Homosexuality is a state of love, accept it: Activist
Nagpur: Same yardsticks cannot be applied when it comes to sexuality as it could be by birth or due to innate feelings.
Homosexuality is not a mental illness but a state of love and affection which should be honoured by the society, said Manvendra Gohil, a gay, human and animal activist, on Friday.
Gohil was forthright in commenting on homosexuals and transgenders at a session on the third day of Orange City Literature Festival at Chitnavis Centre. This was perhaps for the first time in a literary fest where transgender activist Gauri Sawant and Gohil were given a platform to put forth their views.
Gohil said “I believe it was always a battle between humanity and hypocrisy. Amendment to section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) legalized such relationships which the LGBTQ members had been demanding since long.”
“India is a land of Kamasutra where temples like Khajuraho were built. Some temples have erotic scenes crafted on the walls that acknowledged homosexual acts. There was so much of homophobia in the country, but it has now come to an end,” he said.
“Provisions of section 377, made in the Victorian age that criminalized sex between these communities, were followed shamelessly and LGBTQ community continued to face traumatic situations,” he said.
“I respect the Constitution which gives equal rights to the citizens of India irrespective of caste, creed, religion and race. But it was ironical that LGBTQ members were looked down upon as criminals for loving someone of the same sex,” he said.
“For us, independence came at the cost of our happiness and sexuality. I am happy that decades of fight for justice yielded results following the amendment. I won’t blame humanity but the ignorance when it came to our sexuality. That anomaly has now been removed.”
Tracing her journey from being a transgender to becoming an activist, Sawant was outspoken when she said, “You can call me ‘SHE’ instead of putting me into the third category. We have already been categorized enough.”
“Our schools don’t provide sex education. There is still a stigma about who are transgenders. We are not special, we just want the weird stares and glances that we get when we move around to go away. People should accept us as part of the society,” said Sawant.
She expressed her agony over people’s thinking about the trans people. “We have the right to lead a normal life, unless, of course, we don’t harm anyone. I have my personal choice and want to be successful and independent irrespective of gender. I have been given birth by heterosexual couple. We don’t want to spend our life on streets, clap our hands and beg,” she said.
Sawant and Gohil believed that human rights are for everyone and parents must understand the mentality of trans and homosexual children. “Indian parents are like a drama. They blackmail homosexual wards and get them married forcibly which is suffocating,” said Gohil.
“Indian parents need to start the change from within. Acceptance is the first and the biggest step for changing mentality towards such sensitive topics. Give respect and take respect is my philosophy of life,” said Sawant.