This might be counter-intuitive for many, but there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance.
Being tolerant means that you don’t agree with a particular thing, maybe you consider it wrong. But you can live with it. You allow the existence of conflicting beliefs. Acceptance, is giving approval. No protest, no reaction. Tolerance indicates hatred, whereas acceptance maps to love.
Yes, you can tolerate something without accepting it.
“You can legislate tolerance – you can’t legislate acceptance. That takes a societal shift.”
Talk about homosexuality. Is it ‘accepted’ by the community of IIT Kanpur?
According to a report by The Times of India, anything between 2% and 13% percent of the population exhibits same sex preference.
Food for thought : Going by numbers, how many homosexual individuals are there on the campus? There are over 6000 registered students in IIT Kanpur for this semester. If you are very conservative, taking the 2% mark, you will get an unrealistic number of 120 homosexuals.
Now, what are the chances that one of your friend is still in the closet? Think about it.
Well, if you believe that you do not have any homosexual friend, you might have done a numerical mistake. I encourage you to do the calculation again.
Personally, I know of one homosexual student at IITK. Just one. I am pretty sure majority of the junta doesn’t know any. But how would we? Have we ever cared? Have we tried to build a community which accepts homosexuality? I find this concerning. We talk about it everyday. DOGA? It might be fun for you to tag your wingie with the title DOGA. But the way that term is used, is good enough for a homosexual to believe that our community just finds humour in homosexuality, forget accepting it.
About 7% of the gay population is HIV positive, and homophobia against them make it more difficult to access health care. Suicide is rampant among young gay people who feel rejected by their family and friends – most of them are too afraid to speak out.
Let me get back to the title of this post. From tolerance to acceptance. Let me give you an example. Tolerance is when institute “allows” one to bring a same sex date to say a ball night. Acceptance is when the classmates don’t whisper and laugh when you dance. Homosexuality needs to be accepted, not tolerated.
I will leave you with a question to ponder about : How many lives could you make significantly better just by talking more seriously with your friends about homosexuality?
That takes a societal shift.