Tag Archives: Homosexuality

A Calmer You: how about turning NOYB-sexual?

Not hetero, not homo, let’s all become none-of-your-business sexual.

I was aimlessly roaming about in Khan Market one evening a couple of weeks back, when two young boys called out to me. ‘Are you Sonal Kalra?’ one of them asked. When I nodded, he said, ‘We regularly read your column. And specially wanted to thank you on behalf of our friend, on whose request you wrote a column on gays around two years ago. It changed his life forever.’ They were referring to.

A Calmer You how about turning NOYB-sexualA Calmer You piece I wrote on December 3, 2011, titled ‘So your friend is gay? Big deal’. I was left very humbled that day. You see, what I write each week in this column is neither intelligent, nor important enough to change lives. Most weeks in this space, you and I laugh about inane stuff and needless, day-to-day stresses. For it to change someone’s life can at best be by fluke, so I was mighty pleased.

Also what impressed me was the confidence with which those two boys referred to their gay friend, quite in contrast to a few years back when the volume and tone of most people would subconsciously go a few notches down on switching to the topic of homosexuality. Today, as I  write this piece in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling that seems to go against the freedom and rights of gays, I feel terribly sad and sorry for that confidence. I’m sure the newspapers today are, as they have been this past week, full of intelligent, in-depth analysis against or in favour of the court ruling. I consider myself not qualified or capable enough to fully understand or decode the background or implications of the heavy duty legal terminology these laws and judgments entail. What bother me, however, are the following few questions that stress me, even as a layperson.  Do they stress you too?

 1. what’s wrong with our priorities?:  If we had been a country like Denmark or Switzerland, where the crime rates are the lowest in the world, I would have still understood the need for people to focus their energies on making laws that govern the future of human evolution. Like who will sleep with whom and whether that is amenable or detrimental to the society at large. We, my dear countrymen, belong to a nation where crimes of all nature  — some way more grave than choosing a wrong gender to express love — are rampant.

How about spending our energies in filing petitions, making laws, enforcing guidelines etc on those, so that we can aaraam se someday reach a stage where we can afford to have drawing room debates about whether guys should sleep with guys. I would hate for someone to get me wrong here and think that this is undermining the importance of such issues. Oh Puhleez, you’ve got to admit that neither homosexuals nor heterosexuals should want  — or can afford —  too much focus on issues of such personal nature at the cost of problems that affect all of us equally, like corruption, for instance. How about getting our priorities right, people?

2. what’s the obsession with sexuality, anyway?: Even though sociologists, anthropologists, criminologists and all other
kind of gists may want to kill me for trivialising this, but I’m sorry I fail to understand our never-ending interest in dictating something as private as sexuality. Whether it is homosexuals or heterosexuals, whether it is Khap Panchayats telling girls and boys of same gotra to not marry, or religious panels telling people of the same gender to not fall in love — we just seem too interested in passing guidelines about what should or shouldn’t go on in peoples’ bedrooms. Everyone seems to have turned guardian to something — traditions, religion, morality… even rights. I think valid concerns about these things should begin from the point when someone’s sexual behaviour takes even the slightest tones of being criminal or exploitative in nature. Two consenting adults, whether gay or straight, do not need your attention unless they pose a threat or harm to anyone by what they are doing. For once, can we try changing from heterosexual or homosexual to none-of-your-business-sexual (NOYBsexual)? I’m telling you, life would be so more peaceful.

3. can we drop the aggression please?:  I know this is the age of much-needed activism and God bless the change that our country is finally waking up to, but I for one am, frankly, tired of being angry. In the past few years, our collective blood pressure as a nation would have certainly gone up by a few significant points.

We are JUST. SO. ANGRY all the time. Thankfully, in a lot of issues, this anger is being channelised effectively to bring about systemic changes and reforms, but a lot of this anger is also simply spilling over the brim, turning us into generic aggrieved parties. Aggrieved about scams, aggrieved about crimes, aggrieved about system failure, aggrieved about lack of rights — like maniacs we shift our focus from one anger point to another, depending upon what topic the hyper aggressive TV debates or screaming headlines of the newspapers have chosen for you on that day.

You know how a lot of you loved watching Amitabh Bachchan as an angry young man in Deewar a few decades back? He brought forth a fresh wave of anger, which jolted a seemingly repressed society from its slumber. Now imagine having to watch the same, highly relatable, angry young man, over and over again in 30 films back to back. Zyada ho jayega nah? Jab Sunny Deol Gadar mein gussey se handpump ukhaadta hai, we all whistle and clap. If he starts to pull out handpumps in all films, our claps would go on
our foreheads. That’s what’s happening right now. Don’t go overboard in harbouring and fuelling so much stress and anger in yourself over every issue that you forget to look at small, happy things that also make up your life. Society toh chalti rahegi, but each one of us has finite number of years to live. By all means take up causes and fight for them with all the passion, but don’t forget that you owe it to yourself to consciously be a healthy blend of joyful and angry, not just the latter. Stress will anyway come on its own, happiness ko thoda dhoondna padta hai. Go look for yours today. It’ll be worth it.

Sonal Kalra feels strongly about gay rights. She also feels strongly about everyone’s right to be gay …and happy

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So your friend is gay? Big deal!

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It’s most humbling to receive hundreds of feedback mails for this column each week, and the nicest thing that’s common to most of them is when you say you liked it because you can ‘totally relate to it’. Well, some of you may not relate to what I’m going to write this week. But, that’s not stopping me from still taking up this topic because, who knows, a lot of you may just.

calmness-tips-for-homosexuals-gays-lesbians

Last week, I got two mails from two very different individuals, but with a thread of irony connecting them. One mail was from a young college student, Kabir, from Delhi. ‘I’m gay. I’ve totally accepted this reality of my life, though my family and friends don’t know yet, though I’m sure they suspect. Now, I want to tell my best friend. But, I don’t know how he’ll react. What if he starts avoiding me once I tell him? I don’t want to lose his friendship.”

The other mail, interestingly in a gap of just two days, was from 18-year-old Akshit in Lucknow. “I have a serious problem. I’ve come to know that my best friend is gay. He’s not yet told me, but I feel he soon will. I’m absolutely cool with it, but I don’t know what’s the right way to react when he tells me. I don’t want to lose his friendship.”

Now look at this! The first thought that came to my mind after reading these was how most of our life’s stresses are because we are caught up in mind-webs of our own. We spend more time imagining and worrying about others’ reactions than dealing with things when and if they actually happen.

Anyway, coming back to the subject. See, much to an acute embarrassment of my intellect, this column has not turned out to be a forum for serious, intelligent talk. In my own way, I try and tell you how to deal with small problems in life, with simple solutions. In this case, however, I don’t think there is a problem to begin with.

 [stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips for People With Unnatural Sexual Orientation [Homosexual, Gay, Lesbian][/stextbox]

Without sounding as if I’m trivialising the issue bogging Kabir, Akshit or several others, I just want to say that I’ve had enough of people categorising something as basic and private as sexual orientation — homo or hetero — as a problem. I would say there’s a ‘problem’ if you or your friend is a pervert, dishonest, cheat, thief, ill-mannered (a crime in my dictionary. Yours?). Different sexual preference? I’m sorry, but no ‘problem’ there, my friend. Still, if it is stressing you out, there have to be calmness tips. Here’s my advice for Akshit and all those to whom a friend, or a family member has confessed to be homosexual.

1 No drama, please:

I don’t know why we think it’s imperative to react to every bit of news. I’m not saying you act indifferent to what someone tells you, but there’s no need for a dramatic reaction to everything in life. If a friend tells you he or she is gay, do NOT say something like ‘Haww. How come?’ or ‘Are you sure?’ or the worst of the lot — ‘It’s okay. I still love you.’ If you use the word ‘still’ as if they’ve told you about some crime they’ve committed, I will beat you up. I mean it. C’mon, man. Somebody is sharing a very, very private part of their life with you. Don’t let the stupidity of your own beliefs come in the way of reacting sensibly. Just tell them you love them, and leave it at that. I still vividly remember an evening 12 years back when one of my close friends told me she’s homosexual. All I felt at that time was, ‘My god, she must trust me a lot to share this with me.’ And my only response to her was, ‘Thanks for telling me.’ It’s one of the few things I’m still proud of. Be sincere. Be honest. Be simple. No tamasha.

2 Don’t let it bother you:

Frankly, I don’t believe in beating the chest and saying, ‘I support the rights of gays and lesbians,’ because that just segregates them from other people, when they are no different. I don’t care if you attend marches or parades holding placards. If you really want to make a difference, do just one thing. Don’t treat them differently. That’s it. Hate a gay friend if he or she is a bad friend. Just like you would have hated a straight friend for the same reason. Love them as much, not more, as you would have loved any other good friend.

I honestly don’t think what anyone does behind closed bedroom doors should make a difference to your friendship with them, unless they are doing something to harm you. The thought of homosexuality creeps you out? Fair enough. Who’s asking you to like it? But how does that give you the right to be unreasonable or mocking towards someone who does? Don’t judge people for feelings they can’t control.

I fail to understand why our society, including our cinema, believes in mostly portraying gays as comic characters. At the same time, I fail to understand why a lot of homosexuals are sensitive about that, because that would only mean taking a joke seriously, when it’s not supposed to be. I have a lot of gay friends, just as I have plenty of straight friends. Some are funny, some are a real pain. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with their orientation. Base your friendship on what sort of a person they are… trustworthy, truthful, sincere. Not what gender turns them on, because that’s none of your business. The day you get that fact firmly in your head, you would be sorted in life. And it’s a good feeling.

3 This one is for Kabir or anyone who’s having a hard time coming out of the closet. Dekho yaar… you do know, more than anyone else that your sexuality is not an acquired fad. It’s the reality of how you feel. And there’s never a point trying to shun reality.

I once read a graffiti on a church wall in Europe. It was not in the context of homosexuality, but it said, “If it is not a choice, it is not a sin.” You get the point, don’t you? If your parents, friends or family see a flicker of shame in your eyes, they would go on a wrong reaction-path. When you’ve not done anything wrong, why torture yourself with thoughts that someone will leave you. If they indeed do, it’s their loss. But, that said, don’t forget that while you may have spent sleepless nights thinking and coming to terms with your alternative sexuality, it is unfair to expect an immediate positive reaction from those who you break the news to, as a surprise.

Your friends may have grown in households where the thought of homosexuality is taboo. We all have. But then, there used to be a time when things like contraception or abortion etc also used to be taboos. Times change. Mindsets change. But not overnight. Give them time, answer their queries, have patience. If they love you, they will come around. Sexuality is just a trivial part of life… don’t make it the cause of all your happiness or sadness in life.

And puhleez, don’t get into an overdrive of trying to understand the psyche of those who just can’t get their heads around homosexuality. The more you try to convince someone, the more it would seem as if your self-respect is dependant on that someone getting convinced. I’m sorry, but it.is.not. It’s OKAY if they don’t understand how you feel. Some things people are just not meant to get. Big deal.

Sonal Kalra thinks that gay parades only reinforce the notion that homosexuals are any different from the others. But, she totally loves the rainbow masks. What to do?