reprints of articles published in magazines

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

greek love

Man to Man love is considered quite abnormal by some. But this was the regular happening in ancient Greece, Eygpt and Sumeria. So common was this practice of males falling in love and living with other males, that the ancient Greeks considered it very natural. From mythical heroes such as Apollo, Zeus and Achilles to real life men such as Aristotle and Alexander the Great, homosexuality was so common that it was even called “Greek Love.” And Greek love was not frowned upon, it was considered normal. So much so that ancient Greek art, sculpture, literature, mythology and history is full of homosexual references.

But ideologies changed over time. Later literature began to view homosexuality as immoral, sinful and abnormal. Religions preached against homosexuality and gradually over the past two thousand years, homosexuality became unacceptable to society. Laws written in the last centuries such as the Indian Penal Code, consider homosexuality an unnatural offence and the perpetrator can be imprisoned for the act.

For long people believed that homosexuality was abnormal and hence to be prohibited. But in spite of this strong cultural taboo, homosexuality continued in secrecy. Great writers like Oscar Wilde suffered because of this homosexual leaning, which was at that time a kind of “forbidden love”.

But lately science has come up with strong evidences to prove that homosexuality is not unnatural. Several species of animals, such as bees, sheep, birds, monkeys, apes, etc have been found to have spontaneous homosexual bonding. The brain of such homosexual individuals has been found to be quite different from those with heterosexual orientation. Thus it is quite clear that homosexuality is just a natural variation, not a deviation. Much like left handedness.

With more and more evidences emerging to show that homosexuality does exist in nature, most countries have shed off their earlier concerns about “unnatural offence” and their legal systems have scraped away the punishments for homosexuality. Many countries even permit homosexual marriages.

India is yet to join the list of countries that have thus updated their laws and so in India homosexuality continues to be an offence to this day. Therefore, the homosexual population in India leads a secretive life, still unable to “come out” and openly admit their sexual preference.

And in a quirky kind of a way, the gender that bears the brunt of this law is not the male, but the female! Because the society does not permit a man to openly express his homosexual orientation, he is forced to marry a woman to at least “save his face” , fit into the society and make his family proud. But because he is biologically designed to fall in love and be sexual motivated by a man, this husband is usually unable to keep his wife happy. Most wives never know the reason for their husband’s “cold shoulder” behavior, but when they do, the consequences can be quite pathetic.

Last year in Kolkatta, a 32 year old wife committed suicide after she discovered that her husband was gay. Apparently she had confronted the husband several times on the issue, but he was never able to change his ways. The wife was tortured mentally and physically. She decided to end her life on the eve of their 5th wedding anniversary.

And it is not like the men are happy to thus cheat on their wives. Given a choice, most gay men would prefer to just live with the man they love and never consider marrying a woman. However, outdated laws such as this and the “marry and have a baby, that’s what life’s all about” kind of attitude that Indians still have, force such men into such loveless heterosexual marriages.

There are still some other kinds of men who are bisexual. These individuals can make love to a male or a female with equal fervor, because their minds are sexually oriented to both genders. A bisexual man may be married to one woman, but may have extra marital affairs with other men. Either way, the victim is the woman.

What could a woman do if she discovers that she has been married to a gay man? Should she tell others or suffer in silence and protect the dignity of her husband, as would befit the “Adarsha Barathya Naari”? Should she walk out and file for a divorce? Does the Indian Marriage act have a clause that makes homosexuality a reason for divorce? Or should she put up with this loveless life and uphold her husband’s place under the Indian sun? Should she try to work the marriage despite all these odds? If there are children, what should she tell them or should she keep it a secret? Is the wife now at risk for sexually transmitted diseases? And what about if the husband only has gay orientation, and always dreams of making love to men but has never done that so far? Just how should a woman deal with a gay husband?

Of course, if the husband has been sexually active with another partner, irrespective of the gender, then the wife is at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. The first thing she should do, is meet her doctor, check herself and her husband up and make sure she is safe from STDs. This will take care of her physical health. What about her mental health? This sense of betrayal may scar her emotionally. The wife would benefit from consulting a mental health professional then.

ps: copy pasted from INBOX 1305


PARIMALA said...

Quite an interesting article Dr. I often used to think of these and needed someone to share.Happy to read ur article.I think its both nature and nurture that contribute to these kinds of sexual preferences and orientations.By nature I understand its "genetic".We are not far away from the day to test someone's hormones and tell his/her sexual orientation like how we group the blood sample.Its still very much an unexplored area in medicine.'Cos its unexplored, its the most exploited topic too!!Its still a 'taboo' in our society.whenever I see any news abt them, I feel a need to make them live a dignified life 'cos its not their fault.I read this phrase somewhere "heterosexuality is not normal, its common".How true?? LGBT community is a minority one (they can never be majority) and the most suffered humans.'Coming out' is a terrible reality for them. To realise that they are not like others is a very painful feeling. There is no law that protects them (most importantly family members neglect them)but we all know they exist among us.We all watched AR Rehman receiving Oscar. We also witnessed Sean Penn receiving award for "MILK" on the same dias.Where we stand today?What Harvey Milk achieved in 1970s, we can't achieve even after nearly 40 years.While we are making advancements on par with westerners in science, we lag behind them in issues like these.Its a human rights issue, I believe.What we need to understand is that there are differences among humans but then its OK.These differences need to be celebrated and not criticised or punished!!!!

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