More often than not, the writer is judged in the first few sentences of his article. I am not afraid of being judged. Yet, I intend to write a disclaimer. The real reason I am a writer is to invoke a reader’s genuine thoughts’ on any matter and to make them question. And I do not wish that invoked feeling to be hampered by a quick judgment made on me.
A Disclaimer – I am very inclusive by nature. I go by the policy – Live and Let Live. I have an opinion on everything and I reason pretty much every change that unfolds in society. The number 377 rings an instant bell in almost every Indian. Debates, arguments and opinions have flooded the online and media space about it. Harsh words have been spewed on Indian mentality and progress. One word that has stuck in every pro-gay supporter is the word ‘Consensual’. I am re-visiting this topic keeping that word as my basis.
Consensual means two parties agreeing and having a mutual understanding. Else, it amounts to rape. Is homosexuality or being transgender wrong? Are people not entitled to their choice of companionship? If two “consenting” adults of the same gender wish to be together then why not? Allow people to be who they are, says everyone who advocates homosexuality. Several justifications have been put forward to make homosexuality acceptable. But does anything consensual make the activity/event acceptable? Three major pillars stand strong when assessing this personal choice of homosexuality – Nature, Religion and Society.
“For a society to be truly progressive, we need to embrace everyone as “one”, not categorise people into first and second citizens base don their sex, caste, religion, sexual oruentation, or gender identity”. ~ Celina Jaitly. Actor and Gay Rights Activist.
We humans have a tendency to use/abuse nature and its functioning and yet seek solace as per our whims. And the GLBT (Gays Lesbians Bisexual Transgender) community in India has not been spared teh harshside of this erratic behaviour at tehhand sof the givernment machinery.And so the debate goes on – Homosexuality is prevalent in over 500 known species in nature, so it is not against the order of nature. If the animals can, why can’t we? Yes, it is indeed true that homosexuality exists in nature and so do bi-sexuality and many other forms of sexual engagement. What is interesting is that, it is also observed that when the population of a particular species is on the rise and there is a threat to food and habitat, the group engages in homosexual behavior until a balance is set.
How will an NDA government at the Center impact the LGBT rights’ movement in India? http://t.co/Rs4bHeucOg
— MINGLE (@mingleindia) May 16, 2014
The choice or natural instinct of sexual engagement in the animal kingdom is not based on moral obligations and beliefs. They only function based on the lowest level of Maslow’s theory of hierarchy; i.e., physiological needs and a handful of species demonstrate higher needs, i.e. of love and belonging. Would it not be rather absurd to draw parallels to this and equate the domesticated, articulate and thinking human to primitive animal’s existence in nature?
— Noel Dolan (@cybernoelie) May 16, 2014
Religion is one of the strongest foundations of society. The motive and purpose behind it can be debated at length, but it does not alter the fact. It exists and is deeply rooted in the very belief system of every non-atheist and non-agnostic human being. The degree to which one lets religion control their personal sexual life is varied. From the possibility of facing criticism to becoming a social outcast among family, neighbors and friends are high, if indulged in non-traditional practices.
There are several references to abstain from homosexuality in many religions. God’s desire of how man should live takes prime importance over the desire of man. The fear of sin and punishment end up altering the true sexual behavior of man in all its glory.
Sodomy is unacceptable by most religions. I speak of religion here as an organized set of beliefs and not whether a supreme power or energy exists and governs the universe. That would be another line of thought altogether. Also, religion and history tend to be confused with each other or sometimes assumed as same. Many people think that since historical sites around the world and in particularly India, depict homosexuality in various artistic forms like books, paintings and sculptures, it is alright to practice it and somehow make it synonymous with culture and religion. Is it right to do that?
Morals are those spoken and unspoken words that bind the well being of groups of people in a society. Morals are always debatable and questionable. What is accepted by some is easily rejected by others.
If homosexuality is to be allowed based on the premise that consenting adults are involved, then should every consenting act between adults be allowed? If a consenting male from one marriage wants to be with a consenting female from another marriage, should the society embrace it? Even if the better halves agree? Also, if two consenting adults who are cousins or brother and sister want to be in a relationship, should society embrace it? Two consenting adults, say a young student and an old teacher want to be in an open relationship, should society embrace it? If two consenting adults want to eat each other’s flesh, should society embrace it? The questions can go on.
The Moral Dilemma of The Word ‘Consensual’
I know so many of the above mentioned ‘relationships’ do exist in our society and happens behind closed doors or under cover just like homosexuality. They are all openly shunned for lack of moral values in its binding. So, does consensual mean acceptance? Does this imply that over the years from now, many more permutations and combination of relationships will come to be accepted slowly – on the belief that a man has his complete freedom to practice sexual engagement/fetish of his choice, even if it is consensual? Where does it end? Or does it need to end somewhere at all?
By Asha Dwarak
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