Oscar Wilde – A Short Biography

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After experimenting with different forms, he became one of the most accomplished playwrights in London in the early 1890s. It is quite difficult to encapsulate Wilde’s brilliance in a few short sentences as there is no dearth of literary accomplishments when it comes to him. In his lifetime, he carved a niche for himself churning out several, critically acclaimed masterpieces, the relevance of which are even profound to this day. He went on to make eminent contributions during the aesthetic and decadent movement, making him one of the most prolific writers of his era.

Early life 

Oscar Wilde was born to an Anglo – Irish couple in Dublin, Ireland on October 16, 1856. He had two siblings, an older brother named Willie, and a sister, Isola, who unfortunately died at the age of 10. Wilde’s mother, identified as an Irish nationalist and wrote under the alias, Speranza. She attracted many other intellectuals and artists who frequented her place. The seeds of art, culture and literature were sown in the Wilde kids’ lives quite early on. They learnt to appreciate scholarly conversations by mingling with the guests. Wilde’s childhood left a lasting impression on his life.

Till the age of nine, Wilde was homeschooled. He joined his brother later on at the Portora Royal School. His peers were awed by his disposition, while many considered him a prodigy for his speed reading abilities. 

Contributions to Literature

Wilde is most fondly remembered for the iconic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. He found great fame and fortune after releasing three very successful comedies-  Lady Windermere’s Fan, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Ernest. Also, he authored critical essays like Intentions (1891), and his long letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, De Profundis, several fairy tales and various proses. Later on, he diversified into shorter tales, publishing works like The Happy Prince and Other Tales. In 1891 he published two more collections, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, and A House of Pomegranates. Wilde poured his unmatched wit and dazzling flamboyance into his stories which made his work incredibly engaging for the readers. His illustrious career made him a Victorian celebrity. 

Trial and Conviction 

Wilde’s life was riddled with problems as well as scandals. Although he was married and had two children, he led a double life by being a frequent visitor of male brothels. Homosexuality was a crime in the United Kingdom until the 1960s and the punishment meted out, if convicted, was severe. Lord Alfred Douglas and Oscar Wilde began an affair in secret. Douglas was a British poet and aristocrat, and also 16 years his junior. The romantic tryst was eventually uncovered and Douglas’ father put forth a public accusation by calling Wilde a ‘sodomite’. Wilde sued him for libel, subsequently lost and was found guilty of gross indecency arising from indulgence in homosexuality. Soon he was rounded up and sent to prison, where he spent two very difficult years. He first arrived at Newgate Prison in London and was later shifted to Pentonville Prison. The court had sentenced him to hard labour, which comprised of picking oakum and several hours of walking on the treadmill. After a few months, he was again moved to a different prison where the grueling conditions started taking a toll on his fragile health. On one such day, he collapsed from illness and hunger. The fall ruptured his ear drum, which played a major role in his eventual death.

Later Years 

Following his imprisonment, Wilde was shunned by society and left bankrupt. His immaculate public image was tarnished after the invasive court trials. He spent his last years in Europe, strolling in boulevards and drowning in his miseries. The little money he had was spent on alcohol. Wilde soon died of cerebral meningitis which stemmed majorly from his prison injury, leaving behind a rich legacy. He is a celebrated figure even today.

TRAVAILS OF LOVE

To a significant extent, the difficulties of same-sex love have been a matter of discussion. The horrors perpetrated against these people are numerous and terrible, ranging from bullying to harassment. Promiscuity (indiscriminate sexual partner selection) has been a fundamentally ethical education in and of itself. In so-called “ethical education,” being who you have no place. Even if there are numerous unsolved concerns, the law is unconcerned about them. In the eyes of the law, people’s particular identities are irrelevant. In the case of homosexuals, one partner is nothing more than a friend of the other in the eyes of the law. Following a flurry of rages and discussions, the Indian Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage. It is the culmination of two decades of unrelenting battles. Thousands of people gather every year in February to celebrate LGBTQ pride by rallying on the streets and hope for society to accept them in every state of India. The LGBTQ community is plagued by a slew of issues. The primary issue is getting people outside the community to accept you.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender individuals, queers, intersex, and asexuals are all part of the LGBTQIA community. A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to another woman; a gay is a man who is attracted to another man; a bisexual is a person who is attracted to more than one gender; a transgender is a person whose gender identity differs from the sexual identity assigned to them at birth; Queers are gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender. Intersex refers to a group of circumstances in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not appear to fit the traditional classifications of female and male. Asexual refers to a person who has no sexual desires or sensations. Because the word “queer” denotes “weird,” “odd,” or “funny,” it relates to the degrading of that particular community. It reflects society’s obnoxious and patriarchal attitude toward the LGBT community. The LGBTQ community has been constantly scrutinized by the outside world. We live in a world where LGBTQ persons are reluctant to tell their parents about their sexual orientation. Every year, a large number of LGBT persons confront significant challenges such as assault, unemployment, prejudice, poverty, and a lack of access to health care. This is due to the discriminatory behavior of society, which instills the people’s mentality. Many people still have no idea what LGBTQ is or what it stands for. Even if a large number of people are educated, others remain illiterates in this subject, despite their acceptance. ‘Gay abandon’ is a relatively common occurrence.

Homosexuality was once considered a felony in India, thanks to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offenses,’ and states that anybody who voluntarily engages in sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal shall be punished with life imprisonment or imprisonment of either sort for a term up to ten years, as well as a fine. This exemplifies the morality enshrined in India’s constitution.

lgbtqia+ community in india

This is the best time around to write about this. Although the pride month is dedicated to queer rights, they sadly have to fight for their right to existence 24/7 and not only for a single month in the year. And as our laws are turning progressive day by day, giving us all hopes, the general mindset of our country just isn’t.

The people (especially of India) like to dismiss this topic in the name of preserving their “culture.” So here, we are going to talk about-if our culture really prohibits homosexuality or not. I am mainly going to talk about hinduism in this article since I am one and I can speak out the perspective.

I have heard the saying ” Homosexuality is a foreign concept” in my life enough number of times to do a proper research on it. But is it really?

The research proves out to be quite conflicting. It is now being said that the stigma around homosexuality and sex education is, in fact, a foreign concept “gifted” to us by the britishers when they colonized us. The liberals keep their perspective that homosexuality and even polyamory was “recognized” in the ancient history of India, and they keep forward various ancient carvings, books and art as proof.

While on the other side of the spectrum, some people have argued that the carvings were made by poor carvers who projected their knowledge and fantasies through their art, since talking about it was socially unacceptable at that time. The truth can actually fall on any side of the spectrum but we can’t be oblivious to the fact that our gods did not forbid homosexuality either. In fact, they represented the communities.

“Many deities in Hinduism and Indian epics are represented as both male and female at different times and in different incarnations or may manifest with characteristics of both genders at once, such as Ardhanarishvara, created by the merging of the god Shiva and his consort Parvati whose half right body is full male body and half left body is full.

Many chronicles of changes in sex and polyamory are often found both in traditional religious narratives such as the Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas as well as in regional folklore. But then again, there are no direct mentions and so, these interpretations might go on to hurt religious sentiments.

Regardless of whether our pasts and religions have shown proves of supporting the community or not, our society should unfold to progress towards a world where all human beings are valid and loved. Because in my interpretation of a “religion”, peace and love comes before beliefs and rules. God supports humans who support other humans in overcoming their battles in life.

  1. Moral education- We have been pressing on the topic of proper sex education in schools while letting the importance of home values and life skills slip. Because education starts at home and that’s where a child is mainly raised. Although, moral education in schools is very good start, it should be modified to not only focus on children, but on parents as well.
  2. Better inclusion in the parliaments and mainstream media – People and especially children need to realize that the people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community are also normal human beings like them and are capable of handling honorable positions.
  3. Inclusion of struggles and stories in the curriculum- Children need to know from the very beginning that this world has been pretty cruel and this world needs determined people to bring about a change which is the need of the hour.
  4. Individual change- Speak up against any prejudice in your households or anywhere else. The topic of homosexuality is pretty massive, so don’t step back when it comes to educating yourself and other people about this.

“Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.” – Barbara Gittings

Because nobody gets the right to prohibit someone else from living their lives. So just keep spreading love !

Chasing The Rainbow: A New Era And A New Fight for India’s LGBTQ Communities

“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.”

-Jason Collins

India’s Supreme Court last year struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law that outlawed same-sex relations, sparking hopes of equality for the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population. Hundreds of students with rainbows painted on their faces descended on a New Delhi college on Friday and others held parties in major Indian cities to commemorate the overturning of the ban on gay sex.

However, once all the celebrations and merrymaking faded into the background and harsh reality set in, it became apparent that homosexuality in India wasn’t going to be about unicorns and rainbows anytime soon. Even those beating drums and dancing warned that the fight for equal rights, including same-sex marriage and serving in the military, had not been won.

After all they still cannot marry, they still cannot adopt. They have many, many years before any of this is over. The harsh truth still remains that even though LGBTQ activists are growing in numbers, acceptance is still elusive as they continue struggle against internalized homophobia.

So, “where does this homophobia stem from?” and “how bad can it be?” you may ask.

One of the root causes of homophobia is that we, as a society, are unaware of homosexuality. We live in a time and place where people call each other gay to mock and insult them. A decade ago, gay and eunuch were used interchangeably and people were highly ignorant and intolerant towards homosexuality. My classmates often gossiped about (Bollywood producer and director) Karan Johar and (actor) Shahrukh Khan. It was a subject of ridicule and mockery. The stereotypical portrayal of gay and effeminate men in Johar’s movies was in unfair representation of the queer community. Even the popular sitcom FRIENDS was riddled with casual and sometimes blatant homophobia. “Gay” and “LGBTQ” still conjure images and connotations of loud, cackling men in gaudy drag costumes in India, partly because that is the only representation LGBT people get to have.

There’s also lack of sensitisation about the LGBTQ+ community. If they had a dime for each time someone told them that it’s “just a phase” or “why someone from the same gender, it’s not like you are deprived”, they probably could afford to move to a more accepting country. When I was in school, there was a guy who was often severely bullied by the “masculine” classmates because he was effeminate. Kids who weren’t “manly enough” were often a subject to ridicule and bash. No one stopped that. People thought it was normal and the right thing to do. This isn’t surprising though, given that even now there are people who find hijras scary.

The LGBTQ+ community also suffers from lack of support from their family. As a result, their only options are either getting excommunicated if they come out or remaining closeted which can be extremely draining.

They suffer from religious dogmatism. India is a secular country. Every major religion in India condemns homosexuality. It must no doubt be petrifying to live in a place which has more than 330 million gods and yet you can count on neither one of them for their blessings.

The arduous journey to acceptance becomes even more strenuous when you try discussing and rationalizing homosexuality to those intolerant towards it and reach the realization that the minds of recalcitrant homophobes are incapable of processing things beyond black and white. They need that sharp dichotomy. Without it, they panic. They feel adrift, as if nothing is sacred anymore. Which is, of course, ridiculous. But anyway, that whole thing comes from an “us or them” mentality, in which they’re the righteous and anyone who disagrees with them is clearly a secret homosexual out to convert their children to dance around a fire with Satan.

It appears that we have become obsessed in this toxic society with the labelling of others, especially with an intense and revolting over- interest in the sexuality and gender orientation of others what happened to the idea of loving our neighbours unconditionally and paying more attention to developing our own selves in good ways? After all, to change the world we change ourselves in ways that enable us to love others all the more. So let us drop the facade of “morality”, the wilting fig leaf over such garish homophobia, and have no agenda on the LGBTQ community.

Screenshot_20200730-124228_Samsung Internet

Diversity is good, and it’s okay to be different from the norm.