Thursday, April 19, 2018

Queer, gaining acceptance

In school, when I used to hear the word 'queer', I understood it as 'strange", as in 'queer phenomena'. Also there is a phrase, 'queer someone's pitch' meaning, 'to spoil someone's plan'.

But over the last many years, 'queer' has come to mean a person who is homosexual: an umbrella term that refers to people of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, whose sexual or gender identity does not conform to the established norms.

Most of the dictionaries, including Oxford and Collins, qualifies the meaning as informal and even offensive, when it refers to homosexual men. But the word is very much in the mainstream language, and I can see websites dedicated to homosexual content using this word.

Anyway, neither the word nor homosexuality is literally queer, meaning strange. While many people, men and women, have openly declared their sexual preferences, a debate also has raged on social and religious rights and wrong about such preferences.

Section 377 in India

Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon. It's been there for ages. But it was a taboo to talk about it. So such people, preferred rather not to reveal their gender choice, rather than face social isolation or even banishment. While many countries have passed laws making gay marriage legal, there are also countries where it's still a criminal offence.

A couple of days ago, British Prime Minister Theresa May apologised for criminalising gay relationship in Commonwealth nations.

In India, though there has been a lot more acceptance of homosexuality, many are still in the closet. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a legacy of colonial British laws, has been a contentious issue. It is still being debated in the courts.

Social evolution

The British PM's apology, and the Supreme Court decision have given hopes to the large community that finally they can be themselves, openly.

Socially, anything that is non-conformist, can lead to tension within that group of people. So the debate and conflict of views is only understandable.

Many social codes that are so common and acceptable today, were once upon a time, a taboo. So what we are seeing is part of the ongoing social evolution. Nothing is the same forever.

Let each of us be what we are, and allow others to be what they are. Live and let live, as the common adage goes.

(This post is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2018.")

16 comments:

  1. Live and let live is a great tenet to live by.

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  2. I agree with you "live and let live". What they do in private is their business. However, many LGBT community people (here in USA) flaunt their sexual preference publicly with wearing t-shirts with words like "Kiss me. I am gay". Also having gay pride parade.

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    1. ]I have heard about the public display you referred to. So much so that one of my friends in the US said, if I come there and see these parades I will change my views.

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  3. Totally agree live and let live should be the policy. If it does not harm others then it should not be our botheration.

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  4. I think harassment or discrimination due to someone's sexual orientation or gender identity should stop completely! It's high time now!

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  5. I hope the time comes when we can all celebrate the things we have in common rather than focus on what makes us different!

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  6. I remember when queer was a slur. But much like that n-word, the community has adopted it and made it their own. It's been a long road for the LGBT community, and there's still a ways to go.

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    1. Thanks, Liz for dropping by and for your comment.

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  7. We have society with people having all types sexual orientation, but it is strange we are moving backwards. We were more tolerant and accepting before!

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    1. Thanks, Shesha, for your comment.
      I think today we are getting to hear and read more of them, because of social media and various other options people have.
      Surely, our tolerance and acceptance levels have not increased to the extent one would have thought it would.

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  8. Queer folks, myself included, are definitely taking back the term from the bigots that have used it in the past to make us feel wrong or strange or 'other.' I hope that "live and let live" tolerance eventually grows into acceptance and understanding and that Section 377 is taken out of Indian law soon!

    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Writing Dragons

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Weigt.
      Section 377 has been read down by the India's Supreme Court. Gay sex is no longer a crime in India. That was one of the major court verdicts in September.
      https://bpradeepnair.blogspot.com/2018/09/three-historic-supreme-court-judgements.html

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