September 6 marks an important day in the history of the LGBTQ community rights movement in India. In 2018, Section 377 was decriminalized by the Supreme Court of India, and the queer community which had long sought this legislation took to the streets and painted the town rainbow. Although significant, this was merely a battle in the larger struggle for equality. The war continues as queer collectives, LGBTQ community support groups, and college students across the country rally for safer, more inclusive educational institutions. Though homophobia, transphobia, biphobia were bashed down to the ground (which we Stand), our society still has a long journey to cover when it comes down to acceptance from the heart.
In Delhi University, there are a large number of queer students who have been accepted and heard due to the growing awareness among the people. Thanks to social media platforms, pride marches and parades and the feminist movement, the youth has taken a stand to highlight major issues of discrimination against people belonging to the LGBTQ community. So, in a nutshell, the youth is taking no steps back when it comes to bashing up the patriarchy and its culture of discrimination and stereotyping.
However, our “orthodox” society is blinded by superstitions and prejudice due to which discrimination against the community is still extremely prevalent. Hence, many students develop a fear of being stereotyped and discriminated just because of who they truly are as a human. Nevertheless, one can help the community in many ways by being a true ally. To all the queer folks, we hear you! And to all the allies, there are certain things you can do to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community as well as to spread awareness:
The most fundamental thing a queer person seeks is acceptance. And that is your first step to help the queer community. Irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation, you are supposed to have an open mind and a suspended ego. Hype them up! Tell them how brave they are and how proud you are of them. Widen your arm for then and accept them from the core.
Pronouns are taken very seriously in the LGBTQ community. Transgender men and women identify themselves with the pronouns he/him and she/her respectively. Genderqueer or non-binary folks identify themselves with they/them. Yet, one should ask what pronoun the person identifies with rather than making assumptions and misgender the person. Another important thing to note down is that you should never refer to a transgender person with their dead name (the name they were assigned with when they were born) but instead the name the person chose.
Heteronormativity and the LGBTQ community:
Sorry to accuse your heterosexuality but tea is about to be spilled and leave a stain behind! Processes through which institutions and people reinforce the notion of heterosexuality being the only true possibility is called heteronormativity. Statements like: “No! I am not gay, I mean I do support them but I am normal you know. I am straight.” Or “I am not homophobic! I have a friend who is lesbian”. Okay, typing this down was excruciating. When you impose such statements, even out of no malice, you are inducing an immense amount of hatred towards the LGBTQ community.
Take a stand:
Not everyone will be supportive of the LGBTQ community and there will be an immense backlash coming from a bunch of insecure losers. Always take a stand and prevent any form of abuse, be it emotional, sexual, physical, or/and verbal.
Educate yourself and others:
Last but not the least, educate yourself. Learn about the history of the community and about the struggles they have faced over the past years. Learn more about concepts regarding gender and different sexual orientations. Ask your queer friends about their experiences and always motivate your closeted queer friends (although never force them to be open about their sexuality and/or gender identity). Do your research on appropriate terms and the derogatory ones (so you know never to use them). And as you educate yourself, educate as many people as you can.
Administrative support, while absolutely necessary to bring about these changes, is therefore secondary to shared alertness in any student body. These things might seem small but they can create a large change at a larger level. And to all the queer/ LGBTQ community people out there, we are here for you. Never, for even a second, feel that your voices and struggles are not heard. , you will always have our back. Just remember that one day, all that there will be is equality, awareness, and love. Till then live and love with pride!
Also Read: delhi-university-is-a-dream
Pride parades in Delhi University: https://bit.ly/2MF3MO4