Synopsis : It is true that some people are born with attributes that are different from the rest of us who fall into the category of LGBTQ. They also live a life of their own although in many parts of the world they face discrimination based on religious and other forms of prejudice. Now there is more awareness of their rights and aspirations just like any of us and they are demanding that the world take notice.
Now a days one sees this acronym a lot everywhere. What does it mean and why people talk about it all the time? What it means is lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans sexual and queer which encompasses a whole lot of people who fall under this acronym. I have often wondered why some people are not normal males or females as most people in this world are and why some people are different.
The answer may be in the hormones specially sex hormones that control our sexuality and make a definitive impact on our body as we grow up one way or the other. The doctors say that when an imbalance occurs meaning the male or female hormones overpower the other in a wrong way, the result is what can be termed as the category called LGBTQ. Males in whom the female hormones predominate may start acting like women and the females in whom the male hormones predominate may act like males and can even sprout hair on their face. Lesbians are females with sexual affinity for other females, gays are males with affinity for other males previously called homosexuals, bisexuals are people with affinity for both males and females, transsexuals are people who think they belong to the opposite sex like a tom boy girl who behaves like a boy and dresses like one and a transsexual man feels like a woman trapped in a man’s body. The last one is queer which seems to be a general catch all term for anyone else.
In India I have known a Trans sexual fellow who used to act as female in dramas during the Pooja festival and was so natural (with makeup of course) that women were surprised. What we see commonly are people called the Hijras who are men dressed as women and are truly pathetic people. They dance in the streets and beg for money and have a difficult time making a living as they are uneducated and have no skills other than dancing in the streets and mulcting people out of threats of curse if refused money.
They regularly visit the hospitals where the nurses are in cahoots with them to inform them if a male kid is born and find out the address of the parents. They don’t bother if the kid is female. Then they show up at the gate of the parents and dance and create a scandal and a great ruckus if they do not get what they want which is a lot of money and gifts. Often the parents are embarrassed by them and give them what they want just to get rid of them. This because in India a male child is preferred over a female child even today so these hijras do not bother the parents of a girl child. We were spared this scandal when our beautiful baby daughter was born.
In other countries where there is no such preference, they do not have this type of people dancing at your gate for money and cursing if they do not get what they want. I have seen people giving them money just because they are afraid of their curses in India where people are very superstitious and believe that these hijras have special occult power and can indeed make their curses come true. Others may not believe but take the attitude of “just in case” so give them money just to get rid of them because they can be very pesky.
I have been to many countries where LGBTQ people are persecuted especially in Moslem countries and even in some non Moslem countries so they try to hide. In Iran they execute such people and in many other countries they are beaten up or publicly harassed.
In other countries like here in the Philippines, they are not only tolerated, they are given many opportunities like education and jobs that are denied to them elsewhere. They are in movies, in TV programs, in fashion design industries and others work as makeup artists, in hair saloons or massage parlors. Some are educated and teach in universities. Women are quite comfortable with them as most pose no threat to them as sexual predators. This societal acceptance of the LGBTQ people is quite interesting and encouraging that should send a clear message to other countries that persecute them that people who are called LGBTQ are so due to no fault of their own and should be dealt with compassion and understanding. I have seen many school children in Thailand who are boys but wear skirts and lipsticks and who at some point opt for a surgical sex change if their parents can afford.
In India such people are very poor and have no education so the job market is closed to them. They cannot afford the sex change operations so they dance on the streets to beg for money. Now there are societies in big cities like Mumbai where they form an association to help each other out with jobs and shelter but it is not enough. The LGBTQ people who are in the middle class are tolerated but also suffer a silent stigma because they are considered not normal.
Now in a country like Egypt, some women want a girl so badly that they dress up their baby boys in girl’s clothes and make him believe that he is in fact a girl. This may have some effect on the psychology of the boy growing up as girl and may act and behave as one but this is not due to any hormonal imbalance in his body so it is called an acquired behavior. Most will grow out of it later and live a normal life while others may not be lucky so it is very important how parents treat their kids at an early age. This imprint is very important to the child as he or she develops into adulthood later.
The persecution of LGBTQ people at least among the Christians in some countries goes back to the Biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah that the angels destroyed because God considered it a sin not to be normal. The word sodomy comes from it. But the religion is created by man and those who wrote the Bible or other such texts had their own prejudices that are reflected in the texts that they wrote and passed it as the word from God. Jesus never said that he was God but rather a son of God so in that sense we all are children of God. People have always tried to mold their society into a strict form that helped create the religious edicts that are found in many religions.
Let us now leave religion aside for a while and consider the cases of the LGBTQ people purely as a rational human being and see that they are not really responsible for being what they are and should be considered as human beings who need understanding and help in overcoming social stigma or neglect.
We all know that we are born with both male and female hormones in our body but there exists a natural balance between the two at first. When this balance tilts in favor of one or the other, the result is a male or female. Males have male hormones that predominate over the female hormones and the females have female hormones that predominate over the male hormones in their body. When this process is reversed due to some reason, the result is what can be termed as the LGBTQ people. Now some doctors offer hormonal treatment to bring back the natural order of things but it can be very costly so beyond the reach of most people who may benefit from it.
The sex change operations that are available in some countries can also be costly and dangerous if done by incompetent doctors or quacks. So I appreciate the attitude the Filipinos take and who are in fact quite tolerant in general.
Now the argument is raging in the United States about whether or not the toilets should be separate by sex as is mostly the case or should LGBTQ people be given the options to use either male or female toilets. The US army used to discriminate against them but now president Obama has ordered them to stop this practice and treat them fairly which is a good thing he has done.
Chelsea Manning’s case comes to mind. He is serving a long prison term as a whistle blower in a case where he reported the wrongdoings in the army and has now changed his sex to female. There is a huge demand for president Obama to pardon Manning before he leaves office in a few more days and he may still do it. His sex change should not matter and he should be pardoned because he did nothing wrong so goes the argument in his favor.
The LGBTQ people have made some gains in their rights to marry and adopt children and have other rights that have been long denied to them thanks to greater awareness and social clamor for justice to them in the United States but some countries continue to persecute them and treat them unfairly.
Definitely more needs to be done in countries like India where there exists a social disapprobation that encourages a passive discrimination.
I think the Filipinos are right in treating the LGBTQ people as having the same rights as others although I wish they would give them other jobs like script writers or directors than actors in the movies that trivializes their roles as mere clowns. People should not make fun of them but treat them with compassion.
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