The LGBTQ+ refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and “+” indicates towards the rest of the sexualities. There are up to 46+ sexualities and the people of this community do not relate themselves being a cisgender or straight. The LGBTQ+ community has been fight over the past many years in order to get a representation for themselves and still continue to fight the structural norms of the society.
Till date many people are unaware about the meaning of LGBTQ+ and tend to believe that this is some sort of mental illness, which would eventually get better if the person is given the right treatment or care. Perhaps, that is absolutely false, the LGBTQ+ are just trying to safeguard themselves and protect their community by having the same equal rights as any other straight person would have, they want to tell it out to the world that it is not necessary to be someone who you are not.
In fact, they want to teach the rest of the world that their sexuality is not a mental illness it defies who they are and how they also deserve to be given the same equality and rights as the rest of the people.
Over the years I have seen that when a guy exhibits traits like being soft spoken or maybe not being as macho as the society expects him to be, he is called names like “chakka” or “gay”. As I was growing up I did not know the, meaning of the word gay, and it was always shown as though it is some sort of abnormality. But, as I started reading more about who and what is the LGBTQ+ community, I felt we are disrespecting a certain group of the society by making fun of who they are and who they ought to be.
Is this fair? Absolutely not! Why do we need to judge someone or pass comments on someone who does not exhibit the straight sexuality? Why do we need to ill treat them? At the end of the day, they are one of us itself. We all are a part of the same society then why is it difficult for them to achieve and exercise the same rights as us? Due to such toxicity of people, the LGBTO+ decided to fight back their own society and make everyone understand who they really are and why they aren’t wrong in order to exhibit their sexuality.
History of the LGBTQ+
In 1924, the first Gay Rights group was established, by a German immigrant Henry Gerber who also founded the Society of Human Rights in the United States. He was the first person along with the help of a few others to publish the first newsletter representing the gays called “Friendship and Freedom”. But, in 1925 the group was forced to break up after police raids as back then, they were seen as criminals who were disrespecting the law of nature.
For the next following years the gay movement stayed stagnated but now people started realizing that there were people who had different sexualities now. During the World War II, the Nazi’s would catch hold of the “homosexual men” in the concentration camps and badge them with the ‘pink triangle’ badge which was also used to exhibit sex predators.
In 1950, the first gay rights group was emerged after the establishment of Mattachine Foundation by Harry Hay. This was the foundation which coined the term homophile. The foundation began with a small group of people who improved the lives of gay men who were being given the recognition by discussions and related activities. Later, after the arrest of Dale Jennings people got more aware about the gay people. After his release, he formed another organisation which became U.S’s first pro- gay magazine called One Inc, where in it was written and published by women.
Soon Dale Jennings and Harry Hay were kicked out of their own organizations after having a communist ideology but the publication of the magazine still continued. The Mattachine Foundation members restructured the foundation and formed Mattachine Society wherein the country’s second gay publication. In the same year the Ladder, the first newsletter on lesbian was published by four lesbian couples in San Francisco. But, as there was success and changes being developed in the society, there was also a lot of lay back for these movements. For instance, in 1952, the American Psychology Association declared that homosexuality is a state of mental illness.
More About the 1960 and After Gay Movements
In 1960s the Gay movement started seeing progress. The infamous Stonewall Riots took place in 1969 wherein, the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village would allow large crowds of gay people and give a platform for Drag Queens (men dressing up and putting on make up to sometimes show feel like woman and give performances) to exhibit their talents and was a home for the homeless. On June 28, 1969 the police of New York raided this place and arrested many people from there. This led to a huge outbreak among the LGBTQ+ Community as now they were fed up of the brutality and harassment caused by these people in power.
There were protests and riots which took place for the next five days in demand for justice. Many groups and associations were formed in order to protest the discrimination faced by the gay. After a year, in 1970 the first Gay Pride Parade took place and the Pink triangle, which was earlier used as a symbol of sexual predators now became a symbol of the gay pride parade. By the 1970s people saw an increase in the activistism of LGBTQ+ which further made progress as well. The rainbow flag which represents the symbol of LGBTQ+ community was designed by Gilbert Baker which he revealed in 1978.
After many years of struggle the LGBTQ were given the recognition they deserved, many presidents of U.S also recognised this and it eventually led to the legalisation of same sex marriage as well. Today the government of U.S has provided the community with many equal rights and have given them the right to adopt and live together as well. But still we can see the people of the LGBTQ+ community struggling in their lives as there are still many people who do not believe in homosexuality
How has been the Struggle of LGBTQ+ in India?
As difficult it has been for the LGBTQ+ people to establish their sexuality and be accepted in the United States and other nations, it has equally been very challenging for the community to achieve their rights in India as well. On September 6th 2018, the Government of India passed the bill which was subjected to Section 377, was ruled out which in the 1861, during the British rule stated to be a criminal offense if there is “against order of nature” but this was later ruled out, but not completely by the supreme court. The supreme court approved of two adults of the same sex to have physical relation but the rest such as sex with minors, non- consensual sex act and bestiality is still in force.
It was suggested that the earlier section 377 was considered to be irrational, indefensible and manifest arbitrary. In spite of so much struggle many people from the community still face police brutality and harassment. There have been many cases where in people have beaten up a member belonging to the LGBTQ+ and has been tortured for not being “normal” as them. In India, it is and has been very difficult for not only the society to accept LGBTQ+ but also the members parent themselves. Many people still believe homosexuality to be a mental illness and there are also conversion therapies which take place.
What Role can School Play to Teach about LGBTQ+?
According to many reports and articles I came across that the individual or person struggles with their sexuality since a very young age like adolescence. These people prefer to hide their sexuality from their peers as they fear of being bullied or harassed. There have been many cases where in the person has had to hide or supress their sexuality due to this fear as such bullying is never stopped by the teacher and there are some teachers who themselves speak awfully about the community as well.
I believe that each school or an educational institution should add up a curriculum of teaching their students about the LGBTQ+ community and it should not be taught by a person who is himself/ herself a homophobic. These institutions must either have someone from the LGBTQ+ community themselves who addresses and talks about what exactly is LGBTQ+ and talk why is it not okay to harass or bully someone the way they are done.
It has been said that a child gains both their primary and secondary knowledge from their school life, but how is a person supposed to grow under the fear of bullying and harassment. I am aware of the fact that we cannot expect someone to change overnight, but the least a person can do is by stop being negative towards the minority. It is okay if you need time to accept someone’s sexuality and the way they carry themselves, but it is not okay to bully or harass that person both mentally as well as physically.
Importance of Primary Education in LGBTQ+
As primary education plays a very important role in a child’s life and helps in development, seeking the right knowledge and learning about various current situations also plays a significant role as well. Schools and colleges should make sure to deliver the right information to their students instead of forcing negative ideologies towards another person or community.
Incidents where in, the person of the LGBTQ+ faces bullying and harassment suggest that how important sex education is also important in our country. I have seen so many posts and tweets over social media where in people have abused and sent out rape threats to a person belonging or identifying themselves as gay or lesbian or transgender or any other sexuality other than straight.
Just by passing the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, does not mean we are protecting the LGBTQ+ community rather we need to educate people more about it and teach the coming generations about not following the same path of bullying and harassment the way the older and some of the people of the current generation are practicing.
Everyone has the right to love and be loved by someone of their choice, we are no one to stop them. And as this year’s Pride Parade theme suggests #StillWe, it needs to be told louder till the LGBTQ+ community feels safe in their own nation.