Heated debates on same-sex marriage – or any acknowledgement of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community – are taking place globally as the world ripples with revolutions of various sorts: revolutions for freedom, revolutions for justice, and now the sexual revolution has joined the march.
While the sexual revolution is successful in some countries, it is dismantled – or worse, ignored – in many others. As The Guardian reports, Ukraine is preparing for its gay parade next week although it was cancelled by authorities last year. On Saturday, France signed a same-sex marriage bill amid wide protests and disagreements from its conservative community. France was the 14th country to pass the bill, preceded by countries including Canada, Denmark, Uruguay and New Zealand. In the US, Washington DC and 12 states have legalised same-sex marriage, with debates going on in the other states.
But forget that. These are far-off countries with standards of living incomparable to ours, and lifestyles which would raise eyebrows of many Bangladeshis. Many in this region consider homosexuality (often thought of as a sexually deviant practice) a “western import”. But we forget that sexual preferences are not a bottle of wine or a matter of ideology – it is simply a state of being. Just the way a person’s romantic interest could depend on their partner’s personality, or their degree, or their ability to cook, some people’s preference lies in their partner’s gender, or sexuality.
Yet, our society goes to great lengths to deny its existence, chastise those who identify with it, forget to include them in many of our statistics. Why? Many argue that it is not our battle to fight yet. That westerners like America have been free for centuries and can afford to have the sexual revolution today. But the revolution has also reached this corner of the world with Nepal and India finally allowing the LGBTQ community a platform in the society. Nepal ruled as early as 2007 equal rights for the gay community, while India decriminalised homosexuality in 2009. If the revolution has already been weaved into these cultures which are similar to ours, then what is Bangladesh waiting for?
Many argue, as mentioned above,that there is a lot more to be done before we address this issue. But does that mean we continue to marginalise the LGBTQ community until we are done dealing with poverty, corruption, crimes,political instability, the economy – all on a list whichanyway may never cease to exist? How long does the sexual minority community in Bangladesh have to wait until it is “time”? America recognised the community 200 years after their independence, India after six decades; that does not mean we have to wait that long for the revolution in Bangladesh. America, India, France should all be a lesson for us. It should remind us that where people’s lifestyles – which, in this case, are not hampering anyone really – are at stake, when people’s preferences are being trampled on, it is never too early for a revolution.