Until a few years ago I really didn't know what LGBT meant. Yes I knew that gays and lesbians existed and they are the people who have a sexual preference for those from the same sex, but their existence made me wonder, what was so natural and socially unacceptable about them. For once I wondered why did me or anyone like me, create a hullabaloo about what they wanted to do inside the four walls of their bedroom. Back then the idea of a woman making love to a woman, or a man doing the same was the wierdest unreality I didn't want to come to terms with. I always thought that gays and lesbians were only into same sex relationships for pleasure while they understood nothing about love.Until I gave a name to my stand for my own rights, which popularly is called feminism, gay-ism or lesbian-ism was something towards which I had an apolitical approach. I thought it was better to seal my lips about same sex relationships which didn't affect my life directly or indirectly, for I had no gay or lesbian friends and no one in the family who practiced homosexuality. Then I met Rohan De'Cruz (name changed). A dashingly handsome guy who was the first of my friends at the Christmas carol group I used to sing for. One look at the man and I bet every woman, every woman who appreciates the beauty in a man would turn a second time to look at him. Rohan was this warm, sweet guy who I thought could be taken home to introduce to mom. The friendship between me and Rohan grew stronger when one day he decided to confide in me. All the single women in our carol group dolled it up everyday, in the vain hope of getting into his good books. For the strangest reason this guy always blessed me, the plain Jane of the group with all the attention. And that made many women go green. I was even told that the more jealous ones had even planned something evil to impair my voice, so that they could get rid of me and take turns to thrill him with their charms.
It was 11th December, exactly two weeks before Christmas. After the practice sessions, we were packing our bags to leave. While me and another friend were swaying with the higher and lower tones in the chorus of a song, a beleaguered Rohan pulled me out of the room and asked me to get into his car. I sensed that something was amiss. His face was pale, washed with tears and he was stuttering to breathe. He drove me towards the South avenue area which is more or less deserted after the peak office hours, in the winters. He stopped the car near an uninhabited corner of the road.
By now, my heart was in my mouth and I regretfully cursed myself for risking my safety while deciding to be out with a guy whom I had barely known for a few months. I didn't know what had gone wrong? I kept asking him about the cause of his worry but he chose to stay silent until we reached that deserted corner of the road.
''I lost my partner in a road accident.'' he yelled.
I tried to dig into his words trying to understand the meaning of the word 'partner'.
''What do you mean by partner?''
I inquired in dismay.
And his reply sent shock waves across my nerves, a spine chilling confession that changed the dynamics of my feelings towards him.
He confessed to being a gay and whimpered like a baby while telling me about how his partner had died in a car crash, a few hours ago, and why he can't make it to his funeral since his family didn't want him to lead the life of a gay guy.
I didn't know what to make of it. Did I have to mourn the death of love that will never be born between us or should I lend my shoulder to a great friend who had been supportive in times of trouble.
There was no love between us and there will never be a future for us. I decided to be the 'friend in need'.
That night, it was for the first time that I had known that gay love was not just sexual. One has to know a homosexual person very closely to understand the finer elements of the love for their partner.
Rohan found love in Jason again and the two have been going strong since three years. They would get married soon and adopt a son. That is what they want from life and that is what most gay and lesbian couples hope to get from life.
Rohan was the first of homosexuals I was ever meeting in my life. And since then our friendship has grown through the thick and thin.
Rohan's mom wanted him to be a 'closet gay'. She wanted to force him into a heterosexual marriage and procreation. I was one of the many 'good' girls who had caught her attention. But Rohan decided to clear the air about his sexuality and not ruin a poor girl's life. His decision to come out of the closet and stick to his ground makes him one of the most wonderful men I have ever known.
Through Rohan, I have known a lot of gay men and lesbian women who cow down to hypocritical calling of the society and marry. Some gays marry lesbians and vice versa while the others marry heterosexuals from their own caste and creed, falling to the tall promises of their families that never want them to come out of their closets. Many have kids that they never wanted to make, due to this fiasco of falsehood and live and die to please the moral mentors of the society.
The SC court ruling that happened in the morning made me think of Rohan suddenly. I wonder which era we live in? While martial rape is "legal" and the punishment in that case is negligible, sex between two consenting adults, well over the age of 18 and in the concealed corners of their bedroom is a "criminal offence" in the largest democracy of the world. The democracy that claims for equal rights for its people can't stand for the privileges of a section of the society that is blatantly getting discriminated against, for their choice of sexuality and is often abusively exploited.
Section 377, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter ‘IPC’) was enacted by the British colonial regime to criminalise ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’. It was rooted in the Judeo-Christian religious morality that abhorred non-procreative sex.
You can read more about it here.
(To be continued)