– G. Radha, I year, B.Com & Divya Mahesh, II Year, B.Sc Mathematics
We live in a time in which the world is rapidly growing, developing and reaching. Reaching milestones, reaching new heights, reaching out. And it is us doing the reaching.
It is easy to say, “The world did this, the world did that,” and it is easy to forget that the world we speak of is us. Us, the tragically, beautifully broken human race.
I call us a tragedy and a thing of beauty because as we reach out, we often forget to reach inside. For kindness, compassion and love. But again, here we find the paradox of humanity at its finest. We reach out because of kindness, compassion and love.
Remember this, it will come up later.
As the world grows, our ideas and views grow with it. (At the very least, they should.)
For now, let’s discuss the evolution of ideas regarding what ‘normal’ is.
The world is something that shows conformity and sets standards. This is all well and good until it is applied to gender and sexuality. There are people who do not fit society’s expectations of ‘normal’ with regard to the people they fall in love with or the bodies they were born with. These people are wrongly shunned and cast aside. Because they are not ‘Normal’.
Yes. They are not ‘Normal’. They are Human.
And the human race surpasses all standards. I believe that our trademark, what sets us apart as ‘humans’ is our ability to meet any standard and to then go beyond it.
Normal is not a word that is applicable to us. As famously said, “Normal is a setting on the washing machine.”
There are people who are in love with people of the same gender, there are people who don’t belong to the gender binary, there are people who are both, there are People. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~Nelson Mandela.”
Who are we to say that we are free if we deny people the right, the terribly beautiful right, to love?
The LGBTQA+ community is not our shame, it is a part of Humanity and is, thus, a part of us. People are learning, understanding and growing – they’re accepting that they can’t impose their ideas of love or gender onto other people, as they’re welcoming people who were once cast away. It is however, still a work-in-progress, as hate is frustratingly prevalent.
Take for example, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Passed in the year 1860 by the then-British rule, it criminalised same-sex relationships, effectively condemning people for something that they couldn’t change. Even though Article 21, which supposedly gave the right of privacy to all citizens, was passed in the year 1949, homosexuality was still considered a punishable offence. Fortunately in June of 2009, the High Court decriminalised Section 377, giving people the right to love whomsoever they chose.
This good decision was overturned by the Supreme Court in the month of December, 2013, and said that the matter should be left to the Parliament. To date, LGBTQA+ activists have been protesting against this decision. On the 24th of August, 2017, the nine-judge bench of the SC ripped apart the previous judgement, stating that even if the LGBTQA+ community was a minority, their fundamental personal rights, especially their right to privacy, could not be denied.
However, Section 377 has not been decriminalised yet, and the judgement is left to a five-Judge bench which looks at the curative petition. If it is decriminalised, the nation as a whole takes a step forward as it returns the freedom of the LGBTQA+ community in our country, to themselves. But in the end, it comes down to whether we, the people, will be welcoming or not. Because even if Section 377 is decriminalised, it will amount to nothing if we are reluctant to accept everyone. If we are reluctant to treat everyone equally.
If we are reluctant to reach out.
Do you remember what I asked you not to forget? Reaching out is sometimes paradoxical to reaching within. The resolution to this paradox is, reaching out after reaching in and doing both in the interests of kindness and compassion. That is, after all, what is humane. (definition: adjective: having or showing compassion or benevolence.)
We are none of us ‘normal’. Each of us is a walking, talking story and culture in ourselves and we are all different.
What we do share in common is the ability to love and to find beauty and hope in the darkest of all times. We share a faith that we can be better and do better and live to the best of our respective abilities.
Because, in the end, the only normal thing about humanity?
“To be human is to love
Even when it gets too much
I’m not ready to give up
To be human is to love
Even when it gets too much
I’m not ready to give up”