Growing up most of us have known only one store-bought brand of sexuality. As children, a majority of us have been brought up in overtly heterosexual households, where the norm is that a man is meant to be with a woman and a woman with a man.
It’s the only reality people grow up believing and becomes the only reality they end up, unfortunately, accepting.
Sexual identity is pretty easy to define in words; it refers to how one thinks of themselves in terms of who they are romantically or sexually attracted to. It can also refer to sexual orientation identity where individuals identify or dis-identify with a sexual orientation or may even choose not to identify with one at all. However the development of alternate sexual identities (those that are not heterosexual) is a very complex and difficult process. This is in large owing to being conditioned to accept heterosexualilty as the norm. The communities in which queer individuals are raised are often ignorant and as a result of this, even intolerant of an alternative sexual identity. So much so that the process of developing a healthy sexual identity is grievously hindered by a lack of acceptance by the community (which stems from stigmatisation), leaving individuals woefully unprepared to grapple with the confusion that arrives with sorting out one’s sexual identity. Such developmental setbacks during formative years naturally would have severe repercussions on such persons and may cause issues in the future.
While the fight for the right of queer persons continues and more and more people are taking the onus to educate themselves and support the community, we are far from achieving normalisation of alternate sexual identities. The fact that I must make use of the terms ‘alternate’ or ‘other’ to better convey my point is in itself a testament to that.
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About the Author.
Ankita Agarwal is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.