A sizeable number of students from one of India's premier science institutions, IIT Bombay, believe that homosexuality can be cured, a survey has revealed.
In all likelihood, the survey probably reflects the larger picture as well: as a society we can 'tolerate', or even be okay with homosexuality, as long as it does not affect our lives directly and as long as no one close to us happens to belong to the LGBTQ community.
Shreerang Javadekar, Chief Editor of Insight said to HuffPost India, "We wanted to know about the understanding that the student community here has of the LGBTQ community. Our LGBTQ community might be a minority, but it is a significant one. IIT-B is one of the first IITs to have an LGBTQ resource group."
As Javadekar points out, members of the LGBTQ community were also involved in the process of making the survey.
To begin with, the findings were somewhat positive. Even though 37% of students believe that homosexuality is against our culture, a good number — 79% are comfortable with an open LGBTQ culture on the campus. Better still, 93% of the respondents do not really have a problem with what members of the LGBTQ community do in the confines of their rooms.
A staggering 71% of the participants believe that LGBTQ people can be good parents, but 52% also agreed that exposure to LGBTQ people could affect a child's sexuality.
Even though 79% are comfortable with the free LGBTQ culture on the campus, 39% of the respondents were not okay with their children being taught by a member of the LGBTQ community. Further, 46% — almost half — of the respondents said they would be uncomfortable with having a member of the LGBTQ community as a roommate.
Ironically, 48% of the respondents strongly agreed that the LGBTQ community needs support to fight the difficulties they face, while, on the whole, a grand 92% were on the positive or the neutral side of the issue.
When the respondents were asked if they would raise their voices against anti-LGBTQ people, 59% of the respondents replied in a positive manner, although the responses were not forceful, and a dismal 30% remained neutral on the issue. This, as pointed out in the beginning, only goes on to highlight our collective attitude toward the LGBTQ community.
The most surprising finding is that 38% of students believe that homosexuality can be cured. Although the majority of the respondents strongly disagreed, one cannot dismiss this sizeable number of respondents who believe otherwise.
However, Javadekar mentions that unlike the impression one might get from the survey, it is important to note that a majority of the students are accommodating and are comfortable with the LGBTQ culture of the institution. And that has to count for something.
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