Why India was taught to be homophobic?

Saradha Natarajan

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It was not very long ago that India decriminalized Article 377. India, a country that has enough proofs and numerous Hindu mythological stories that establishes the existence of Homosexual relationships in ancient times failed to enrich LGBTQ in their culture and tradition.
I was never taught that homosexuality is natural and it is as ‘normal’ as a straight person. When I was young, I was scared and distanced myself from the LGBTQ community until I decided to look into it from their perspective. When I understood everything about sexuality and gender identity, it was not too late to change my opinion. I asked everyone around me why the world was so bitter and acted homophobic? I was mistaken to be ‘one of them’ as I wanted to support the community as an ally. However, it did not stop me from understanding and learning more on the community.
I realized that my education system failed to teach me the real world and the real people. Instead of telling me everything is ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ I was forced to know algebra and calculus and memorise the periodic table. But we cannot be entirely blame the education system, the society had a major role to play in it. It made me think What’s wrong in telling your daughter to play exclusively with power ranger figurines and race cars and tell your sons to dress up in cute skirts and play with her barbies is normal.
The utopia of heteronormative is so instilled and imprinted in the Indian minds, that make the think that homosexuality is a ‘sin’. A study stated that one of the major factors that results in the stigmatization of LGBTQ in India is parental reaction towards homosexuality. Families that accept their identities put many restrictions in the way they choose to dress and interact with their partners. The study goes on to conclude that most LGBT are acceptable to family only if they agree to behave like heterosexuals.
If a child as young as 13 can understand reproduction and memorise organic chemistry, it is time for them to also know that homosexuality exist and it is possible for women to love women and men to love men and also understand that anybody can dress and act the way they want to. But today, we cannot blame the education system as it has been internalized with their syllabus to learn about the sexuality and gender identity. Therefore, now the only question is, will it change in the coming years?

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