December 30th, 2016
As part of Samvidhan Live project I choose my friend, who dislikes homosexual people. I wanted to chat with her and understand her point of view and why she feels this way. I wanted to know if I could convince her to change her ideas and perception.
My friend met a couple of homosexual people in college. She heard that they were gay from others. During pep talks and other interactive sessions, they used to sit next to her. My friend felt uncomfortable when they would touch her by accident or even when they just sat next to her. She could not see them apart from their identity of being gay, information which was all hearsay. So she cut all contact and interaction with them. She told me once that just looking at them made her angry. I wanted to change this. Not once did she ask these people directly and try to get clarification. She just formed her opinion from what she heard from someone else.
I asked her, “How can you hate an entire community based on your experience seeing 2-3 people? As a woman, would you be ok if a man who didn’t like lesbians hated all women? Wouldn’t you feel upset that someone who hasn’t met you hates you because of his dislike for lesbians?”
She admitted to me that she didn’t have any idea of how gay men behaved, but she based her entire opinion on what her friends told her, that gay men behaved and spoke very girly.
My friend did not think about how we need to treat everyone equally. And that this approach was important if we had to understand their opinions and points of view. She told me that she thought that they are bad and she does not want to be friends with them or even talk to them.
I further said to her, “If you don’t like something they have said or done in your presence, you should voice your concerns to them directly. They will then know what you like and don’t like and behave appropriately. Being angry with them and deciding to cut all contact is wrong. What if we were in the same situation? How would you feel if I didn’t like something you said and instead of talking to you, I just cut ties and walked away?
I have been working with the gay community for 1.5 years, and all my experiences have been pleasant. They are just like us; the only difference is their identity. We made segregation through gender and sexual identity a social norm. Hating someone just because they are different from us is wrong.”
After this conversation, my friend understood my point of view. After some thought, she said that she was ready to interact with my gay friends and learn from them and that she would make an effort to be more honest and open with them. She could easily converse with my friends later on.
We need to remove hate, prejudice and judgement from our minds. All of us are different and unique. And we need to celebrate this diversity.
Shared by – Sayantani ,she is one of the Jagriks from the organization Prantakatha , which is a part of Samvidhan – The Jagrik Project
About Samvidhan LIVE – The Jagrik Project