From tolerance to acceptance: Homosexuality at IITK

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.

Written by Samarth Bansal and Bhanu Pratap Singh Tanwar

  • gg77

    1. ‘Most studies have been carried out in Western countries and they report a wide range — anything between 2% and 13% of the population exhibits same sex preference.’
    2. ‘India has 2.5m gay people, government tell SC’ – BBC report (here – that translates to 0.004%, i.e. 24 gays in IITK.
    3. The reason 6-7% of gay people get AIDS is not to due to lack of awareness but because they are gay i.e. anal-sex. study in john-hopkins suggests the following –
    ‘ there is an 18 times greater risk of HIV transmission through anal sex than through vaginal sex, which may explain why the virus continues to thrive in gay men, despite the fact that they still receive the bulk of HIV awareness and treatment public-health messages.’ (here-

    • Samarth Bansal

      Point 1, 2: Indian society in general refrains from talking about sexuality, forget homosexuality. Most of the homosexuals remain in closet, due to societal pressure, and hence, it is little difficult for me to believe the govt data. Second, though I am not sure, but homosexuality doesn’t have geographical or cultural connections. Homosexuality is natural, and hence, I will still continue to base my calculations on data from Western Countries. But point is not really about the number. Even if they are 24 in number, will we accept them as part of our community? That’s important.

      Point 3: I never said awareness. And the reason why 7% percent population has AIDS is also correct. Homophobia, that is, hatred or fear of homosexuals, prevents them from coming out and hence accessing health care. If gay men felt safe disclosing their sexual risk to doctor, they might get a better treatment, at the right time.

      • gg77

        for argument’s sake, lets say some guys are ‘potential homosexuals’, Now, if the culture is open, the ‘true’ nature of these people comes out. the first step towards homosexuality can’t be sex, it probably begins gradually. Now if the society is accepts this behavior, it then picks up from there. similarly, if there is a social taboo then this behavior is probably suppressed at a pre-mature stage and the potential homosexual doesn’t quite fulfill the potential. point being, there is a strong case to be made for homosexuality depending on geography and in turn culture. western societies being more open and having higher acceptance than that of ours are perhaps a better home to homosexuals.
        That said, true, 120 or 24, doesn’t take away the essence of the article.

    • Sanket00

      Have you just quoted the figures given by the government ? The same government that criminalizes same sex intercourse ? Great research work.

      0.004% ? Well, Iran and Russia have even less… if we look at the government figures.

      • gg77

        so maybe i should just rely on the gossip times of india.
        indian government is quite clearly more accountable than iranian or russian counterparts. and just because the GoI has a view not matching with yours, doesn’t mean it loses all the credibility.
        besides, iran is guided by islamic ideology, which quite clearly are against homosexuals, so, on their part to admit the presence of homos is a poor reflection of their own work.
        start understanding, stop being condescending.

        • Sanket00

          The Times of India is just quoting all the serious sociological studies that have been made worldwide, for the past 20 years. But then your answer to that was these figures can only apply to “western countries”.

          But think about this. Only 50 years back these “western countries” were criminalizing same sex intercourse and gave the same kind of figures as India is today giving.

          How do you explain that ?

          • gg77

            50 years is a long time in cultural history. 50 years ago is 2 generations, long enough to diminish the perception to a small fraction. lgbt rights movements, spread of their cause through tv, internet, media have made this spread exponential and hence high %

          • Sanket00

            “media have made this spread exponential and hence high percentage” ? You mean homosexuals found a way to procreate ? Tell me more.

            All the things you’ve quoted have increased the VISIBILITY of the homosexuals in western countries, it did not increase their NUMBER. Same thing will happen in India.

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