Series: Love, All- Part 1 of X
How to be an Ally 101
By Soumya Bisht
Words. Aren’t we reminded continuously how they are just letters strewn together and pronounced aloud and add up to zilch until we give them the meaning they deserve? There are words we repeat endlessly, call ourselves associates of an ideology. But when do we actually understand the impact of the words we utter and those that we chose to append to our identification?
Yesterday, I finally pulled my constantly-wavering attention together for an hour-and-a-half to watch the precious movie – Love, Simon. And only after the duration of the movie was I reminded of the impact of all what I chose to stand for. “Equality”, “choice”, “one love” were powerful words I had been including in my daily jargon since forever but only yesterday did those words highlight themselves in all the bold shades of the rainbow and hit my face with the oomph I had only previously seen at the Pride parades on my screen.
Now the movie is pretty simple really. The protagonist is a closeted gay kid who hails from a decently liberal family that loves him to bits, has a set of friends who adore him, a school that isn’t a chaos of cliques and honestly, what more does a kid need to come out of the closet, right?
However, ‘Jacques’ (or, Simon) still hesitates to reveal his sexual identity because he is afraid of how greatly it will impact everyone’s perception of him. In an absolutely powerful scene, we’re shown an alternate verse in which straight people have to come out to their parents and boy, oh boy did that put things into perspective.
The movie unfolds beautifully – the entire focus lies on Simon and his story with few or no other complicated storylines. And we follow Simon, who’s just like us- in search of the special somebody who he can always count on. The only thing that differs is the added journey Simon is required to undertake to also search for his sexual identity and whether or not he chooses to append it to his pre-existing one.
During your teenage, when all you need is acceptance, Simon faces a barrage of hurdles that he needs to overcome to find himself. And all the struggles- the burden of maintaining a false image even when all you want to do is embrace your real self, having to face the fact that maybe who you love may not want to undertake the same journey as you, and having people treat all of what you face as a joke that they can insult you with – at any point of this journey, either of the hurdle is enough to break any sane teenager down. However, our protagonist perseveres- not flawlessly or faultlessly, but he does. And we see our movie screen turn into a kind of magic that talks straight to our hearts.
The world is progressing; today is a better day than yesterday to embrace the real you. However, we in India need to work a little more diligently in understanding that being Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Intersex/Straight doesn’t change who a person is- it is merely a way they chose to choose who they love. While we look to become as modern as the next western country, we forget that modernization is more of a product of an intangible set of ideas than anything else. Human beings evolve with every set of succeeding generation but the minute we begin to accept that every person has an equal right to this land no matter what their identification entails- that’s when ‘humanity’ will evolve. And we aren’t just another a mammal species- we have a conscience unlike any other and it is time we nurture that unique quality of ours.
As a straight ally, trust me when I say there is nothing better than accepting all kinds of love rather than spreading hate just because it doesn’t fall into our rigid, labeled framework of ‘love’. Acceptance is our default option as human beings, I believe. It is easier and spreading that message of acceptance is a little more effort. But if at any time you feel like it is too much effort, check your privilege that doesn’t let you have to go through the ordeal and risk of coming out LGBTQ+ youngsters face.
And if you still aren’t convinced, fire up that internet and open up any video of a PRIDE Parade and look at the smiles on everybody’s faces and feel the purity of the love they have for themselves and for others. Try to understand that by not being an ally, you’re putting in all the efforts to muster up hate that will ultimately force these smiles to go into hiding. Because no, you cannot kill these smiles. They are products of love that shall fester and continue to burn brighter in the hearts caged inside closets and incinerate your hate; because you know wh