Mumbai, 3 December 2015: The right to love is expanding beyond the realm of heterosexual relationships to include homosexual ones. In a six-week long nation-wide survey, 95 per cent of the respondents supported the decriminalization of gay sex and over 70 per cent felt that the world needs to be more open to such relationships and their right to love.
With as many as 3293 respondents (83 per cent under 35 years of age), the survey reflected a deep desire amongst individuals to make their choices when it comes to selecting their lovers or marriage partners. 92 per cent were not averse to arranged marriages but clearly wanted to have a say in rejecting or accepting a proposal.
Conducted over six-weeks by IamwhoIam– a Facebook community – the survey reached out to people residing in different parts of the country including the metros and cities such as Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Jaipur, Dimapur, Nagpur and several others. Titled Freedom to Love, the survey focused on what an individual sought in his emotional life of love.
From this survey, it is apparent that the rejection by parents of a choice made by an individual, in terms of his or her boyfriend or girlfriend, hurt them. 80 per cent expressed such hurt. Almost 60 per cent say parents misunderstand the choices they make when it comes to partners and love. 90 per cent said they wanted their parents on their side and only sought blessings.
The respondents (94 per cent) go on to state that all governments should not just condemn honour killings or acts of violence against those who choose their love or partner, but should have strict laws against such acts.
Even as the survey found that there is a growing voice for one’s freedom to love, speaking or talking about the one you love appeared a bit stifled. 40 per cent say they felt constraint to speak about their partner given the social structure they live in. Another 28 per cent felt that they had to pick an occasion to speak and was not certain they could be free to speak about their ‘love-life’. Some of the respondents felt that their ‘relatives’ would consider it a ‘sin’ to have a lover. A few felt that such discussions were best had with friends but not relatives. And some did not ‘care a damn’ representing the 32 per cent who seemed to push the boundaries of freedom.
Commenting on the findings, the founder of IamwhoIam Sharif D Rangnekar said, “People are becoming possessive about their freedom to love and this is one kind of possessiveness everyone should support. It spreads love and not hatred and that is a good enough reason to respect such choices and not interfere with them.”
The focus of the survey was surmised by a comment from one of the respondents: “taboos are created by people who actually have no business interfering in or judging another's choice. Every individual has the right to choose whom they want to be with, not fearing social norms”.
This is a community aimed at including all the I’s in the We that makes what society is. In short, the community stands for inclusion. The space throws up debates largely at the rights of individuals. These rights could be related to religion, women, sexual minorities or even political ideologies. Everyone has the right to be who he or she is and should be proud to say I Am Who I Am. If we all accept that, then there should be reason for conflict, making this the essence of what the community stands for.