One night, after finishing with my studies, I decided to go to sleep. But since I’m suffering from some kind of insomnia these days, I wasn’t particularly sleepy, and decided to finish watching a movie I was watching last week: Philadelphia.
Its an old movie starring Tom Hanks, and for those who don’t know about it, its about a man called Andrew Becket who is a brilliant lawyer with a great future until his law firm discovers he is gay and is suffering from AIDS, and they fire him, although on the pretext that he was incompetent (which they proved by deliberately jeopardising his work). So he decides to go to the court for wrongful termination. After a long and painful court battle, he emerges victorious, and is awarded around 5 million dollars by the jury. However, he is unable to enjoy any of it, cuz he dies soon after.
After I finished watching the movie, which by the way is extremely well made with excellent performances by Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks (a must watch for all those who haven’t seen it yet), I thought about the underlying message in the movie: about the general attitude of people towards homosexuals and AIDS, which could range from strong hatred and disapproval to apathy, to sympathy to.. And who knows… Even empathy.
But there rose a number of questions and concerns in my mind.
Some of us, including myself, feel that there is nothing wrong in being gay, and that it’s ok to hang around with a person suffering from AIDS. We are educated people who know that no way will hanging out with anyone with AIDS will infect us. Or being friends with homosexuals will change our orientation. We can easily say that we are very sensitive and tolerant etc etc. (as long as no one around us is in that position)
However, I wonder, how many of us have actually come across and personally known a gay/AIDS patient?If we were to meet one, are we sure we would not flinch when he shakes hand with us? Or when we have stay with him, eat with him etc.? Would we accept him as easily as we accept other friends? Just cuz he has AIDS?
And what about homosexuality... would the guys be ok with hanging around such a guy? Or would they fear being branded a gay themselves if they hang around one? Would they really make friends with him, have the minimum physical contact with him? Or would they be afraid he may try to take advantage?
Would we accept that our children are gay, happily???? Would we allow them to choose their sexual orientation? How would we react if we come to know tomorrow that our best friend is actually gay? And he wants to "stay with/marry" his partner? Would we still continue the same relation?Would we really?? (Everywhere one can substitute his with her and gay with lesbian)
I'm not even going into the Indian Penal code which says that homosexuality is a CRIME. There are still many many countries in this world where homosexuality is a taboo and gay marriages are banned. But the awareness and tolerance is rising slowly. However as far as individual acceptance and tolerance is concerned, I'm not sure.
If you ask me, I do not have an answer to these questions. Cuz the fact of the matter is I have never had a very near and dear one suffering from AIDS nor have I ever personally known, seen, talked to a homosexual person. So I don’t know how I would react if someone very close to me was gay and/or had AIDS.
But I do know that we all are glad no one like that is around us. We make fun of gays, we term every pansy looking guy a gay, and we find it difficult to accept 2 guys holding hands. I don’t know what it says about us. Are we tolerant? Or we pretend to be? Can we really tolerate? Or will this expected tolerance fail when we are faced with such a person in reality?
I don’t know. Do u?