When I read the word ‘homophobia’, I feel detach-ly overwhelmed- I can feel my head being swarmed with articles, images, comments, names; but my eye is a mere spectator in this swarm, quite like Sauron from Lord of the Rings, but I would like to think that I’m fighting on the fairer side. “Homophobia,’ according to the Oxford dictionary, “is a dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people. The term originated in the 1960s from homosexual + phobia.” It’s horrible. Having to hide who you are from the world because you are afraid of being shunned, or worse, being killed; is horrible, and no one deserves that.
As I mentioned earlier, my head is filled with media centered on LGBT people, and how they deserve their rights, and how “this whole gay thing is all in their head”. It’s important to understand that sexuality is not as simple as people make it sound—you can’t just wake up one day, say, “Oh, I think I want to be attracted to girls today,” and flip a switch. It doesn’t work that way. Human beings are complex animals, the most complex of all to have ever existed, and it is important to understand that before calling someone out merely based on their sexual preference(s); because our lack of awareness as a society is a contributor in hundreds of killings every year. Even today, in many countries, people from the LGBT community are killed, and the murder is termed as an ‘honor killing’. They are barred from health insurances, proper medical facilities, jobs, property, and whatnot. I have seen kids in my school using words like “faggot”, “gay”, “chhaka” to insult their peers. We, as a society, are morphing into perpetrators of hate.
Or maybe, as our revered politicians like to point out all the time, this has been happening for decades, and our “overly sensitive” generation is simply the one calling the world out on it. Let’s embrace that claim, shall we? Let us finally be the generation to take a step in the right direction, and end this. We already have wars being fought on battlefields and in conference halls; let’s not turn someone else’s life into a war waged against their own selves, every single day. We need more examples like Justin Trudeau. As of 2017, out of the 123 democracies in the world, 21 nations have legalized gay marriage.
But every change starts at home, and not a lot can be achieved if our own families refuse to see us for who we really are. To parents, it might feel like the end of the world, or that they did something wrong and that is why their baby is ‘abnormal’. Parents, I want you to understand this; it is okay if one day your daughter sits you down for a conversation, and tells you that she likes to be with girls more, as compared to boys. It is okay. It is completely normal, and no, your kid is not committing a sin. She won’t be served with bad karma all her life, or be exposed to the fires of hell once she passes over, because no God would want his own child to feel like they can’t be who they are. There’s a reason we are who we are, there’s a reason your brain doesn’t see the same images on reading this sentence as mine does; it is because we are all different. And that is okay. No, it is not “just a phase” or “peer-pressure”. Gosh, no. It is who she is, and you would be helping your kid a lot if you could accept that, because she has a hard enough time accepting it herself. Our society has told her that it is “immoral”, “wrong” and “impure”, and she doesn’t know where to hide anymore. She starts feeling anxious before turning every corner, scared to leave her room, desperate for guidance, to the point of hopelessness. All she needs is for you to hold her hand, like you have always done, and tell her that everything is going to be okay. And believe it yourself, because really, nothing has changed. She’s still your baby, and her sexuality is only one minor part of the wonder she truly is.
Anushka Bidani is currently a 15 year old student, with further plans to pursue Humanities. She has been an attendee of the Delhi Slam Camp- Summer 2016 and the Delhi Poetry Slam Retreat (Jaipur, 2016). Her work has been published on the Writer’s Asylum, among others. When not writing, she can be found binge watching anything ranging from How I Met Your Mother to Da Vinci’s Demons. Among poetry, prose, films, paintings, or anything artistic, is where she is the happiest.