Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Philadelphia...

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?

9 comments:

Rajat said...

I have also watched it. Good movie. Our behavior towards gay people depends on our thinking.
We also make a lot of fun on their names, but I think on encountering personally, i wudn't be able to speak a word.
One thing is sure, I will never give up my smile till I am with that person..

Anonymous said...

one more thing tht maybe dint strike u while writing the post..
wud a gay/lesbian ever be able to come out in the open and express his/her love for the person he/she loves more than anything else? the fear of coming out of the closet, and the fear of being rejected by his/her loved one (coz in all probability, his/her love would be straight) is killing. everyday ur heart weeps when u cant tell the person u love hw much u love him..and when he goes around talking abt his gfs etc etc...and u listen to him, while ur heart is breaking into a million pieces....
though m not gay/lesbian, i can relate to them perfectly..cos i have known someone who is..and i have observed the pain, and just one word describes it - "terrible"....its difficult to see tears in the eyes of the person each day of his/her life!
so, i say, spread the sensitivity!

Sugar&Spice said...

Mr. Ms. anonymous
i completely agree with u on teh last point u made...
this post was more on lines of other's perception of Gays..
maybe soon ill come up with something about them, what they feel and go thru.. all teh social ostracism..the rejection, everything! it really is terrible, teh price they pay fr standing up for what they believe in. none of us caneven imagine, cuz none of us have gone thru what they go thru everyday.

Anonymous said...

so wud wait for ur next post...:)

PJ@CP@NOIDA said...

Aditi,

This is the first time that I have viewed your blog and by the time you get to the bottom of my post, you will know my identity! :-)

I think you have raised some searingly honest questions about our openmindedness to others - be it their caste, religion, gender or sexual preferences. Given that each human being is a unique act of creation, there are bound to be differences in the way one chooses to live, think and act when compared to another. So we need to be open-minded enough to accommodate these differences. To cut a long story short, I feel reasonably certain that I would not deny acceptance to my children if they chose a sexual preference that was not common. I believe that love is the central emotion that binds human beings (and animals) together and if you truly love somebody, you can accept their so-called idiosyncracies.

In fact, love itself is such a strange emotion. Sometimes we equate it with possession, sometimes with fidelity, sometimes with physical attraction; but can you really define and delimit this emotion. For example, I often feel that you can love many people at the same time, and the intensity can be the same for all, without diminishing your sense of duty or responsibility towards those you are socially and legally related to(parents, spouses, children, etc.) Love is like an ever-expanding universe while envy, jealousy, fear, insecurity are ever-constricting black holes!

To change your question somewhat, can lovers truly tolerate pluralism? Can we socially accept someone who is in love with multiple people (gender wise too) at the same time? Or is such a person seen as a butterfly who is cheating each flower he/she lands on? Is universal love possible? Was Lord Krishna such a lover? Is "faithfulness" a necessary ingredient of this universal emotion?

Food for thought, eh? Go on, chew the cud!

Love.

PJ@CP

Shiv said...

Hi Aditi !!

First of all a very very Happy new year to you and Gaurav !!

Gays, are not untouchables or outcasts !! However, I would not be be the thickest of friends with a gay....Simply because at some point in the friendship, he will expect more from me , which i cannot offer !!However, if he is wise enough to understand the diference, there is nothing that can stop us from being good friends in the normal sense !!

I also know a friend who is an aspiring Bollywood star and he says that it is quite routine to have gay producers etc. who would seek favours from aspiring actors like him ...and some non-gay (wouldn't call them straight) guys even relent for the sake of their career goals !! Thats really awful !

Forget about gays male bosses taking favours ....I even know a lady boss in a previous job , who has sought these favours and the guy happily relented to get promoted from a Prorgammer to Project Manager in just 3 years!! I shall not tell you the names here, but if the lady ever happens to read this comment, she will know !Not to mention the careers of genuinely sincere guys that were put on the chopping block for the sake of glorifying that one guy !! I do not have as much against that guy, as the lady , 'cause he didnt ruin our careers, but she did !! They were free to do their thing witout hurting the interests of other innocent folks...But lust is such that it knows no reason !! It just doesn't want anything in its way !!

There was a time, when I was a strong supporter of the "superiority of the butterfly " ...So much that I saw marriage as an unfair practice :-) However, I do not see it in the same light now (irrespective of whether i had been married or not )...

Folks oftn say that they can give their lives for the ones they love....Wouldn't it be cruel if one is standing on the edge of the cliff to give up his life for his "true love", but cannot control his "butterfly tendencies" for the pretty girl crossing the street on the other side of the cliff !! But such is Nature :-) Yeah, 5 years back, perhaps I would have also quietly sneaked upto the road and said hi to the pretty girl ...However, I would not do that now...One reason is that I know that it will drive my "true love" to the court to file for divorce , which could be an expensive and traumatic affair !!

Thus in some ways, true love victory of Reason over Lust !!Having a memory power good enough to remember how much you loved your own lady and the presence of mind to know that these memories can come haunting you once your fling is over !!And, the most simple and compelling reason is you would never want to hurt/cheat someone you really love !!

I agree that Love is an ever expanding universe, and so also is lust ;-) !! The two can often co-exist and is good to have them co-exist.However, co-existence should be with greater powers bestowed upon love than over lust.Imbalance in this can cause a lot of confusion , trauma etc.The kind that teenagers often go through !!

You might call me very conservative, but I really think that if one is really honest about love (and it is as intense both ways ), I do not think there is a place for a third person as long as the two are in love!! (It did not happen in the last 4 years atleast ..I still have a good 40 more to go as per average life expectancy values in the country...Let's see...hopefully he universe of love won't expand like that one IPS gentleman , who suddenly realized the Meera inside him !!)

So, don't let the magic of love wear off !! Let it stay fresh and fragrant always !! Do not let that nectar dry out!! You have to nurture it well.Often, when we don't nurture it enough , we end up searching for greener pastures ...Hey, I am not against glancing at green pastures, but am against camping with your tent at every green pasture you see, just because it is tempting to light a camp fire there :-)

Yours Simbly Comblicated,
Shiv

illusion said...

hey adi!

a very thought provoking post. good job.

do visit my blog sometime. (i've FINALLY started blogging!)

lots of love...

Sher-e-Punjab said...

interesting subject
although i am a bit surprised at the way u treated homosexualism and aids in the same light....i guess they are two completely different subjects and must be treated differently

also,i havent really seen any homosexuals being mistreated ... i mean i've seen them....and well they're open about it and nobody gives a damn.

aids patients however are being mistreated mostly because of the misconception people have about aids so i guess the aids awareness programs may help bring it down.

Sugar&Spice said...

i appreciate all your thots.... and i will think on the lines suggested... and maybe write something new.