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A Community Born from History| Aditya Raj




A Community Born from History

At a touch of love, everyone becomes a poet, Plato stated this as a characteristic of love and this has been an important part of creation and expression throughout ages. Nature as a creator has never failed to amaze us and will keep on doing so till the end of time but humans, aren't ready for change as staying constant, stuck to prenominal rituals and customs is easy but adapting to change requires a lot of effort. Let alone adaptation even the concept of acceptance seems alien to us. The world is used to the binary existence of typically two sexes, mainly a male and a female. The relationship between the two is seen as sacred throughout the age and that remains to stay so. Irrespective of the fact that they have played a key role in the spread of the human species and they are in majority throughout the world, the existence of the other human species in relation to a different sex and sexual preference cannot be neglected. The community of minorities based on gender orientation is called the LGBTQI+ and the people who are a part of this have been subject to prejudices deep-rooted in beliefs and traditions about sexuality and gender and for a very long period they have been denied their rights as a normal citizen of the country. A range of negative feelings or fear towards homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is called Homophobia. How hard is it to understand the fact that whatever you do not understand does not need violent treatment?



Mythological References:


In the Indian subcontinent, a lot of focus is put upon our Vedas and Puranas and they are considered the greatest source of knowledge. The mythology we read have themes of deities and heroes whose behavior or attributes can be related to non-heterosexual sexuality or gender variance. The Traditional Hindu literary sources like the Ramayana or the Mahabharata do not directly talk about homosexuality but elements like the change of sex, homoerotic encounters, and intersex characters are found in them as well as our regional folklores. In the Hindu epics, there are many occasions where deities change their gender, manifesting as different genders at different times and combining to form androgynous beings. Gods can even change sex as an Avatar. non-divine beings also undergo sex-changes because of curse of blessing or as the natural outcome of reincarnation. A minor character from the Hindu Epic Mahabharata named Aravan who was the son of the Pandava prince Arjuna is the patron god for the transgender community Thirunangai. According to the Tamil version of Mahabharata the god Krishna, who is an incarnation of Vishnu took the form of Mohini and married Aravan to give him the chance to have the experience of love before his death, as he had volunteered to be sacrificed. Krishna remained in the Mohini form to mourn the death of Aravan for some time and this is commemorated annually in a rite known as 'Thali' during which the patrons take on the role of Krishna-Mohini and marry Aravan in a mass wedding, followed by an 18-day festival. It ends with a ritual burial of the prince, while the people of the community mourn the death by beating their chests in ritual dances and breaking their bangles, and changing into white mourning clothes. Even after such deep connections with what is known as the Holy text throughout the country these people have been given inhuman treatment and haven't been facilitated with the bare minimum.



The struggle of Identity:


In modern times if we do not consider the mythological themes indicating towards the acceptance of LGBT+ then according to the new books and government a proper definition for the community is devised where it has emphasized the diversity of sexuality and gender-based culture. It is sometimes used to refer to any person who does not belong to the heterosexual or cisgender and it refers to a person who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or the newly added inclusion termed as queer. In the term LGBTQ, the term Q stands for Queers who are questioning their sexual identity. The inclusion was first recorded in 1996. The commonly used non-derogatory term for pride community was 'Third gender' which has been used since 1860 but it did not have wide acceptance. The widely used term Homosexual carried a negative connotation and was replaced by Homophile and then to Gay in the 1970s. Soon after when women forged more public identities, the term 'gay and lesbian' was coined. A drastic change in perception happened after the Stonewall riots and the bisexual and transgender people were marginalized within the community. They were considered to be simply gay or lesbian people who were afraid to come out and be honest about their identity.


The struggle hasn't seized to exist yet. The people of the community still face various issues in society be it related to acceptance of the gender or being given equal opportunities for education, occupation, or social life. Family abandons their children and they have to live on the streets. Being homeless at such a young age makes them prone to a lot of other issues. Mental and psychological issues are an indispensable part of it but living off on your own raises the issue of money and the struggle to find a shelter. No one takes a stand for their welfare and the people of this minority community have been given a lot of derogatory names, particularly in India the term 'Hijra' is the most commonly used. In ancient times there were more than 50 words for non-heterosexual gender in Tamil like Pedi, Pandaka and their references have been traced in the Veda, Dharma-Shastra as well as in the Jain agamas. In some countries, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by fines, imprisonment, life imprisonment, and even the death penalty. Even in the Muslim religion, the Quran, which is considered as their holy book, has clearly stated that there is no tolerance for people who are indulged in homosexual activities and whosoever indulges in a same-sex relationship is sure to be doomed. Buddhists and Jains spoke extensively about the kind of bodies and attractions as they had to filter out queer people from monasteries. According to them, relationships be it homosexual or heterosexual are an obstacle to the spiritual path. Most LGBTQ+ elders do not avail themselves of services on which other seniors thrive be it social services, housing, or health care. Many retreat back into the closet, reinforcing isolation. Many LGBT+ elders experience social isolation and ageism within the community itself. These issues, often compounded by racism and other kinds of discrimination, demand the attention of policymakers, service providers, and activists working on behalf of, and with, the elderly. Homosexuals have always existed in the world of the divine but the manmade society has chosen to suppress them and gagged them by laws such as 377. After the decriminalization of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, many people have come out of their shells and recognized themselves with their irrespective gender.



Forward Marching:


Amidst the fact that rights and equality have to be provided to everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation, special attention needs to be given to people from the minority community because they have been denied their basic rights whether it be related to education, job, or social and legal justice. Teachers and parents play a very important role here because they are the ones who would have the responsibility to shape the young minds here. The kids will see the world as they are shown by their elders and since we are in the digital era so even the content that we are being fed by the online video streaming platforms play a great role in shaping our thoughts and mindset, so proper scrutiny of the content to see whether the video is appropriate or not should be done. Society in general needs to be more accepting of other non-heterosexual people and should try to avoid the biased attitude against them. Police officials should try to be more humble and considerate of their issues and help them attain legal justice instead of being brutal to them, physically or verbally. Lack of literacy is one of the main causes as to why lesser fortunate people of the community fall under the traps of some of the other illegal criminal activities. Therefore, proper education should be one of the main concerns in the way for improvement.


References:

  1. Indian express, LGBT themes in Hindu mythology,https://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/blog/storytelling-lgbt-themes-in-hindu-mythology-5273332/, Tuesday(6:15)

  2. India today, instances of homosexuality,( https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/10-instances-of-homosexuality-among-lgbts-in-ancient-india-1281446-2018-07-10), last visited (December 7,2020)

  3. Firstpost, Mythology for the Millennial, http:/www.firstpost.com, last visited (December 7,2020)

  4. Devdutt Pattanaik, The LGBT movement in India, http://www.india-seminar.com, last visited(December 6, 2020)

  5. Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: Islam, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-islam, last visited(December 6,2020)

  6. The times of India, Section 377, https://m.timesofindia.com, last visited( December 7,2020)

#LGBTQ #lgbtqia #pridecommunity #ageoldtraditions #lgbtqissues #indianmythology #mythologies #historyofindia

 
 
 
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