They say love is blind, that it knows no boundaries. But society is rather strange. It’s willing to accept certain kinds of love, only so long as it’s familiar with them. If an individual were even remotely different, society questions, even condemns that individual’s way of life. Society is quick to judge and label even before it’s understood what it’s judging and labelling. The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community knows this all too well.
Society tends to confine the idea of gender to biological sex, and romantic relationships to ‘straight’ male and female liaisons. It’s largely been unaccepting of anything that ‘strays from the norm’. Truth is, the masculine and the feminine are becoming increasingly fluid constructs, and we’re now an evolving multi-gender society, trying to understand the various shades of genders that live amongst us.
In an uplifting Ted Talk This is what LGBT Life is Like Around the World, San Francisco-based lesbian couple Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols share the happy instances of ‘coming out’ that they’ve documented from around the world. While the talk shows that individuals are increasingly comfortable disclosing their queer identities, it also shows that their loved ones find it hard to accept them as they are.
While some are still trying to grapple with the very notion of LGBTQ, many are already allies to the community’s cause. Contrary to what we might assume, there are many individuals, even families, who go above and beyond expectations to ally with their queer loved ones. Soulveda lists some of the happy stories of queer individuals who’re supported by their spouses, family and friends, be it in embodying their queer identities or embracing queer relationships.
A mother’s support
Harish Iyer is a well-known Mumbai-based social and LGBT rights activist. He’s made his story widely known; his initially angry and disappointed mother came around to not only accept but actively support her son’s gay orientation. The best part of this story is perhaps the fact that his mother placed a matrimonial advertisement in the newspapers for him, looking for a groom. “Seeking 25-40, well-placed, animal loving, vegetarian groom for my son (36, 5’11”) who works with an NGO; caste no bar (though Iyer preferred),” the advertisement said. Today, his mother stands by his side even as he participates in queer protests and movements.
The masculine and the feminine are becoming increasingly fluid constructs, and we’re now an evolving multi-gender society, trying to understand the various shades of genders that live amongst us.