Today any daily newspaper article can be broadly categorized into five categories – Politics, Business, Sports, Arts & Entertainment and the Others. And the categorization seems fine because, in general, our society is represented by people belonging to either one or a mixture of the above-mentioned categories. If you read the above sentence with squinted eyes – an undesirable yet undeniable aspect of ‘representational’ factor comes into the picture. This is by and large the current argumentative front of the LGBTQ community in India. So, let’s break it down a little bit.
Let’s first acknowledge two points here. And then I’ll link you to the introductory paragraph.
Firstly, yes, we are a minority. We, in no way, must be deluded to think that it is raining gay men in India (Although we’d love it, won’t we?) because of the lack of any proof in our hands. Today, we have no means to factually find out how many of us exist in the country by actual surveying. And it sure would be difficult to do so as well. Over 1.25 billion people to survey! So, any numbers that are tossed around at us by news channels or any other source need to be vetted thoroughly. Since sexual orientation is not considered in our decennial census conducted by the government, nobody really knows how many of us exactly exist in India at the time apart from some projections of statistics made by certain surveyors. Mere projections, which I’m sure you’ll agree, will sway depending on which party does the survey. The survey by the LGBT community allied organizations will claim a certain percentage of the population whereas if it is the government that conducts the survey, the projections will be much less. Each party will claim to be nearer to the reality. Ugh.
And secondly, the minuscule logic was reinstated by the 2013 Supreme Court verdict on the basis of criminal convictions in India under IPC section 377. Since neither the government nor the Honourable Supreme Court of India knows our population exactly, it is truly ignorant and inconsiderate of them to sweep us under the rug. And going by that logic, India is truly the country that makes its minorities voices tipping points for elections to be won! So what makes them think, that we cannot be one of those tipping factors to vote on? Are we that minuscule in reality? So this brings me back to my introductory paragraph.
The reason why I had brought representational factor was the sheer invisibility of LGBT in the mainstream. We, at this point in time, do not have a decent representation in the mainstream news. We sure have some feathers in our caps in the Arts & Entertainment department, but sadly our other faculties have to solely rely on the ‘modern and democratic thoughts’ of our heterosexual allies. The fact that we have no representation in the mainstream domains, we are considered an absolute minority and thus deemed dismissible. This sheet of invisibility is equally damaging, if not more to us, the queer folks. Not many, like Derek O’Brien and Shashi Tharoor are outright supporters of LGBT. There might be many voices agreeing with us, but flag-bearers are what we must be looking for!
Let us not forget the nuanced political conundrum LGBT rights poses in our complex society. LGBT rights, you’ll agree is more of a cultural issue, than mere a rights issue. It is the cultural shock that we pose to the status quo of the society which is unacceptable to them. So we need a strong and solid presence of our representation that will seep into the minds of the populace and bring in an aspect of normalcy to it. Something that will not be ‘outrageous, preposterous’. Something that will just be normal.
Today in our country, other minorities have faces to represent them in the mainstream media in all other fields. Be it to the top corporate executives, businessmen, to politicians and sports personalities. They have representatives. They have voices. They have faces. It is the time we have ours. It is time.
So, here’s hoping that more and more people come out of the closet, be vocal about it and be our mainstream connections! So, if you know someone who’s gay, or you the reader yourself are gay, come out. Come out, and let’s be a part of the revolution ahead of us. You can still do it KJo! 😉