My heart goes out to all the victims of the shooting and hostage situation that took place at a Florida nightclub — which describes itself as “Orlando’s hottest gay bar” — left an estimated 50 people dead, including the gunman and more than 50 injured, officials say. While there are many families and individuals who are left grief stricken and enraged by such a horrendous and disturbing incident, there are many people in the society who still find homosexuality difficult to accept which is why I decided to pen down a small article on some of the misconceptions we have about gays.
One of the most common misconception is that same sex attraction is a recent development with the coming of modern society. But history offers to say something else. There is a wealth of material from ancient Greece related to issues of sexuality, ranging from dialogues of Plato, such as the Symposium, to plays by Aristophanes, and Greek artwork and vases. For example, in parts of Ionia there were general strictures against same-sex men, while in Elis and Boiotia (e.g., Thebes), it was approved of and even celebrated. in ancient Rome, free Roman men almost always had younger male lovers but with the coming of Christianity, homosexuality was deemed illegal.
In Ancient Egypt and across centuries in Polynesia; in Ancient China and Japan; among natives in the Americas, including the Mayans and Aztecs; in Northern Italy during the Renaissance; across centuries of history in the Middle East, from ancient Mesopotamia to Persia and up until the 18th century, homosexual sex has been either tolerated, accepted, expected or celebrated.
There is another common misconception that all gay men are feminine. Of course not! Men will look and behave like men. How can men turn feminine just because they choose a same sex partner? They believe that most gay men and women actually reject gender roles and form a relationship built on equality and respect.
Many homosexuals have become a subject of joke and ridicule in movies. I would not know much about movies but for few Bollywood movies that I have seen, I came across such poor jokes on homosexuals and they are always the center of comedy in any movie. It is sad to see that people who are just like us as ridiculed on screen just because they are homosexual. Homosexuality is still not accepted in most parts of India.
While there are many out there who still treat homosexuality as a serious disease or mental illness, it is clearly a choice that any individual can make. The problem is that every society puts up few checkboxes and every individual needs to fit into one checkbox at least. If we don’t, then we are seen different or mentally ill according to them. Every individual has the right to make his own choices and live a life on his own terms rather than the terms of the society. Many of us would even look at them differently or chose to stay away from them just because they are gay.
Yes, they are gay but they are humans too. They too have families like us who are grieving for their sons and daughters who have been shot or missing due to the recent incident in Florida. Let’s all observe a moment of silence and pray for their souls and those who are missing, that they be reunited with their families.