The freedom to love

Aakriti Joanna

Published on

“The mother, now more certain of the stance is convinced that her daughter, more than being abnormal in her orientation, is also a criminal.”

A 21-year-old from Kolkata. Susan. She shared a good relationship with her parents, especially her mother. They spoke about everything, that they agreed or disagreed on. And one thing they constantly disagreed was on homosexuality. You see, she was from a very orthodox Christian family, who had traditional beliefs.

Her mother had recently read books on Psychology, all of which spoke about how being homosexual was ‘abnormal’. Susan didn’t want to lose the relationship that she had with her parents and so didn’t come out to them directly. Her mother had a few doubts, and took her to a psychologist to get her “cured”. The psychologist spoke to her and reassured her that she was normal, and that her mother was the ‘patient’. Her mother was temporarily satisfied, until she was taken to another psychologist. Contrary to what the first psychologist stated, this psychologist was against her, rude and demanded for Susan to come in with her girlfriend to talk about their sex life.

Susan felt her relationship with her family slowly slip away. It was distorted. She felt horrible and sad about it, but there was nothing she could do about it. The few months that followed, there were fights at home. Her brother was called to ask if he knew about his sister’s orientation. Her father thought it was an act of rebellion. There were constant quarrelling and a struggle for identity with the people she loved.

Susan is 24 now and she does not bring up the topic anymore at home; she doesn’t feel it is worth discussing.

This is only the story of one. One out of a million. This is a story of identity and approval. We are born with an identity that keeps taking shape as we grow and an integral part of this identity being formed, is being accepted. The feeling of rejection, self-doubt, not knowing if you can be yourself and the people that matter to you will be okay with it, the constant impermanence of trust and the blurred frustration. It can be anyone of us; it has been all of us.

After the ruling against the LGBT under Section 377, life has been a game of hide and seek every day.

We are humans first. Humans where orientation, weight, skin tone and caste shouldn’t define us. In a country where freedom was fought for with blood and love, why are we holding back?