Think how you would feel as a heterosexual doubting your sexuality and wondering why you were who you were. Imagine men and women sleeping with each other in fear, hoping others don’t find out about their sexual acts. These questions and situations would haunt almost every heterosexual if they were the sexual minority in a world dominated by homosexuals.
You could drop dead in doubt, sink in it or fight to grow out of it. You would run the risk of questioning your own instincts, your love for someone else and for no other reason but that the majority had conditioned you into believing that love and affection had only one form — between a man and a man and a woman and a woman.
You, as a minority, would probably be the butt of jokes and ridiculed in society and thrown out of your homes for being nothing more than the God-created person you were. Yet, you would most likely be as peace-loving as anyone else. You may wish to support and participate in your family but may fear revealing your identity. You may fit in amongst the majority but the reality of your lies would eat into you and foster self-doubt and loneliness.
But the reality is, and you could thank your stars for that, that heterosexuals dominate the world that fosters homophobia resulting in not just unreal fears but a violence that leaves the minorities often abused, in self-doubt and fear.
I have lived that life and know what it is to be scorned upon and doubted merely because I don’t sleep and have sex with a woman. Homosexuals carry insecurities that go beyond the normal. The doubts about life for many in the community are so deep that some commit suicide, others leave homes, some marry the opposite sex, many conceal their identity and a few manage to find love and a support network. Only a few are that lucky.
As a child you are told that a man does not cry, the woman must support a man, there is only one kind of a family structure, men are manly or macho, women are gentle and frail, and marriage and relationships are between the opposite sexes, and so on. When you don’t fit these descriptions, the conflict begins and the self-doubt sets in. Even I at one stage assumed I was not who I was only since I was not ‘pansy’ or an effeminate man — depictions used for a gay man when the word ‘gay’ was never used.
How could any man in self-doubt love or offer love in its true sense to anyone else with the kind of surety that the majority takes for granted. Often the affection and love we give is aimed to get nothing much more than acceptance and a support system. Many individuals in this marginalised community spend a lifetime seeking acceptance that the deep emotion of love gets eroded, leaving very little to offer to that one special person.
Dr Cynthia Thaik, a cardiologist who studies the health of the soul, says ‘Selfdoubt is one of the major obstacles to living the life you truly deserve.’ And often this doubt resulting in feelings of ‘weakness or incompetence stem from childhood and become ingrained in our very being,’ she points out. This is perhaps one of the greatest unintended failings of large sections of society that orders and rules rather than informs and engages. If they engaged, they would listen and have some knowledge of those that they interact with, including sexual minorities.
As they say, to know is to love. Such an approach is inclusive, leading to collective solutions for life where knowledge reduces doubt including self-doubt and fosters an unknowing quantum of love.
Sharif D Rangnekar is associated with I Am Who I Am community and Friends of Linger
The views expressed by the author are personal