Gay Ho!

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The first week of July, 2009, has had special significance to Indians. While many people possibly in weird body paint danced in joy, hugging on the streets; others yet marked it as black day for Indian society, solemnly grieving the ‘decline’ of India as a country. Personally, I thought those were rather extreme reactions to my birthday. I mean, hell, I was even putting a low profile this time around. And July 5 comes every year, people… Even leap years, so just learn to live with it.

But my birthday wasn’t the only big event this month. Those of you who are in the loop, or around the loop, or live somewhere next to the loop, or visit the loop once a week or so, would know that on July the 2nd, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality. The Indian Penal Code, Section 377, drafted somewhere between the Bronze Age and the Age of Perennial Pranks, had a section which criminalized homosexual associations. It was clubbed as an ‘unnatural’ act, and was further expanded by the public as an act against God and nature. It’s unclear who undertakes the task of defining what’s natural.

For all I know, it could be this guy.

I think it’s a long overdue change, but then again, I knew that there would be a lot of protests and demonstrations against this. People get active when age old norms and customs get torn. I was pleasantly surprised that there were no heavy protests/ wild demonstrations on the streets. Maybe people are more open minded than I thought. I just had to stand up and clap, which, by the way, is an extremely stupid thing to do when you’re riding a bike.

But the applause came a bit too early; the protests were just delayed. The ruling apparently shook the roots of fundamental anti-gay community so much that they spent a couple of days reeling and gasping under the shock. They started on their head-butting campaign soon enough, and started challenging the verdict.

If gayhood is legalized, they reasoned, it would corrupt the ‘moral fabric’ of the country. Groups of bandanna clad terrorists calling themselves ‘The Go-Go Gang’ would unite behind random shrubbery, waiting for an unsuspecting, innocent, straight victim to pass on by, possibly whistling ‘Mere Sapnon ki Rani‘ as he walks by. And once they spot one, the gang would jump on him, sometimes from as far as the neighboring state, and the police would just have to stand by, teary-eyed and powerless, because section 377 is no longer active. And pretty soon, the poor, innocent, straight whistler would get INFECTED. From now on, he’d be singing ‘Mere Sapnon ka Raja‘ instead.

And soon, the scourge would spread across the country. Gay activists would take a cricket bat and club the institution of marriage to death… or maybe use telephone wires to strangle it to death… or burn it, or something. There would be no more marriage, no more children, and we’d be looking helplessly at an AIDS epidemic that we can’t control. The whole of India would get wiped out and Pakistan would go “Huh? It wasn’t me!

India would then become a textbook example for future generations on how a country wiped itself out. And the religious sects add – “That’s not all. Once the entire race is wiped out, all Indians will share a fiery cauldron in hell too.

Well, at least they’re not overreacting.

I haven’t actually met a gay man ever. Ok. That may not be true. Let me rephrase. I haven’t met someone who I’m sure is gay. Hmm… One more try. I haven’t met someone who’s openly gay. It is possible that I DO know some people, but they don’t let on that they’re gay. Quite frankly, I don’t know how I’ll react if that happens. I know that I wouldn’t scream and hit him on the head with a frying pan, but I can only hope that I’ll be mature enough to treat him as I’d treat any other friend. I think will, but I won’t know till I actually encounter the situation. In essence, while I don’t know for certain how I will react, I do know how I SHOULD.

In America, I understand there is a clear separation of church and state; this prevents religion from messing around with the legal system – “Your honor, the defendant did indeed shoot his sister and bury three backpackers in his front yard, but he was only doing that because God told him to.” I don’t know if such a policy exists in India. I sure hope it does. India has a radical mix of religious beliefs and faith, and the only thing they seem to agree with is intolerance. It’s not a phenomenon unique to India. Globally, the predominant creed of religion seems to be that God is conducting a Mortal Kombat tournament, with the surviving champion getting eternal glory.

Religious sects all over the country has rebuked the court ruling reiterating that homosexuality is against the order of God. I can’t speak for all religion, but taking my own, Christianity, I’ll have to say that you need to pick and choose. It is true that the bible condemns homosexuality as a sin, punishable by death. But the literal bible is pretty lavish with the death penalty, prescribing it to children who don’t listen to their parents, fortune tellers, false prophets, blasphemers, people who work on the Sabbath, and also supports genocide of an entire town, if one person in the town believes in another religion (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT) This by itself takes down “Thou shalt not kill’ from an ironclad commandment to a recommendation with loopholes.

The Holy Book also abets slavery, child abuse (Judges 11:29-40 and Isaiah 13:16) and other things that modern morality cringes on. It’s not possible to follow everything the bible says, basically because it contradicts itself now and then. So if you have to pick and choose, choose the passages that promote tolerance and reduces hatred. Any self respecting God is sure to give a thumbs up to that. So leave the religious fanatics to debate their cause in society. Let them preach, as long as they do it peacefully. Let’s leave court ruling and justice to the sane boys.

no sanity

Another of the most common complaints is that this will somehow, undermine the sanctity of marriage. This, from a society that still fights the dowry system, child marriage, polygamy and other remnants of the dark ages. I can’t help but be amused by these reactions. What are they afraid of? Do they feel that their wives and husbands will suddenly come out of the closet running free, shouting “Free at last!“, running into the arms of a random guy/ girl? If anything, hiding your sexuality behind a charade of wedding vows and social masks is the real threat to the sanctity of their precious marriage.

All things considered, I must confess that things haven’t been as bad as I had initially feared. We have some domed noise. We have some religious leaders preaching, we have some paranoid schmucks predicting that the natural course of events that will follow this decision is chaos and pandemonium. Wanton rape, child abuse, God’s wrath via natural calamities, instantaneous divorce, and men having to walk with chastity belts in the constant fear of an attack from the rear… these are some of the projections into the future made by these little heroes.

Ok, so it’s bad. But not as bad as I feared it would be. There’s hope for this country yet. Let’s see what my next birthday brings.

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16 Responses

  1. Arun says:

    Just to point out, America is not as forward as it seems to be. A few points:

    1) Legalising Gay marriage is a big factor in each and every election campaign in US.

    2) Republican Party is one of the most conservative party in the whole world. It mixes religion a lot in politics and in turn in America’s legal system.

    3) Anti Gay protests happen even in US.

    I am sure you were aware of these things.

  2. Alex says:

    Listen, author, and you yourself wrote or perpisyval from somewhere?.

  3. mathew says:

    awesome post da..
    I dont have much to say..coz this post summarised very much what i feel on the topic too…am not sure how i ll react to if i come to know to have gay friends..but i think am mature enough not to behave like a rabid fanatic!!

  4. thra says:

    I am out to every straight friend of mine in my personal life and they love me more than ever before. Its about knowing the person before you know he is gay… helps in case one has fears and doubts – which you seem to have none.

    It would be great that more and more Gay guys and girls come out to their good friends. That is the best way out to kill some myths. Because when a friend you have known long enough says he or she is gay – it simply adds one angle to the overall personality one has known for so long – and helps killing much of the issues some people have about Gays. The problem is that some people are speaking about Gays – as an object lying in some unknown place and that allows the discussions to be rooted purely on judgements.

    But awareness helps, and once again I thank you for your post.

  5. hammy says:

    @arun:
    Never said America should be our benchmark. Just saying they are at least above India in this matter. Gay marriage is still being protested, yes. But that’s several stages beyond our current situation. Changes this big can only happen slowly.

    And yes, you still find idiotic religious fervor arguing that gay people are responsible for all the calamities in the world. There are organizations which say AIDS is God’s way of punishing his sinful children. Some father figure.

    The Westboro Baptist Church, for example, are so retarded as to display signs like “Thank God for AIDS”, “Fags die, God laughs”, “AIDS cure fags”, etc… They even curse victims of the 9/11 attacks, hurricane Katrina, and some murders saying they were punished by God because US tolerates fags. The retards also campaign against Sweden for it’s tolerance. After the Tsunamis in Asia, they put up a slogan saying “Thank God for 20,000 dead Swedes. Wish it were more.”

    So, yes, there is no ABSOLUTE tolerance for gays anywhere around the world. I’m just saying that amending section 377 is a positive step in the right direction.

    @alex:
    Listening, Alex. I myself wrote, and did not perpisyval from somewhere. Perpisyval indeed. I don’t perpisyval content for my site. Never have. Never will. To perpisyval is wrong, and I don’t condone that activity…

    Of course, I’m guessing that perpisyval means ‘to copy from somewhere’… in some language quite alien to me. Either that, or ”to perspire into a vial’. Since I don’t do either, I feel safe saying NO.

    @mathew:
    Thank you, dude.
    We should all unite against rabid fanatics. But then if we get too aggressive, we’ll become rabid fanatics ourselves. The Association of Rabid Fanatics Against Rabid Fanatics. That’s going to be confusing. New plan. We’ll just stay sane and hope for the best.

    @thra:
    Sounds like a good idea. I doubt if it will work in all cases, but it should work in many. Probably the best way for people to realize they are just as sane and normal as the rest of us.
    🙂

  6. Awesome post Hammy. You deserve a pat on your back. You’ve touched all the issues in the 377 judgment, without really spilling out your first thoughts.

    So brush aside the religious fanatics and moral leaders, the Court has at least shown the courage to dump some very archaic laws. Only total fanatics and ignorants will complain that Homosexuality is a disease and needs treatment. And for those who fear that human race is going to end because all people will turn gay and there wont be any reproduction…oooof, they’d better try some serious science fiction

  7. Richa says:

    well I do have gay friends and friends who still think they are straight and trust me, no matter of preparations and mindset change can get you ready when you actually get confronted by such “situations”.

    The friend who is sharing a very personal feeling, is and will be very vulnerable and slightest inappropriateness (if you didn’t mean it to sound it like that), can hurt your friend. It’s a very tricky situation to say the least.

    Nice post, btw.

  8. Webmaster says:

    In the past few years has been to Ibiza, so they met with a man whose style of presentation is very similar to yours. But unfortunately, the man is very far from the Internet..

  9. How I Lost 30 Pounds in 30 Days Without Diet says:

    Thanks for posting about this, I would love to read more about this topic.

  10. me says:

    To me, sexual orientation and platonic friendship seem like they should be mutually exclusive, right? Why does the former preference have any influence on the latter ?

    As for a separation of religion and state- It’s about as possible as it is to take an axe and chop up a personality to separate the bits responsible for ethics and social responsibility from the section titled ‘religion and belief in higher beings’ .. Legally, perhaps. Practically- just not happening.

  11. Elvis says:

    It would be something navayat in ????????? creative, but the idea is not, so just cool.

  12. Malcom says:

    It is possible, and on this issue, because only in a dispute can be achieved truth. :).

  13. hammy says:

    Really sorry about the delayed response, guys.

    @scorpiogenius:
    Thank you, Scorps. People are free to pat me on the back at any time. It’s what it’s there for. Quite frankly, my faith in the legal system is getting strengthened these days. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better. The court recently kicked out the idiot pseudo-patriots’ attempt to ban English medium schools over a bunch of hocus-pocus reasons. The court was sensible enough to say “The parents will decide, buddy. Now get outta my courthouse”. Of course, I’m paraphrasing.

    @richa:
    True. You need to be sensitive, and not everybody can be that. Tricky is right.

    @webmaster:
    Oh? Hope he reaches a wide audience somehow. Do you remember his name? Thanks for the comment.

    @how i lost 30 pounds – got pickpocketed in london:
    Um.. Ok. I think the controversy will rage on for a while. You’re not going to run short of reading material while you exercise. 😀

    @me:
    Hi, mini-me. I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely right. As for the state-religion connection, I’m just saying keep it out of the court and administration.

    “Pray. Don’t prey.” – That’s the motto.

    I know. Weak connection, but hell, I liked what I came up with, and just had to put it up somewhere. I knew you’d understand. 😉

    @elvis:
    Yep. ABSOLUTELY navayat. Now if I could only find out what it means, I’d be less confused.

    Well, on the other hand, maybe not. What if I found out ‘navayat’ means ‘to bark like a rabid wolf with two front teeth missing’, I dare say I’d just get MORE confused.

    The idea is not creative? Or the idea is not ‘just cool’? Uhmm.. Thank you (?) Somebody get me a hanky.

    @malcom:
    Yes, in chaos, there is truth. Well, that doesn’t sound right. Let me try again. Fight, and you’ll know what’s right. I know Cheesy. Maybe I should just abandon attempting to be clever here.

    I think you’re right. Let them fight it out, and we’ll embrace the winner… as long as the winner is the court ruling here. If not, we’ll continue our bash-mission.

  14. Julia says:

    Author fellow)))) hih tell, but you have the RSS feed for this blog?.

  15. Maggy says:

    excellent example of standing material. Fortunately, the author simply genius.

  16. hammy says:

    @julia/ maggy:
    Hi, commenter fellow. I DO have RSS for the blog, but I don’t remember it right now. I’ll let you know as soon as I get things sorted out here. And btw, is your real name Julia, or Maggy? My guess is neither, but you know how wrong I can get. 😀

    It’s been lovely to speak to you spambots, but I’m gonna stop that now. k? I knew you’d understand. 😉

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