better chance of living up to the ideals of equality.
Each time a school or college decides to participate in LGBT activism, we come closer to bridging the gap between reality and a truly inclusive society," he says. Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!! It'll just take a moment. Looks like you have exceeded the limit to bookmark the image. Remove some to bookmark this image. You are now subscribed to our newsletters. The consequences of coming out A recent study found that one of the major factors that in the stigmatization of LGBT people is parental reaction towards homosexuality.
Working with Gen Next It is an encouraging that schools and colleges have begun to take up institutionally approved LGBT activism. Rashmi Patel is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. Comments are welcome at feedback livemint. Subscribe to Mint Newsletters. Internet Not Available. Wait for it… Log in to our website to save your bookmarks. Yes, Continue. Wait for it… Oops! Your session has expired, please again.Lgbt community in india
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The evolution of the perception and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in India