All in all, India is still a homophobic country. Fighting the homophobia is a good cause to take up. But it’s not for everyone. The issue is that fighting is too tough for the average person. There’s no reason to think that this average case won’t hold for the homosexual community.
Not all homosexuals have the kind of fire it takes to fight and lead from the front. In fact, forcing a homosexual to go against their nature to fight/lead will probably just intensify their guilt and self-hate more than anything else. Just to be clear, I’m not discouraging people from fighting. I’m just asking that the fighting be left to those who want to do it, are built for it or are good at it.
We no longer live in an India where fighting is the only way. More importantly, we don’t want to risk more guilt and self-hate in a community that’s maxed out on both, especially if there’s another way.
This post is going to be for those homosexuals who don’t want to fight. Again, it’s not an appeal against fighting. It’s just a listing and explanation of some alternatives for those who are interested. After listing and explaining the alternatives, we’re also going to suggest some follow up measures to help complete the homosexual’s self-acceptance journey.
ALTERNATIVES TO FIGHTING
Fight slogan: “Being gay is not a big deal. You’re making it a big deal”
Please understand that in the average case, it’s just not that simple. Don’t forget that these individuals spend years and decades feeling disadvantaged because of their homosexuality. All that unhappiness often makes them resent homosexuality as a reality.
This deep-rooted resentment cannot go away by simply hearing “It’s okay to be gay. You are the only one who thinks it’s such a big deal. It’s not. It’s perfectly okay.”
There are romanticized gender ideals to break. Desperate, long-term dreams to undo. A lifelong vision of what makes a good life to alter. So, again, it’s not as simple as “it’s not a big deal.” Especially if the homosexual is not the type to get inspired by fight slogans.
Alternate approach: Instead of telling the person that being gay is okay, show them. Accompany them to gay gatherings and let them see and witness for themselves that it’s okay to be gay.
In the event of stubborn non-cooperation, you can show the person some TV shows with gay characters in a closed private setting to soften them up.
Fight slogan: “You’re being a child. Grow up and take charge”
The implication with “you’re being a child” is that the person is getting excessively emotional.
Please don’t imply that any emotions on display are excessive after a lifetime of imprisonment and self-hate.
It’s going to backfire on all but the most emotionally mature people, which is far from the average case.
Alternate approach: Wait for the person to gain exposure through seeing and witnessing. As the person gains more exposure to a homosexual crowd, homosexuality will become less of difficult for them, and the emotions will come down automatically.
Fight slogan: “You are being way too dramatic about this”
Again, if a lifetime of imprisonment and self-hate isn’t cause for “drama,” then I don’t know what is.
Of course, those who respond to this slogan and immediately stop being dramatic can go right ahead. I have nothing but admiration for such people.
But let’s not pretend that everyone can do it.
Alternate approach: If the homosexual wants to be dramatic, let them. They’ve been quiet, calm and on the sidelines for too long. So let them to be animated and expressive, even if what comes out isn’t leadership material. Being dramatic about life-long imprisonment is quite healthy if you ask me. It shows that the person has a properly functioning brain and heart. Plus, it’ll make a great story one day.
That’s it for alternatives to fighting. Next we discuss some follow-up measures to complete the homosexual’s self-acceptance journey.
FOLLOW UP MEASURES FOR HELPERS
Do say “if there are any emotional times tied to this, tell me. I’d like to understand.”
Homosexuals in India miss out on so many important life events and milestones. The average heterosexual cannot fathom the extent of it. End of the day, we can just agree that there will be many things that profoundly trigger a closet homosexual’s emotions. Music, movies, shows, anecdotes, legends, stories, you name it. Almost everything is a reminder of journeys that they never had.
Ask them about their favorite songs and scenes and get their reading on it. Accept any tears and emotions that come along with it.
Do say “If you think God wants you to be straight, ask God to show you the way.”
Good old religion.
I, myself, practice Christianity with great love and devotion. I know. I have a hindu name, but I chose Christ for personal reasons. Never got around to being baptized.
I am aware of the bible verses about homosexuality. I am also aware of divine healing stories in which people testify to having become heterosexual through prayer. My research on the matter showed me that the bible verses have been taken out of context. But I don’t know for sure if God disapproves of homosexuality. All I know for sure is this: God will personally reveal his plan for you if you ask him.
Request any homosexual struggling with God’s plan to do the following:
“Don’t ask God to take away your homosexuality or give you heterosexuality. Just Ask him to reveal his plan to you, and see what his answer is.”
I do not believe that the answer would have much to do with sexuality. Whatever religion you belong to, your journey with the one true God is personal. So, talk to him personally and ask him for answers, instead of going by subjective interpretations of unclear scripture.
When trying to help religious homosexuals, I believe this approach is both effective and non-antagonizing.
Do say “Be nicer to yourself. You are a lovable person”
So far, I’ve emphasized the role of exposure and gentleness for a closet homosexual’s coming out and acceptance in India, in the average case.
But there’s going to be a time when the person is not in a crowd, and therefore not responding to the crowd’s spirit. A time when the person will be alone with their own spirit. During these times, the best step this person can take is to be nice and fair to themselves. Be nice and fair enough to grant that homosexuality is not inherently wrong, unattractive or shameful.
Give them practice scenarios in which you suspect harsh self-criticism. Guide them through those scenarios. Take them away from harsh self-criticism. Instead, take them towards fair and well-reasoned self-assessments.
Once self acceptance is better and the person has had good exposure to gay-friendly crowds, ask “So? How do you think your family would react if they knew?
Social acceptance is important. But, really, what’s most important is the acceptance of yourself and the acceptance of those you don’t want to lose or be hurt by. Usually, we’re talking about family. So, before any homosexual journey can begin, it is important to resolve the matter of coming out to family/loved ones. Finding ways to make the news easier for them. Or, finding ways to make peace with not telling them.
One way is to expose the family to homosexual struggles through stories, movies, music etc. Then, once the desired level of acceptance is established, the coming out can take place.
Sometimes, it can take a while for family to make peace with the truth. A few months or a few years even. That’s okay. Try to take comfort in those who are on your side while you wait for family and loved ones to come around.
Is there a place for tough love?
So far, we’ve emphasized the gentle approach, since these individuals are not fighters. Still, there is a place for some “tough” love even with them. You just have to make sure that they do not associate tough love with a damaging response.
There are several ways to do this. You could take them out for a drink, soften them up, and then firmly say what needs to be said (don’t yell). Or, you could make sure that the person has something good/under-control to hold on to/take comfort in when they hear something tough/out-of-control that needed to be said.
The idea is to not kick someone when they’re down. You can pick them up for a bit and then kick them if it’s necessary.
The final step
Open romance is the ultimate objective of homosexual counseling. A willingness to approach the idea of warmth with that special someone. So when personal and familial acceptance have reached a level that is satisfying, homosexual romance should be encouraged directly. For example, “So he/she seemed interested in you. I thought they were nice. Maybe you should get in touch.”
Once the homosexual is good with life and themselves, they may be safely encouraged to join the fight
A homosexual who has fully accepted themselves and made peace with family and society is ready to join the fight. So, they can go ahead and do so without worrying about any damage from guilt or self-hate.
In this post, I basically covered some alternative paths to homosexual acceptance, for those who are not well suited to fighting and leading from the front. I really hope it helps.
Thank you for reading, and God bless you for helping the gay/lesbian community.