“Really? You don’t know the plot twist?” exclaimed one of my friends in disbelief. We were talking about a new movie that was all over the news for its ‘unconventional’ lead role. “No, and I don’t want to” I said firmly. “The protagonist is gay” he mouthed, ignoring my protests which died down as soon as he finished speaking. I was stunned into silence, looking at him like he was joking. He took my silence as a sign of surrender, and went back to his dinner, satisfied with himself.
That was the first time I’d ever heard of a homosexual individual being represented in a mainstream movie. I remember being filled with curiosity, wonder, and slight disgust.
“Justin Bieber is gay, man” said my friend, crinkling his face in revulsion at the thought. “What? How do you know?” I asked him, keen on hearing more about this fresh and completely accurate piece of gossip.
“Just listen to his voice. It’s so… girly” he said, breaking out laughing. “Well, that’s very sad, then. I hope he gets better” I replied, in an attempt to be sensitive.
He must have felt bad, because he gravely added, “Such people won’t get better on their own. They need proper therapy and everything.” I nodded earnestly.
When I wanted to watch a ‘blue film’ for the first time, I Googled “sex videos” and clicked on the first link. It took me to a website containing thumbnails of videos of naked women. The unfamiliar word ‘Lesbian’ on the list of categories caught my eye, and I curiously clicked on it.
There were several videos of women having sex with other women. I remember feeling sad about the things ‘pornstars’ had to do to get money. I pitied them for having to sleep with someone of their own gender. But I found it very hot nevertheless.
“My mom told me that some girls turn into lesbians when they live in a women’s hostel” my friend told me. “You should try it too” I eagerly urged her. “Why don’t you try it with a guy as well?” she retorted. “Nah, that’s gross. It’s hot when girls do it, but not guys” I replied.
“Hi. My name is Harish Iyer, and I am homosexual. I have two eyes, one nose, two hands, and two legs. I am just like one of you” said the ‘LGBT rights activist’ who was speaking from the dais. Harish went on to explain that he was sexually abused by his uncle as a child and when he hit puberty, he started having sex dreams about men. But to him, being gay was unheard of, so he thought that his abuse had somehow infected him with an illness. He grew up alone, bullied, harassed, gang-raped, and went into severe clinical depression and tried to take his own life. Twice.
At this point, there were several people in the audience who were weeping. I was not one of them.
“Do u remember that day…?? Look,bro i dont wanna interfere in your personal matters. But do you really like that girl. If not then i really wanna ride you. Oh sorry. Ride with you” read a message I received on Facebook, apparently from one of my classmates. I ignored what was obviously someone’s idea of a prank, and went on with my day.
The next day, the person who actually sent those messages ‘as a joke’ started talking to me about it. “Why are you being so against this, man?” he said, laughing. He must then have noticed my expression, because he quickly added, “No, it’s okay. I’m homophobic too.”
I spent an embarrassingly large part of my life being blissfully ignorant about the atrocities homosexual folks are were subjected to, particularly to ‘treat’ their sexuality.
Gay men are were strapped to a chair, with electrodes attached to their brain. They are were shown pictures of naked men, and when they get got aroused, they are were given electric shocks. This procedure is was repeated until they completely associate associated sexual attraction to other men with pain and nausea.
Lesbian women are were given a different method of treatment, one befitting their perception by society. They are were raped by men, in an effort to show them how wonderful sex with a man can be. And when if that doesn’t didn’t work, they are were simply married off to men, because they will be raped and impregnated anyway.
On the 6th of September 2018, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the application of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to criminalise consensual homosexual sex was unconstitutional.
After decades of systematic oppression in independent India, gay people will now finally get to have sex without worrying about being prosecuted.
Now they only have to worry about being persecuted by multiple social, political, and religious groups.
“Why do you want to join Ambar?” was one of the questions that I had to answer to be a part of the LGBTQ+ support group of IIT Kharagpur.
I wrote, “All human life has the same value, and therefore all human beings deserve to be treated equally.”
I have come to think of “Lesbian” as more than just a search category.
This work was first published in Tech Keralites Digital Magazine 2019. Image is screenshot from Literotica.com