Homosexuality in India

By Alayne Lawrence, Xavier University

Homosexuality is a part of life; it is not something that can be controlled. A lot of people fail to realize that homosexuality does not happen over night. It is not taught, it is the way a person develops both mentally and physically from birth. Homosexuality has been around just as long as sex and only recently has it become more open and prevalent to just about everyone. In many countries around the world their cultures teach them to believe homosexuality is immoral and unacceptable in what is suppose to be a male and female only society. Everyday in America we hear about how new laws are being made for same sex couples. But in India that is definitely not the case, although many people in India are learning to accept homosexuality. In the Indian society certain laws and the religion of many people prevent them from accepting homosexuality as a moral prerogative, and they still look at same sex couples in a rejecting way.

Homosexuality is against India’s written law which is mainly why most Indian homosexuals do not come out publicly as easily as they would in countries with less severe laws. Homosexuality is “against the course of nature” (Abraham), meaning that homosexuals are not allowed to be themselves in private or in public. If there are any signs that a person is homosexual then they will be severely punished or put in jail for up to ten years. There are so many laws against homosexuals that discretion is understandable as to why they would choose not to be open with their sexual preference. The laws also make it hard for heterosexual people to accept the homosexual lifestyle because for them to be honorable members of the community they must obey the law and homosexuality is unlawful so anyone suspected of or caught committing an act is doing wrong.  Homosexuals are everywhere so this includes the members of certain Indian families.

Homosexual relationships are not easy for parents especially if all ones life they have been taught that relationships are only suppose to be between a man and a woman. The pressure of getting married is huge in the Indian culture so a homosexual relationship would really affect ones relationship with everyone around them from family starting with your parents and siblings to even your neighbors and work colleagues. Indian society dictates that getting married to a member of the opposite sex is the ideal way of life. Everyone’s parents anticipate for their child to get married so being in a homosexual relationship would definitely be a struggle. It can be also a mental torment trying to fit into everyone’s way of thinking. Often it is only after a period of solid friendship that homosexuals evolve towards a monogamous sexual relationship. Those with a genuine homosexual orientation subconsciously feel compelled to maintain an emotional distance in their homosexual encounters and thus struggle against the search for love and intimacy which, besides the press of sexual desire, motivated these encounters in the first place.

Love should be all that truly matters but because the old will not accept how the new tend to express themselves then those are at a disadvantage.

People who are homosexuals are really at a disadvantage in India because they are unable to express themselves. There are so many laws against homosexuality that it has become even harder for humans that grow, think, act and love differently to express who they really are physically, mentally and emotionally. Homosexuals in India are faced with hardships everywhere they go and are ridiculed by almost everyone from the police to people who do not approve, entertain or allow behavior that is considered as an act against nature. Some may feel as though they are incomplete because they can not express themselves in the way that they would like to. They may begin to feel as though they do not belong to anyone’s society just because they are not accepted in one culture. No matter the issue or the risk, some people will still go against the societal norms and express themselves the way they want even while knowing the consequences they could face and homosexuality still and will continue to exist.

People are different and there will always be nonconformist who tend to want to rebel against their government because they feel the laws and morals of other men makes it hard for them to be individuals and express themselves. They feel that in order for them to be able to function correctly in their society they have to conform to the world that the government has created for them. People should be able to express themselves freely in the world that they live in without having to worry about the government or any member of their society criticizing or impeding on their lives. As a result, many of these homosexuals will begin to riot and speak out against the injustice imposed on them by the government.

Despite all the laws against homosexuals in India, many people are now coming out as being gay as a result of the international acceptance of homosexuality. According to The Associated Press there also “has long been an underground gay and lesbian culture.” Since there is an underground gay and lesbian culture no one really knows who is gay or not. But in 2006 Prince Manavendra Singh Gohil announced to the world that he is gay. Prince Gohil made was an “coming out” was important because he was the first person in any royal family to come out as being gay. A lot of “gay activists are trying to lift the veil of secrecy over the community in a country where public hugging or kissing even among heterosexuals invites angry stares, lewd comments and even beatings” (Espera). Since the prince “came out” homosexual awareness in India has risen. It was actually very influential for him to come out as being a homosexual because now other Indians may have a chance at a life free from persecution for being gay. It is also an interesting topic because he is royalty and for royalty to go against the societal beliefs is very unconditional especially to the point where it may in fact become acceptable.

In addition to laws against homosexuality, religion also plays a major factor as to whether a homosexual is accepted in society. Homosexuality goes against all aspects of the Islamic faith. In the Islamic faith, the traditions are that you follow the ways of Allah the one true God. Homosexuality in India is being accepted by the new era of people but not by the traditional families. The tradition set in India is that marriage is between two people of the opposite sex. Also in India the roles set between husband and wife has been followed strictly for many years. This is why there is such disapproval in the homosexual community. But as a result of so many people coming out it is becoming accepted.

The church has always been a safe haven in which many run to for healing or some type of shelter but with religion playing an impact on homosexuality that idea has changed. Many homosexuals have strayed from the church because it does not stand behind the principles that it is built upon. Instead of accepting everyone as they are, the church teaches us that homosexuality is a sin. However many fail to realize that there are leaders in the church who are homosexuals. This makes that task to ban homosexuality difficult if the leaders in the church are conducting themselves in such a manner. The Islamic faith teaches that anything can be solved if you go to the church and consult with a leader. This may cause a severe separation between government and the church because it is no longer following behind the principles that built the foundation of the society.

Making homosexuality illegal supports social rejection. In a world where we are suppose to be free to do whatever we want; Indians still do not have the rights necessary to completely be themselves. Many Indians are now realizing what an impact homosexuality being illegal is imposing on their country. As a response to post on a blog entitled “Is Homosexuality a Crime?,” Dr. Guha Thakurta had this to say:

“In a country where we are gifted with the constitutional rights of freedom of  expression, we have every right to raise voice for any cause including  homosexuality and the society or any educational institution does not have the  right to penalize an individual for the same. It is the need of the time to be united  against such fascist powers and stand in support of the victims of moral policing” (Thakurta). People in India still deal with certain prejudices making homosexuality in turn seem even more unacceptable. People in India are unable to be with the people they want and are therefore not being granted their natural right to be themselves.

Homosexuality is becoming more open in India. No matter the issue, the old will still never be the same as the new. The old will never conform to the new beliefs of society simply because that was the way they were raised. As any new cultures emerge the old people will still try to live by the same rules. The way people live life is changing and one cannot judge someone’s character as a person based on their sexual preference. Over the past half-century science and technology, new economic patterns, the growing influence of the media and the diminishing influence of religion have brought about vast changes in people’s morals, beliefs and life-styles. One day homosexuality will be accepted by all and no one will judge anyone.

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