COMPHET - COMPULSORY HETEROSEXUALITY
Compulsory heterosexuality - it is the idea that heterosexuality is assumed and enforced by a patriarchal and heteronormative society.
I was born and raised in India. I’d had almost 2 decades of being raised in a nation where queer people were and are still not equal by law. For a very long time, I mistook myself as a cisgender straight female because of an upbringing in very conservative surroundings. The idea of a man with a woman was so deeply ingrained in me primarily because of the existence of comphet.
Problems queer people face due to comphet :
The problems are not just personal but also political and social.
The invisibility of non-het individuals
No basic human rights
Physical and mental abuse so severe that some even rethink their career choices and consider moving to a different country.
Role of Patriarchy in Promoting Compulsory Heterosexuality :
It is the principal factor that fosters compulsory heterosexuality by rejecting women’s sexuality. It keeps them under a patriarchal cloud disabling them to explore.
The ideas like :
To produce offspring, a woman should be married to a man.
To satisfy a man’s needs and wants, a woman should marry under a patriarchal society where a man earns bread for the family and the woman takes care of him.
Women are considered property in our society. Before marriage their father’s properties and after marriage their husband’s property.
They’re merely treated as transaction objects.
Compulsory heterosexuality forces a woman to be dependent on a man
It creates certain roles and ideas that a man and a woman must fit into a certain bracket perfectly which is unviable to adhere to.
Toxic Masculinity :
It substantially affects questioning, non-het males because they’ve been taught from childhood that “straightness” is “normal” and anything other than it is completely abnormal
Certain Indian Practices that PromotesCompulsory Heterosexuality :
1) Religion and Culture: Tormenting and outcasting queer people in the name of religion and culture.
2) Bollywood: Misogyny, patriarchy, and sexism are deeply rooted in Bollywood cinema.
There are very few to no Bollywood movies where contributions from and representations of the LGBTQ+ community are noticeable.
Movies like Dangerous and Laxmi Bomb are very problematic.
Dangerous - It is purely fetishizing of lesbian women and it inevitably takes away from the core intent of empowering them and rather exacerbates the situation.
Laxmi Bomb - A cisgender straight male is given the role of a trans person. A place where they have zero credibility and are instead suppressing their voices by their corrupted ways even though they might have positive intentions.
3) Patriarchal ritual practices.
4)Trivialised use of gender and sexual orientation slurs and using it as insults
What can we do about it?
1) We need to realize that LGBTQ+ is an extensive spectrum and not just boil it down to gay men and lesbian women.
2)Passing the mic to queer people and letting them speak.
3)Adding pronouns on social media accounts and correcting people when they unknowingly misgender someone.
4) Acknowledging the difference between Fetishizing and empowering the queer population.
5)Educating your family members and friends and correcting them when they use slurs or sometimes unknowingly add a patriarchal, misogynistic remark.
These micro-level adaptations are potential enough to bring a radical change.
6)Incorporation of the lgbtq+ community in academics could reduce stereotypes and prejudice against the lgbtq+ population.
It could offer students who are a part of the community a safer environment without discrimination.
It will challenge concepts like comphet, cisnormativity, sexism, patriarchy.
This will help society change from misunderstanding to embracing/accepting. Writer - Charmy Savla Editor - Priyam Kusundal Graphics - Thea Sinsin