The taboo of homosexuality



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Homosexuality is an issue which still raises a lot of eyebrows in our society. Despite annual gay parades and the judiciary’s move to decriminalize gay/lesbian sex, the word still evokes strong response from the society.

Very recently our Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, described it as a disease which was “unnatural” and spreading fast in the society. (The minister later retracted in face of severe criticism.)

Well, to the extent of calling homosexuality as unnatural, I would agree with the minister. Men were never supposed to have sex with men (or for that matter, woman having sex with another woman) – the structure of our body and incapability of two men (or women) to reproduce is ample proof of that.

But, this is where I stop agreeing with our minister (and everyone else who seeks to dub homosexuals as criminals).

Well, if anyone is responsible for the “birth” of gay men and lesbian women in our society, it is no one else but the society itself.

Sex is still a taboo in our society, despite our country having the fastest rate of growth of population. Everyone here loves to have sex, but no one wants to talk about it. Even experts agree our failure to discuss the issue openly is the root cause of many problems linked to sexual behaviour – whether it is the spread of AIDS/HIV or homosexuality or sex related crimes.

Even Azad agrees that our failure to impart sex education, especially to growing up teens, has fuelled the “epidemic of homosexuality”.

Why do some men and women become homosexuals? The reasons could be many: lack of love from near and dear ones, fear of the opposite sex, ease of opportunity to explore sexuality etc.

From the legal point of view as well, homosexuals now have protection. About two years back, the Delhi High Court had watered down the provisions of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing homosexuality. The Section now applies to only sex involving minors and coercive sex.

Like other freedoms granted to citizens by the Constitution of India, I believe no one has the right to tell an adult man or woman with whom he/she should have sex, if it is with consent.

To Mr Azad: Instead of cribbing about the surge in homosexual behaviour in our society, the Health Minister would do good by ensuring sex education is imparted right from the school level, so that children are “empowered” from an early age to make an informed, “natural” decision.