Sexual Diversity at IIMC: A Reality Check!
LGBTQ+ (short for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) is the umbrella term for the various sexual and gender diversities. The 'plus' is used to signify all gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other five initials. According to the survey, approximately 18% of the student population identifies as LGBTQ+. Of these, 12% identify themselves as Bi-sexual, 2% as homosexual, and 3% as asexual. Another 3% are not sure.
When we talk about LGBTQ+ awareness, we find that 68% of people consider homosexuality to be normal. About 13% of the student believe it is a disorder and another 12% as an unnatural choice. The other perceptions range from personal choice, a special gift, forced and different.
Exploring similar questions about the difference between ‘Sex’ and ‘Gender’, ~75% of the population understands that these have different connotations. Indicatively, ‘Sex’ refers to biological and physiological characteristics, whereas gender is majorly based on behaviour, roles and expectations which exist in society.
This leads us to the effect of societal expectations: nearly 50% of the respondents polled that societal expectations influence their habits and behaviour. Some respondents added that movies, advertisements, and entertainment affect their choices.
Another interesting observation was that though ~40% of us will get offended if someone terms us gay/lesbian for behaviour deviant from traditional gender role expectations, on the contrary, 40% of us have also labelled someone else gay/lesbian for so-called ‘odd’ conduct (or as a form of verbal abuse).
Reflecting at a societal level, 55% of us think that our non-heterosexuals friends would be willing to open up only to their close friends. ~35% of us believe that non-heterosexuals would not be comfortable opening up.
Of the respondents, 86% of people won’t bother if the person staying in an adjacent room is non-straight.
Amongst non-heterosexuals, ~57% of them have faced homophobia/ discrimination/ bullying on account of their sexual orientation. Also, ~21% said their career choices were affected due to their sexual orientation.
Are we inclusive enough?
If a friend comes up to us as non-heterosexual, ~30% of us believe that the friendship would change and things would be different. Of these, ~10% would try to avoid such friends. A few respondents said they would try to convince such friends that they were wrong.
About 30% of respondents think their friends would not be comfortable opening up to them. Surprisingly, 23% of the respondents believe it is right to call someone ‘Tomboy’ or ‘girlish’ because of how they walk or talk.
Interestingly, 71% of the people think that the current resource groups cannot resolve the issues of the LGBTQ+ community on campus. Another interesting fact is that less than 50% of people perceive our institute to be accepting of the LGBTQ+ community in all aspects.
Speaking with CJC, Anindya Longvah, a PGP2 member of Pride of Joka, said, “Even though there is a dedicated support club (PoJ) on campus and the fact that we were the first IIM to host a pride parade, these initiatives end up being perceived as tokenistic at best. The shift has been from outright, visible hostility and opposition to the seemingly gentle “MBA professional” facade of “oh, these activities are an important CSR/diversity inclusion initiative”. Edgy ‘jokes’, uncomfortable questions under the ambit of ‘trying to understand’ and victim blaming are rampant. Change can be possible only when there is actual gender sensitisation training combined with year-long activities and, possibly, compulsory guest lecture sessions. More conversations have to be initiated around the queer space as we all fall into the biggest problem with communication: the illusion that it has taken place and was enough. It is not enough. Without making bolder moves, Joka will never move forward.”
Speaking with CJC, Dakshina RJ, the President of Pride of Joka, said, "It is difficult to bring people together offline to raise awareness. We are partnering with NGOs and other such organisations to expand the resource base and get them on campus to conduct a sensitisation programme. They [LGBTQ+ members] find the campus generally accepting, but they think their friends may ostracise them if they come out in the open. Because of their [students] previous experience, various people find it difficult to empathise with LGBTQ+ community members."
CJC has requested Pride of Joka to share resources which may help raise awareness about this issue. We will add such resources on this page as and when we get them.
Comments from Respondents
Q. Have you faced discrimination due to your sexual orientation at IIMC?
I have never faced discrimination here, mostly because I am not out. But one incident where I felt hopeless and helpless happened during Sangharsh sledging. During the volleyball match of IIMC vs IIML on January 7, the sledging game from both sides was going harshly with obvious sexual slogans etc., thrown at each other from both sides. Amidst this, there was one guy from the IIML team named 'Kicha' on his shirt. He was giving us a tough fight. He had an apparent feminine shade (for the lack of a better phrase) to his walk, which might be due to his body shape (naturally stuck out chest and glutes) and which were getting more and more noticeable as he moved rapidly across the field. Suddenly out of nowhere, a bunch of IIMC morons (Even a few of my friends and at least one studC member) started shouting, 'Kicha chhakka! Kicha chakka!!' In seconds, most of our IIMC crowd hopped onto that sledge and shamelessly kept shouting for minutes. This event has revealed deeper fissures in our Joka community, yet nobody cared or dared to talk about it. It feels like we are less future managers and more dignity nightmares in the making.
Not really, since I'm closeted. During sangharsh, some of the sledges were around calling people "gay", which tells you how being a homosexual is still considered an insult and not normal. It's pretty sad to see educated people studying at a premiere B school not being sensitive enough about this.
A total of 91 students participated in the survey. The survey idea and extracts for various points were sourced from Vox Populi, IITK.
The below definitions have been sourced from veywellmind.com.
• L (Lesbian): A lesbian is a woman/woman-aligned person who is attracted to only people of the same/similar gender.
• G (Gay): Gay is usually used to refer to men/men-aligned individuals who are only attracted to people of the same/similar gender. However, lesbians can also be referred to as gay. The use of term gay became more popular during the 1970s. Today, bisexual and pansexual people sometimes use gay to refer to themselves when discussing their similar gender attraction casually.
• B (Bisexual): Bisexual indicates an attraction to all genders. The recognition of bisexual individuals is essential since there have been periods when people who identify as bi have been misunderstood as gay. Bisexuality has included transgender, binary and nonbinary individuals since the release of the "Bisexual Manifesto" in 1990.
• T (Transgender): Transgender is a term that indicates that a person's gender identity is different from the gender associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.
• Q (Queer or Questioning): Though people may use queer as a specific identity, it is often considered an umbrella term for anyone who is non-cisgender or heterosexual. But it is also a slur. It should not be placed on all community members and should only be used by cisgender and heterosexual individuals when referring to a person who identifies with it. Questioning refers to people who may be unsure of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
• + (Plus): The 'plus' is used to signify all gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other five initials. An example is Two-Spirit, a pan-Indigenous American identity.
LGBTQ+ Acronym Variations
• Other acronym variations that are sometimes used include LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, plus other identities), LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer), and LGBTQQIP2SAA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit (2S), androgynous, and asexual).