Should law dictate acceptance?

Decriminalising homosexuality does little to make my father accept a woman I might one day fall in love with.

Published: 08th September 2018 03:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2018 03:42 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: A historic verdict and victory may sound all too fantastic, but it does little to persuade me to put my real name at the end of this opinion piece. As unprecedented as the judgement might be, there is little change it brings to my life or lifestyle as a bisexual woman. Far more than the tenets of the Indian Constitution and provisions of the law, it is the allowance of preconceptions and prejudice that influences acceptance and rejection alike. Decriminalising homosexuality does little to make my father accept a woman I might one day fall in love with.

He might not accept any man I bring home either, but that is for entirely different reasons. My teenage nephew, who has been giving out some ‘vague gay vibes’ for a few years now, would still not be allowed to explore his sexuality outside of heterosexual norms. And there is nothing to stop a landlord from telling me that I can only entertain the holy trinity —  my mother, father, and husband — in the space that he rents out.

In an ideal world, no one would question my sexual orientation and attraction towards the same sex, and it would neither be seen as something exotic and kinky, and nor as a sin or an aberration. I would not have to wear the disguise of a sexless spinster amid highly inquisitive aunties of the extended family. Most of all, a court of law would have no place in deciding what consenting adults do with their bodies. Then again, that is my kind of ideal.

The Chennai I have lived in for the entirety of my short life might not see it as the ideal. While a section of the population might be jubilant over Supreme Court’s progressive reforms, the far more common response I see is indifference. People are happy letting you be as long it does not upset their carefully constructed world and honestly, who can blame them? A law might not necessarily mean acceptance; on the other hand, should a law dictate acceptance? Besides, when has lack of acceptance ever stopped anyone?
Valerie (27), of sound mind and slightly loud politics

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