Closer to God: A Conversation with a Homosexual Friend
“Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.”
Homosexuality is an issue which still raises a lot of eyebrows in our society. Despite annual gay parades and the judiciary’s (failed) attempt to decriminalize Gay/Lesbian sex, the word still evokes strong response from the society. Very recently our Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, described it as a disease which was “unnatural” and spreading fast in the society. (The minister later retracted in face of severe criticism.) World renowned Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev claims to have a “cure” for the “disease” called “homosexuality”. He has discovered some ‘YOGASANA’ or body postures that can make the diseased person “normal” again (Seriously!!). It is sometimes hard for me to believe that I’m living in the 21st century. That, in this century, that is characterized by technological advancements, globalization and liberal thinking, most people still prefer to reside in the stone age and refuse to come out of their shell, or den, in this case.
Recently, I had this wonderful chance of talking to one of my old friend’s Cousin and a member of the GHETTO Club in Mumbai, which is more famous as the LGBT Club. He’s right now studying in DAVV University, Indore, pursuing his Bachelors in Design. Initially, he did not open up and was hesitant enough to tell me the problems he and the people like him faced each day in the society but later on, he did. All the pain and feelings in him, broke out. Here’s a glimpse of what he told me about his life.
“It begins very early. You realize you’re different than the others. Some might say the fortunate ones are able to hide it. Hide it from their parents and siblings, friends and teachers. Those who become especially adept can even hide it from themselves. A lie grows in the very essence of a person. I’m not really sure what it’s like for those who can’t hide it. You see, I was pretty good at hiding it. I was a very good liar, even to myself. However, no matter how good I ever was at hiding the fact that I liked guys, each heterosexual act brought the barrage of self-interrogation, which chipped away at the perfect facade I poured my heart into building every hour of every day. Mind you, I never did anything more than hug a girl. I was only acting heterosexual and I had my limits. I was, after all, a good Indian boy. The facade – the lie – it had to be perfect. The world was my audience, and the facade I had built, my stage. I would make them believe. I would make me believe. I would make God believe. I would live the lie until it was no longer a lie and then I would be saved. The height of my deception would know no bounds in an effort to find salvation. Years passed. Then came the day I became tired of maintaining the show. I was the villain in my own story. Many will say it was for lack of faith, but I would say it was for lack of a desire to continue the lie. I came out to myself: “I am gay”. I never felt closer to God. I had stopped lying, and He knew this. I had a different faith. A faith that said, although the pontificates of my youth would have condemned me as godless, I had just made more room for God in my gay heart – it was fabulous in there, and He would want to stay. I was now the hero to my story, honest, true and virtuous.”
I managed to ask him some questions, to find whose answers, I was a lot curious, from long.
Q: How do you feel God fits into all of this?
A: “I’m not sure what ‘all of this’ means. God lives in me and I have a relationship with him.”
Q: How do you know you’re gay?
A: “How do you know you’re straight? Think about it in terms of yourself and how you know. It’s a pretty innate feeling.”
Q: What can faculty/staff do to help make this university a safer place?
A: “I had a class this week where a professor made me feel very uncomfortable, talking about how his son hates gays, and laughing about it. Be aware of what you’re saying and who may be sitting in your classroom. Math teachers should teach math and not become pastors in the middle of the classroom.”
Q: How do you want the Society and your Family to respond to you?
A: “Like they would, to anyone else. You don’t need to cater to us. Just be you and we’ll be us. Treat LGBT people with love. They are children of God, just like you.”
He broke down into tears after this and I could not continue the talk more. I had to stop. For him. For his Pain. For the problems he faced each day in his life. Just because he loved a male, being a male. I mean what harm is it? Are they not the children of God? And where is it written that males can only love females. Is it mentioned as a sin in Geeta, Bible, Quran or Grantha Sahib? NO.
But, as they say, change is inevitable, and slowly but surely, people are changing their attitude towards this topic. Landmark legislation was the reading down of section 377 of the IPC that criminalized homosexual activities, and now the Indian legal system recognizes gay affiliations. Gay parades now feature annually in the Delhi Calendar. They have played and continued to play a major role in emancipation of the LGBT community and in spreading ethical awareness about the very same. Several organizations, like the NAZ FOUNDATION, have vehemently supported this cause and have subsequently made admirable efforts to improve the current, prevailing situation. And thus, comes back my realization, that I live in the 21st century and not the Stone Age.
“A society is judged by the people who live in it. We all must broaden our horizons, break away from age old myths and embrace a more progressive and happier tomorrow. Treat them like we treat others. It will not cost us anything, but will definitely bring big smiles on their face.”