So the Delhi High Court today overturns an archaic law that has led to years of gays being harassed, being made to feel like criminals and being at the mercy of random blackmailers.
This is the first step towards the many gays in India being allowed to lead a life free of fear and ridicule and discrimination. For that I laud it. The hounding of gays was reaching ridiculous proportions. I for one found it terrible that a person could vote but was denied the freedom to practise his sexual orientation freely without fear of being thrown behind bars.
As a legal adult, what you do with another legal consenting adult, male or female, behind the closed doors of your bedroom, without force or injury or involving children is none of my business. Though, I must admit, I cannot understand homosexuality. I have never felt attracted to a woman. Yet. You never know what life brings. I have worked for many years in the media, where the culture is much more open about homosexuality than it is perhaps, in other professions, and I have known co-workers and colleagues who are gay, some openly, some in denial, some married and using their marriage as a cover up. There are a few secrets in a profession which is pretty incestuous to start with. And while I have never understood the homosexual urge I can understand how terrible it must be to be told that your urges are criminal, when in fact they are something that come from within you and cannot be denied. It is simple, you cannot be told by the state how to conduct your personal life. This is a democracy. For that vision I salute the Delhi High Court.
As for how long it will take before men are not compelled to marry women, or women men, to provide them the cloak of heterosexuality in order to be accepted wholly by society, I dont know. I dont think that is happening in a hurry across the country. There are still miles to go. I have known the pain of a friend who was married off to a very eligible man through an arranged marriage who has lived for years in a loveless marriage, because her husband is gay. They even have a child, produced out of a sense of duty, and through IVF. To outward appearances their marriage is perfect, she shops, he works and goes for infinite business trips. “How do you compete with another man,” she’d asked me once. She has casual flings to make up for the lack of sex in her life. She longs for love. Her youth is past her. Their marriage is loveless but has reached a level of comfort today. I do not know whom to empathise with here, my friend who has reached middle age without living a truly married life, or her husband, who is forced to live a life of duplicity to prevent his ultra conservative family from disowning him.
God has put everyone of us on this earth for a purpose, and to find our destiny. And defining what gives us happiness and fulfilment is a goal we have to seek ourselves. With this ruling, I can only hope that more gays have the courage to come out of the closet and not need to get themselves into loveless marriages in order to conform to the heterosexual social norm. I hope no one goes through the kind of a barren life my friend has.