When the two sexes fight for equality it is rather ironic. For if they are truly equal then there should be no winner right? But then, it also means that in case of a draw the party that felt suppressed, continues to feel so and thus, inadequately compensated. What can a person do?
While women do find it worse in many ways — from the “harmless” remarks in general to the “good-spirited” flirting from colleagues and peers, not to mention the belittling by members of the family of all ages and sizes — there is however a community that sees much more discrimination and insensitive treatment than even them —my LGBT friends. And here, I don’t say friends to sound politically correct, I am actually referring to friends in my social circle who sadly are at the business end of this bias stick.
And worst yet, even as I call them friends, I too somehow serve up segregation without even realising just how often and passively I am doing it. Here are a few instances which will highlight why even women have it easier.
No jokes: We make fun of each other, and which WhatsApp group hasn’t cracked a joke with a misogynist streak, or one that makes fun of relationships. But if we ever know that someone on the group is in a same-sex relationship, we never crack a joke for fear of being adjudged the homophobic in the group. I find this highly discriminating; if I, as a Sikh enjoy a good sardarji joke, surely being gay doesn’t make you averse to a good laugh at your own expense.
Hotel check-ins: When a man and a lady check-in, hotels always check if they want twin beds or a king-sized double. But my LGBT friends don’t ever get the option; by default they are allocated twin beds.
Toilets: We have allocated toilets for men and women but where is a gay guy to relieve himself? Could his being in a men’s toilet be as invasive as me being inside a women’s powder room? Do we need to build new toilets? Or do we rearrange who uses which?
Greeting cards: I am yet to find the appropriate greeting card for wishing a same-sex couple on their special day, or when they adopt a baby, or an important anniversary. Why hasn’t anybody come up with this? And whoever gets around to it, while making these, do chip in a few ideas for friends who have finally won their first divorce case or for women who want to wish their snivelling exes the very best in their crappy lives.
Clothes: Androgyny had its moment in the 90s but ever since then, we barely cross the lines of what men and women should wear. This is highly constricting, especially when people feel that their clothes do gross injustice to their sexual orientation. If attire is about self-expression, then we shouldn’t have such closed-minded ideas about what one can or cannot sport. My LGBT friends, help open our eyes in this regard. As for women, next time you ask a man whether a dress makes your hips look fat, think about all those men who probably want to wear that dress and wouldn’t complain but can’t. So shut up, get ready, and delay us no more.