Derogatory words, racial slurs, or even the way we address some people based on their caste will often have unintended effects attached to them. Harassment, sexual violence, and misgendering are given to trans people daily, and in some places, their basic right to live is even questioned. In India, almost all languages have a specific word for the trans community people. I distinctly remember some trans people coming home for alms and my uncle using these terms with them.
Both written and spoken language is not neutral: all words we say have powerful emotions and consequences attached to them. The person you just unknowingly hurt might be on the verge of suicide or a mental breakdown. What if you made the leap? Scary, right? Just because everyone does it, it does not mean it is right. Homophobia is a scum-sucking thing; what we should do, as a society, is to get rid of it.
Since the abolition of Article 15 and more LGBTQ+ people coming out of the closet, homophobia is more than a problem. We like to think of ourselves as a civilized society, but we are far from it. If you think I am wrong, go to your local market area and spend at least 3 hours there. You will come across curses and casual homophobia like there is no tomorrow. Cities are coping well with it, but towns and villages are neither catching up nor willing to.
When anyone in my circle wears a pink t-shirt, the first words of insults are “gay”, “sissy”, or “wuss”. A surprising number of variations are available depending on your group’s innovation. Does it mean that our group is homophobic? Close to it. In a public setting, I now realize that this is wrong. What if someone listening to us is waiting to come out to their parents and we just messed it up?
If we realize the backstory of every troubled soul that we hurt, we will not dare. Our Media portray most casual homophobia turned violence as just a news story and not a social issue that needs to be addressing. The setting is changing, independent filmmakers and OTT platforms are being more open about these issues than before. In “Pavakathaikal”, an anthology film on Netflix, the main lead is a transgender person and there is nothing happy about the ending. Casual homophobia, family, and social acceptance all torment the character to the eventuality. The movie’s effect is like dipping you in liquid nitrogen and hitting you with a hammer; you shatter at many levels.
The film’s emphasis on social acceptance must be discussed at length. The future generation learns from seeing rather than reading. Moral science lessons in the curriculum will not be effective if a student comes out of the classroom and sees casual homophobia. Our ability to teach them what is good or bad comes from our ability to perceive good and bad, and it’s high time we perceive.
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