Homosexuality is not shameful. Using it to discriminate is
On March 8, twelve 13-year-old girl students of Kolkata's Bengali-medium Kamala Girls School were made to confess in writing by their headmistress that they were lesbians who practised "uncivilized" activities in school. The singling out and shaming of pre-pubescent teens, only beginning to explore their sexuality, is hardly shocking in a country like India, which makes it all the more problematic.
The girls were reportedly summoned to the headmistress' office following a student's complaint who alleged they held hands, hugged, "put their hands inside each other's blouses" and felt up their skirts. Threatened with expulsion, they were forced to write down that they were lesbians. On March 12, their parents were called and informed of their "lesbian behavior" which the headmistress implored must be "treated".
'Not allowing lesbianism in schools'
Partha Chatterjee, West Bengal's Education Minister, added fuel to the raging debate on March 14 by saying that he would "not allow lesbianism in schools" and that it was against Bengal's culture. Chatterjee's reaction and the way Kamala Girls School handled the issue reveals how deeply homophobic India still is despite years of Pride Marches and countless social media revolutions.
Won't inculcate the idea of lesbianism: West Bengal Education Minister
Why someone's unawareness, bias be blamed on others?
The way the teens at Kamala Girls School were humiliated over their alleged sexuality raises several stinging questions. Had the girls been straight, would they have still been asked to confess their sexuality? Why the ineptitude, the unawareness of Indian teachers and politicians be blamed on students who are only trying to find out more about themselves? Shouldn't schools be helping students through self-discovery?
Is it moral to shame students when they need guidance?
In the entire episode, the school and Chatterjee have generously flung words like 'moral' and 'immoral' to guilt the girls. Let's then for once use their vocabulary. Is it morally correct to publicly shame adolescents who have just begun to know themselves? Isn't it immoral to add to their confusion, especially when there's little information/guidance available to them? Is the socially acceptable always right?
We can't normalize homosexuality without decriminalizing it
Indians can't accept, embrace LGBTQ until the law does. To normalize homosexuality, we need to first decriminalize it. Before teens, adults need to know that being gay is no disorder and hence needs no curing/counselling/correction. Then the myths. People can have different sexualities, oftentimes completely fluid. Sometimes it takes years to understand it. Finally, morality is no tool to discriminate. Let's not dirty it.