- Posted January 3, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
'Don't ask, don't tell'
The other side of the wall
“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” - Henry Ward Beecher
Freedom is a relative term. While the term freedom literally would mean liberated, I believe the term freedom is multifaceted, and stems from the fact that it varies between individuals, society, religion doctrine and state. It would be more significant, if we reflect on the fundamental need of human. To me the word compassion consists of all what freedom implies.
For generations a certain sect of people in our society has been managing their gay life with a mixed bag of disparity. With the inception of global outlook – human rights and other form of rights are explored. Are the older & contemporaries generation of my country ready?
Gay is an issue and it is worldwide. When I look from Bangladeshi perspective I am not, only looking from the gay point of view, but also from our grandparents, uncles and aunts, parents, friends & relatives. Understandably it is not easy for them to relate to something they are not, beside social and religion complexity.
In Bangladesh conservative and middle class family dominats our society. Open conversation about sexual behavior is uncomfortable or embarrassing. When people talk about gay they only discuss its sexual context. However we sometimes ignore that all life on earth consists of sex but then it is only a small part of the bigger picture. Obviously, we overlook the responsible, talented, kind hearted man, the friendship - the total dynamics of love which in my opinion is what that binds us into a society, national identity - A diverse human race.
And gays are not only part of it but may have influenced a lot of norm in the society pivoting from the concept for their own secret survival and existence, and probably a bit or more of fundamentalism hence violence. Coming out and acceptance could make a big difference, but not at the cost of rights and riot, but more of a genteel understanding, again which may take generations to come.
My friend works for a certain bank, married with a daughter and a son and sort of self-righteous about his sexual orientation. When I asked him why he married he had simply replied- “because my mother asked me to”. When I commented on the picture of him & his wife together hanging in his bedroom he grins and comments, “We have to live in a society even though it is not mine.”
His wife is more worried about her old age, and her children then the fidelity of her husband, which is an open secret. And she is more conscientious about keeping things under lid. Obviously she needs a roof over her head and the children need a mother. To quote her “I wish to repent to god for our sins and the future of my children are my priority”.
“Shouldering the responsibilities of a family is not much of a bane in the bone, and of course I love my children” - laments my friend. And he also claims he can pick up any one he fancies.But searching for a perfect lover for life is what depresses my subject. He dreams of the day when he could find someone with whom he could be committed for life. “I love cooking”- he states flatly. I do know for a fact that he always buys a particular mug to serve drinks for his subsequent lovers. As his special friend I also have a mug assigned for me. One cannot help but feel humble for such a gesture.
My friend also has an adopted son (discarded and penniless) age 25, who incidentally is straight, but through an intricate situation my subject believing him to be gay, gave shelter to him. Upon discovery he did not have the heart to throw him out. Now nearly six year into their relationship the adopted son has established himself financially. Intrigued by their relationship, I asked the adopted son that now he is earning does he have plans to move out. “No”, - he says, “How I can leave him now. To everyone he is my father; to me I am all that he has.”
The predicament of my friend brought home a realization that the despite lack of the so called freedom my friend does manage to live a life where he balances both of his life like a skilled juggler. When asked if he is given the rights, will he expose himself? His “of course” rings louder in my ears – when in my opinion the rights would only be premature for my society. Better silence than the chaos and mayhem of freedom. Freedom to me can only be prelude to any existing evolving process of culture and society.
Sharing fuckhas with my friend and his friend living on the other side of my room is an ordinary occurrence. Listening has always been my forte and sharing his story seemed natural. I decided to share it with my camera, my friend obliged.