The tragedy-only dialogue about LGBTQ people is getting a little blasé. Here’s Hairy Antoinette asking for change.
Pride walks. Supreme Court Rulings. Heartbreaks. Jailings.
Cornflakes. Flowered towels. Coffee for two. Dates.
Most of the time, it’s only the first that’s associated with the LGBTQ community in India.
No, I’m not saying it isn’t important to portray the hardships that most queer people face like coming out hurdles, discrimination, arrest, assault, murder, blackmail, sting operations, familial manipulation, coercion, conversion therapy, electric shocks, etc. The struggle must be portrayed and shouted-out from the rooftops till every straight persons’ heart is filled with compassion and empathy instead of fear and disgust.
But at the same time, the struggle shouldn’t be all anyone ever sees. Despite the hardships that we face, that’s not all our lives are about.
Hardships, struggles, family issues, freedom issues, love, sex, heartbreak, relationship drama, beautiful moments, relationships that are regular relationships – our lives have all the other components of a straight persons life. Mental illness, disability, body image issues, insecurity, shattered dreams, hidden passions, ambition, a drive – we live the same way.
Only, the media won’t show you the way my lover holds me while I sleep. The movies won’t show you his husband cooking breakfast for him every morning and sending him off to work with a kiss, waiting for him to come home. The news won’t tell you about how she wipes my tears when I cry over silly things. The chatter won’t pass along information of how she’s taking care of her hospitalized wife, known as a sister or best friend to the outside world. The radio won’t play a song about our fun vacation together or all the fun times spent in hotel rooms and cinemas.
The grapevine doesn’t know that she holds my hand when suicidal thoughts are crowding in my mind and talks me off the ledge when I’m just about ready to jump. That Facebook article about LGBTQ rights won’t have the kind of pictures that live in my phone, of girlfriends present and past, of moments shared and memories made. The music videos won’t show queer love at its purest, in the day to day, not in the struggle and the overcoming.
Maybe the reason the world thinks we’re abnormal is because we don;t show them any normal representations. has your five year old daughter questioned male-female relationships yet? Probably not, because that’s what she’s seen, everywhere.
The struggle-only narrative leaves out every beautiful moment shared by queer couples everyday. Not to forget the fact that none of these things show you her dreams, his achievements or my fears about my career. You will never see the lives I and the queer people I know live because to most, we simply do not exist. Only, we exist. And while it’s good to educate people about the hardships and what we are actually fighting for, while it’s extremely important to acknowledge that it’s not all nice and rosy and that we need to make a lot of changes and that the situation is pretty terrible it would also be nice to see a little bit of the every day stuff.
Normal couple things, marriage, accepting families, every bit of the struggle and danger being worth it because you get to wake up every day next to the one you love. That’s what I wanna see. It could give people an idea of how ordinary it all is, yet how extraordinary it is in the way that all love and life is. It would give hope to queer kids growing up in this country, never seeing the love they dream of portrayed as beautiful and possible, just shameful, struggle filled and painful.
The movie of my life contains tragedy, struggles, romance, comedy, drama, family, passions, success and so much more.
My life is not a tragedy and I refuse to let it be one.
Don’t reduce me to struggle and discrimination. Don’t reduce us to our relationships. Show me queer folks like the real ones I know and then that shall be a story worth seeing.