I have a confession to make. I am a former homophobic. Being born and raised in India in a conservative family, homosexuality was a concept that I learned in theory - and quite late in the day at that. Considering the concept purely theoretical, I never really worried about it. That is until I stepped into the United States. Public affection, open talk, gay, lesbian, bisexuals - I was exposed - full on - to a world and a reality that most Indians prefer to sweep under the carpet. Being a straight guy, I had no qualms with two women kissing, but the idea of two men kissing - Eeeeww!! Well - it still makes me avert.
And for the first time in my life - I was biased against something without rationality. The reality of watching two same sex people make out in public was too much for me to digest - and I labeled all homosexuals - 'Weird'. It was one of the rarer occasions when I had decided to circumvent than confront.
There is a lovely tradition at Utah State University. On a pedestal in front of the main campus building - couples gather every once in a while - and under a full moon kiss each other to be pronounced 'Aggies' - or certified - Utah State material. It was here that I actually saw two guys kiss through out the entire length - in part because the whole crowd was cheering madly and in part because I was intrigued. I let go of the weirdness for a moment and tried to analyze what I was seeing - and well - I have to admit - there was no doubt and no mistake - this was a genuine, passionate kiss. And - I - for the life of me - could not understand - 'How can the same sex - evoke such strong and true emotions???' And so I decided to turn around and confront my beliefs.
I became friends with a girl who was openly lesbian. And slowly but surely, I started to dismantle my prejudice asking - what I am sure must have felt like - childish questions. What I learned completely changed my attitude. Other than the fact that they are attracted to the same sex, in every other way - these people were exactly the same. They were equally crazy and vulnerable in love. A break up hurt just as much if not more. They fought over the same issues - They hated Bush. Yep! They were perfectly normal people!! And I have to admit, I felt quite stupid for being so pig-headed about the whole issue.
The flash point for me, however, came when my friend missed work for a few days - I asked around and found out - that her partner was in an accident and that she had been working different hours. Shortly after, I went to see her. She was torn in concern and sheared by stress. Having to take care of her partner and keep up with daily duties, she was exhausted - every single day. And thats when I truly understood the real deal. That love TRULY - does not accept nor abides by any rules. Oh! And it is a beaaautiful thing. The world would be a poorer place if the nature of love was any different.
When we got to talking, she showed me a bunch of hate mail that she had been receiving since she spoke at a Gay/Lesbian function. I read the mail - This guy hated her!! I mean - plain and simple - hated her!! This guy - had probably never met her - or talked to her - and here he was - hating her!! I felt like asking this guy a few abrupt questions - "Do you even know this girl?? How can you hate her??? She is the sweetest thing I have ever met. How can anyone hate her???" And I felt so uncontrollably mad with anger that I totally forgot for a second - that may be a year back - I wouldn't have seen anything wrong with this guy's letter. The realization ashamed me.
And so I decided to write. If anyone reading this article hates homosexuals - or thinks they are weird. Folks please! I completely respect your opinion. But do me a favor - take the time to understand the other point of view - and then decide - if you still hold to your opinion - well thats your choice (And you are a pig - by the way )
They love the same - they care the same - their interpretations and expectations of loyalty are the same - they can lust for a body just as much - they are different only in the way the rest of the world treats them.
There is something to be said about the tendency of human behavior to acquire prejudices when confronted against the norm. Too often than not I have found the core debate over opinions shrouded by religious beliefs and unsubstantiated dogma. Too often have I found people forgetting our very origins. Man evolved through dwelling the caves - and we came out and discovered fire - we invented the wheel and learnt to move - we deciphered the weather and mastered agriculture. In deed Man's existence and definition are inseparably tied to Scientific progress.
Science evolved out of necessity. And religion evolved as a means to control. A tool for common harmony - so that Science can move forward without hinder. Too often have we come to block Science by holding on to religion. Homosexuality when looked at - from a pure scientific view - is as normal as a child being left handed - it is observed in tons of animals other than humans.
In the last century - we have split the atom and spliced the gene. Surely we can come up enough reasoning to understand and embrace homosexuality. Aand sooner rather than later - learn to live in our planet in consideration of all that lives.
I have observed - laws of nature have a reason of their own. It is not our place to deem wrong - what we do not yet understand. No great person ever invented true discoveries on the arrogant pretense that we understand Nature completely. So let us not forget our fundamentals. And if we can not sufficiently qualify to define nature/love - we are certainly not qualified to ill-define it.
So heres an apology and a toast to all homosexuals. May you find it in your hearts to forgive and may you continue spread love - for now more than ever - we all need it. ROCK ON!!
P:S:: Forgive any generalizations folks!! I was just driving home a point.
(cc Creative common license - Sanket Korgaonkar 2009 - All rights reserved)