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Lavanya Bahuguna

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After Coming Out, Himanshu Shares Tips On Befriending LGBTQ+ People & Getting Rid Of The Homo/Transphobia

  • IWB Post
  •  May 17, 2018

“Being gay is natural. Hating gay is a lifestyle choice.”

Speaking to Himanshu Singh from Mumbai is always a treat. About two years ago, he came out of the closet on Facebook (yup, he’s that cool pre-millennial chap!). His viral post did not just reveal his sexuality but also helped him explore his real self a bit more as he shared his dream of becoming a great Pianist.

The process of opening up took him many years until one day when he decided to oversee the stigmas our society has for the LGBTQ+ community. He wrote, “It is so saddening to say that I had to strive for normalcy to be in societal norms all these years. It smothered me for quite a long time. Why do people advice to tell it to only those who matter? Why it has to be hushed and shushed?”

Today, on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, Himanshu, he takes the opportunity to explain how our culture has long been nurturing the phobias of homosexuality/transsexuality inside our minds that has forced the LGBTQ+ community distance itself from us.

(As told to Indian Women Blog)

There is a need to talk about the issue again

There’s no doubt that the LGBTQIA+ community in India faces a lot of social and health-related challenges like discrimination, social stigma, bullying and bashing, bathroom issues (especially for transgender people), phobias, violence and hate crimes, suicide, mental health and even worse, corrective rape.

Many Trans people are denied treatment at hospitals. The people who come out of the closet are thrown out of their homes. Many LGBT teens end up disconnecting themselves from their homes, schools, and communities. Basically, most of us are socially boycotted.

If they come out, they’re bullied. If they don’t, they suffocate within themselves. Both the situations lead to their isolation or suicide. Is it fair? We need to stop affecting these lives or force them to become someone we want them to be. Always remember that being gay is natural but loathing one is a poor lifestyle choice.

The difference between gender expression and sexuality

There have been times when I’m told – You don’t look gay enough. Thanks to the common assumption that gay men are effeminate in nature. That’s not always true. And even if they are, there is nothing wrong with that, you see. Nobody ‘looks’ gay or lesbian or trans. People need to understand the difference between one’s gender expression and sexuality. For example, I identify myself as a man and so, I like dressing myself up in a particular manner. My sexuality (gay) has nothing to do with my fashion sense. Also, my sexuality doesn’t imply I should dress up like a woman.

Similarly, when you see a trans person (transwoman) in a saree, don’t disagree with her/their dress-sense just because she/they has/have masculine facial features. This is how this person identifies herself/themselves and we have no right to judge her/them.

Get rid of your phobia, please. LGBTQ+ people aren’t suffering from a disease.

A friend of mine came out to his parents about eight years ago and since then his folks haven’t been able to digest the reality. Result? He is not welcome at his own home unless he gets back to his ‘normal’ self.

A recent research done by American Psychological Association demonstrates that homosexuality is normal, is a natural variation in human sexuality, and is not a source of any negative psychological effects.

Btw, did you know homosexuality is exhibited by more than 2000 species in the animal kingdom? History is proof that gay people exist and we don’t bite!

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Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

In India, Homo/Bi/Transphobia exists at many levels. For example, I have seen straight men growing up with a fear of gay men. I often get to hear things like – “I am all with your community as long as you are not trying to hit on me or are making out in a public space. It’s outright disgusting to see two men kiss at movies. You know what I mean, right?” This pushes me to throw a question in return, ‘Are you comfortable watching two women kissing at a nightclub?” To which, I get the most obvious answer – “That would be some action, buddy.”

Funny that phobia, too, has got a gender now, which is sad. I mean how is the love between two women enjoyable and acceptable but not between two men? Now, this is utterly intolerable, mate!

Solution

  1. Become a part of the active LGBTQ lifestyle. Read more about it, attend pro-LGBTQ events, find artists and writers who draw illustrations and write books to give a deeper knowledge about the community.
  2. Rather than making fun of someone who you think looks too feminine or masculine, take up LGBTQ+ rights as a popular topic of your daily conversation.
  3. Talk sex. In a country where sex education is frowned upon, talking about sexuality and gender seems like a challenging task. But you know what, don’t stop. Keep talking until it normalizes.
  4. Become someone who people want to come out to by being more considerate and respectful of everyone’s individuality. Let them be willing to talk to you while you listen to them without any prejudices.

(Images are Himanshu’s own)

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