Is there anything gay about them? October 22, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Suicides, Times of India.
Times of India, Oct 2006
With yet another lesbian couple suicide, Debashis Konar checks out the happiness quotient of city’s same-sex lovers.
Vikram Seth might have signed the letter for decriminalisation of homosexual act. But the ground reality is still very different.
Recently, Baguiati residents Nisha Singh and Nisha Upadhyay committed suicide. The reason was the refusal of society to accept their same-sex love.
In the past two years, this is the fourth such incident in the state where couples have ended their lives. So, how difficult is it for city lesbians to stay afloat in such an unsympathetic environment?
Says Malobika, spokesperson of Sappho, Kolkata’s first lesbian organisation, “It is very unfortunate that two young girls had to commit suicide only because of lack of social acceptance. Until and unless Section 377 of IPC is amended, we are simply helpless. Earlier lesbians usually came from the elite class. But now, there is no class barrier as such. Two girls, who worked as domestic helps in North 24 Parganas, had committed suicide in January this year. If homosexuality wasn’t considered a crime, we could have lodged a complaint against the parents for abetting suicide.”
Nisha Singh’s mother, in her statement to the police, has said: “It’s true that the two of them wanted to live together.
But since there isn’t any societal support, we tried to separate them. But who’d know that the consequences would be so grave? Today, I’ve no words of regret for having lost my daughter.”
Sociologists say that even though there’s a growing awareness about the needs of lesbians, the rate of lesbian couple suicides are on the rise in our country. “Society still doesn’t accept their preferences. Hence, a number of homosexuals are still being forced to get married. They lead a very stifling and unhappy life. Some of them even end up in divorce.
Even the state of the other partner in such unhappy marriages is quite sad. When one hears of such cases of lesbian couple suicides, all that one feels is that it’s inhumane to be cruel enough to force people to end their lives,”says sociologist Ruby Sain.
Not just in West Bengal, the rate of same sex couple suicide is on the rise throughout India, says the record books of Sappho.
“Even in Kerala, more than 45 couples have committed suicide in the past five years,”Malobika adds. Yet the pangs of same sex couples are hardly felt by society. Says psychologist Amit Chakraborty, “Early this year, a student of Class X got violent and threw an acid bulb on his tutor’s face when the latter had announced his wedding.
The student and the tutor had a same-sex love. The student had become extremely insecure when he had heard of his lover’s wedding.
While any act of violence can never be supported, what one shouldn’t ignore is the feelings of the students. He overreacted out of an extreme sense of possession. Society doesn’t accept such relationships.
Hence, if one of the partners ditches, the other person feels completely lost. Moreover, the chances of getting another homosexual partner is also very bleak.
That’s why when a couple is into a same sex relationship, they always try to cling on to each other. As far as the case of these two Nisha girls are concerned, I think both of them couldn’t bear to live without each other. Their emotions for each other would be the same as one would find in a committed heterosexual relationship.”
Meanwhile, city lesbians are making their presence felt on online communities. Malobika agrees that many members of Sappho feel comforted when they share their scraps on such online communities.
As she puts it, “Our members don’t disclose their identity even when they join such online communities. But yes, they do share their passion and pain. And this emotional support is good for any same sex couple.”