The Choices We Make

“Why do you even talk to him? He’s gay!”, my friend’s shrill voice travels across to me from the other end of the classroom. Its lunch break and almost all the class has emptied out into the school playground. “I don’t make friends with people on the basis of their orientation or identity.”, I tell her, almost sternly. She doesn’t seem to be convinced, raises an eyebrow at me, and walks away.

Preconceived notions with regard to people and things that eventually lead to baseless discriminations abound in every corner of the world. Differentiating people on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation and identity is not a rarity in the times that we live in.

Being somebody who has always advocated equalism, I feel wounded by the indiscriminate, and almost rash ways in which people pigeonhole the minority sections of the society into specific and often, degrading categories. And mind you, the ones who do it aren’t those who hail from the so-called “rural, uneducated backgrounds and socio-economic contexts”. Some of the most educated, qualified and urban people have also been found to be extremely delusional about things.

I once met a Professor from a reputed university, and discoursed with him at a great length about matters of importance.

He spoke tremendously about poverty, unemployment, oppression of women and so on and forth.

“What do you think about the present condition of homosexuals?”, I asked him, after a while.

To this, he merely turned his face away and said: – “But it is not natural…and how can we favour something that goes against the laws of the nature?”

I remember coming back home really livid that day.

Who are we to decide what’s natural and what’s not?

Homosexuality, at the end of the day, contrary to popular beliefs, is not a “condition”.

It’s a natural and biological state of being. People can’t change or alter their sexual orientation because it’s a part of who they are, and it’s inherent.

I discussed this over a dinner-table conversation with my family as well.

“But the union of a man and a woman is irreplaceable.”, my mother remarked.

“Yes…and it doesn’t really look nice now, does it?”, my uncle said.

“Does what not look nice?”, I asked him back, shocked.

“I mean…two people of the same sex being together…That’s not how love is meant to be.”

“Who are we to decide what love is meant to be like? Haven’t we been told right from the beginning that love is universal? And how can something that is universal have an objective definition? Love has no barriers. None whatsoever. And I think the day we stop categorising love, we will stop putting labels on people as well.”, I retorted, and walked off into my room.

I was almost in tears that night.
I didn’t know homosexuality was such a battle.

And why something that was as natural as anything else was being made into an issue, was beyond my comprehension.

When one of my closest friends came out, a lot of people said they would “support” him through that “phase”.

“It’s not a psychological condition!”, he would shout out, in anger.
What we need to understand is that people can’t decide to be who they are. Our gender is not our choice.
Our identity is not our choice.

Our sexual orientation is not our choice.
– Written by Trivarna Hariharan (redefy school representatives team)