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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Let's Get This Straight

I recently discovered that 1/3rd of my office is gay. In my position, most of my real-life acquaintances would blanche at such a thing. And I know this to be a fact. Me? I consider it positively wonderful (don't read too much into this, we're not discussing me, we won't ever). It's much like being granted a chance to interact with Pakistanis first-hand on coming to London. Why? Because I forever wondered what they are like in person, when you ignore all the political and historical hoo-haa surrounding them. Wonder why else? Because the answer in both cases is: It doesn't matter.

My less-gay-friendly veering-towards-homphobic friends and acquaintances forever have me wondering why they'd choose to react/behave in this manner. Please note, choose. My friend D simply said 'It's unnatural' when I asked her about reasons for homophobia. Perhaps she means it seems unnatural simply because it's never been something that's been openly discussed. It's existed for ages to be sure. Historically, a whole lot of the nawabs in India were given to homosexuality. 'Nawabi Pesha' is how it is often described. And if you've read Lihaf by Ismat Chugtai, you'd know it wasn't only the men doing it. It is therefore, a matter of never having been deemed fit for public knowledge.

Personally, I think homophobia has its roots in 'the fear of the unknown'. The unknown being not the sexual preferences of such individuals or the 'normalcy' of such a thing, but the lack of a (for the lack of a better word) guideline to behaving with people whom we perceive to be different. Awkwardness and cluelessness, I feel, are the basis of homophobia. It's much like dealing with someone who is missing a limb, or their hearing, or eyesight.. or perhaps, mental capacity. (I'm not implying that homosexuals are missing something vital... merely comparing behaviour towards those incapacitated and towards homosexuals.) Because one simply doesn't come across them everyday, one is left fumbling for words, feeling awward, committing more gaffes than usual in trying to combat the situation.

In the words of Lionel Shriver, we depend upon our inbuilt emotional mechanism to help us react according to the norm in a given situation. We assume it is there. Only when faced with the absence of this do we stumble and fearing this unknown, do we give in to responses that are out-of-character and not commonplace.

I've heard a lot of 'I hate gays' 'Ughh!' 'Oh my god, I really wouldn't want to be around them' kind of responses. All the time, my only reaction is 'These people don't know what they're talking about'. Not one could give a sensible reason as to why they might dislike someone who's homosexual. To me, such reaction is akin to saying 'I dislike curly-haired people' or 'I dislike journalists because they think too highly of themselves'... or any such genereralisation. It's simply pointless.

Besides, what exactly is there to fear from someone who's gay? You think they're going to hit on you? For starters, you're probably not even their type so hitting on you mayen't even have crossed their mind. Instead of recoiling at that, maybe you ought stop and think for a minute that you're lucky to be considered attractive and potential-partner material by both sexes. That only ups your attractiveness quotient... although if you're homophobic, then divide that by 2 because it's such an obvious turn-off. Unless you have a valid reason for being homophobic, speak up... or hold your silence forever.

Also, another individual's sexual preferences are honestly nobody's business... unless said individual happens to be your partner. Sex-lives of other people are not up for discussion and they damn-well do not need to be judged. Judging someone's personal life is a big no-no in any part of the world, in any aspect of life. Also, in this case, it leads to discrimination. Do you know where discrimination stands? Right beside sexism, racism, nepotism, the quota system... so on and so forth. So unless you want to be classed among these, don't enter the area. I don't buy discrimination... in any form.


  1. **Judging someone's personal life is a big no-no in any part of the world

    totally agree!

    Came here from LaVida's :)


  2. Exactly. You know we join a group or are against one because it builds and strengthens our own identity. When we discuss homosexuals, the first thing it creates is the ‘negative halo effect’ around the person and many tend to see only the sexuality aspect of such! Simply because it somehow constructs a stable and superior identity for people who are not in the ‘homosexuals’ group.

    Thou shall not judge, but I guess such judgement spawns from narrow-mindedness and small circle of influence, isn't it?

  3. One of my Scary Experiences.
    (well actually all i did is escape from the situation and not get near it ever ever again)

    Well there used to be
    (i haven't seen this OLD guy in a long while now, &AND& old cos he looks & was atleast 75 - 80 years old)
    this old guy near my Neighbourhood, who used to go for walks, visit temples in the evenings. At that time I too did a bit of exersise and went out (basically to get a bite of Masala Puris, Samosas, Pani Puris and what not)… and had run into this old man on several occations, like at the Grocery store etc etc…

    on one such meeting(s) he started telling me that “I reminded him of his classmate/roommate in college” … … FASTFORWARD … … after talks of religion, places, and even going on a trip to some of these places ...etc etc… ... FastForward .... this old man starts feeling my hand and says its hairy etc etc…. (LIKE HIS FRIEND’s )
    He ask’s me a TRICK question “ How many FINGERS+TOES do you have “
    His answer was ( 5+5 ) + ( 5+5 ) + ( 1 b/w d legs) = 21
    Blo***y he tries to reach over with his hand to show me …

    I politely escaped, never to meet this old man again, I used to change directions if I saw him on the road from then on.

    I don’t have a thing about gays, but its too creepy of them to make moves on people

  4. Isnt it fun to live with such variety of people now a days.Our ancestors must be feeling jealous.

    Live and let live! :)

  5. sukla: i realise you were probably traumatised by this incident but what does one creepy old guy have to do with the entire gay community? he probably enjoyed doing this to people of all sexes. that's what random perverted people on the streets do.

  6. Keshi: Hello! And welcome here... I know you from Silvara's blog as well :)

    Zephyr: I completely agree

    Sukla: Like Pri said, you're generalising things here. This fellow sounds more like a pervert to me than someone gay. Like I pointed out, just because someone's gay does not mean they will hit on you. Sorry about you having been traumatised though.

    Sree: Yeah I know... paapa ancestors :D

    Pri: Thanks for dropping by! Love your blog btw :)

  7. dewdrop: 1/3rd? i want to come work in your office. there's like one gay guy who works in my office but he visits my location like only once a month. it's quite sad. i've been trying to make friends with him forever. he's super adorable and i've always wanted a gay best friend.

  8. i have a couple of gay acquaintances. and honestly... it's no different than any other acquaintance! except of course, they're far more generous with the compliments. and of course, i love that! :D
    but i fail to understand the big deal that people make of someone else's sexuality. it's a personal choice. like someone being vegetarian or not.

  9. Its a fear of the unknown...

  10. Pri: haha!!! It's a very small company, very few people, so 1/3rd only sounds like a great deal... but hey, hop over anytime you want!! Gay best frend eh? I don't wuite know about that, mostly because I take SUCH an age to be friendly... plus here the cultural differences etc make it that much harder to ... click, I suppose. But you sound like you'd make friends easily... so maybe there's a huge chance of you findig that friend :D

    Rayshma: You know, I've heard a lot about how gay people give lavish compliments but am yet to experience that. And I totally agree with you on sexual preference being a personal choice and thus nobody else's business.

    La Vida Loca: Yes, fear is all there is to it.

  11. Totally agree ! and That bit from Lionel Shriver is so very true.

    Last year when we visited hubby's friend in washington, he 'came out' to us.

    Hubby totally could not digest this fact about his bachpan-ka -ost and kept telling him that it might be just a 'phase' and should pass.
    That was my first exposure to a gay person within known people( well, as far as I know) and it did take few minutes for me to decide how to react.

    But,he looked happy and contented about what he is. That mattered the most and I did cheer him for that.More time with him and he turned out to be a super friendly and adorable person - just as pri mentioned earlier.

    BTW - As for the Blog Roll, You have made someone really happy today:D
    Know what, you are the FIRST !

  12. Live and let live :D
    The gays probably think everyone else is abnormal anyway :D So, it's all relative.. and none of anybody's business at all :)


  13. We had a group discussion on this topic in college and i raise the same point here that i raised there...

    when you're asking whether you accept homosexuality or not ure asking whether bestiality is ok or not...and whether fetishes and kink are ok or not...for the question is the question of accepting another person's sexuality without sitting on judgement of it...

    Personally i do draw my lines at non-consensual whether one plays wid gender, beast, scat, pain etc is none of my business....

  14. Hi,
    A little Clarification . . .

    I don't have anything against anybody else ... I was just a little surprised that it came from "a very old person"

    There was no way he could have done anything to me. ( I am pretty Ok when it comes to self defense... [SHOW_OFF_ALERT] - i had thrashed up a 70Kg 154.3235 Pound BULLY in school.. when i was in 5th grade(standard) .. when she broke my science model )

    I was not a "SADHU" by the time of that incident... so nothing "Traumatic" as such...

    Basically i don't like people making advances towards me.
    ( I follow some rules and just expect others to, that's all )

  15. Alwayshappykya: I suppose it must be harder to accept it when the person in question is someone close :) But glad to know everything went well! And hey, I'm not the only one to blogroll you, Silvara did too!!

    Impulsively me: haha, yeah they probably do consider everyone else abnormal!

    Mystique Wanderer: Very good point you made there. Non-consensual sex, never okay.. but the rest, no one can/ought to be judgemental.

    Sukla: Chillax. No one said you had anything against anyone, we were only pointing out that you generalised one incident when you said 'I don’t have a thing about gays, but its too creepy of them to make moves on people'. And what's this? You hit a girl??!!!

  16. yes :)

    btw I love the title of this post! CLEVER one.


  17. Thanks! Ooooh and... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  18. Anonymous2:34 PM

    heyy...well said...and a topic well chosen!! Its time people start realising the importance of respecting one's personal preferences and not take that extra right to judge them by it...

  19. Oh,Hmmm,Oh! < Trying not to look stupid >

    I didn't have a clue. Thanks for the info dear :D

  20. And just to be clear ,

    Info = Silvara having blogrolled