When in US, accept their trends
Students going to America from a comparatively conservative society like India should comprehend the trends evolving in the US society and culture...
Students going to America from a comparatively conservative society like India should comprehend the trends evolving in the US society and culture like the LGBT way of life When I moved into Chennai in 1985, I came to know of an American gentleman who was living with his American male partner. People in a traditional city like Chennai were naturally curious about their relationship. As I interacted with the American gentleman on more than one occasion, I personally understood that the "couple" was often disturbed by the "whispers" going around about them and could not move as freely as they wanted to in the city. Twenty years have passed by. Both of them left Chennai and another American gentleman came into the same neighbourhood; and again, with a male American partner. This couple was not as hesitant as the earlier one. They moved about very freely like any other wife and husband; attended parties together; openly mentioned to every friend and contact that they were partners-for-life; and above all, took a leading role in building up a movement in Chennai to help protect the rights of the LGBT (Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people. Over a period of about two decades, the LGBT people in America have not only crossed the initial barriers of hesitation and social stigma but also reached a new height from where they could talk boldly to the rest of the world that their "relationships" are as normal as that of others. Students who are going to America from a comparatively conservative society like India should quickly comprehend the newest horizons and trends evolving in the US society and culture like the LGBT way of life. Else, they will not only suffocate themselves as a fish-out-of-water but also humiliate queer people around them. LGBT people have gained nationwide solidarity in America. Few States in the US have already legalised the same-sex marriages within their jurisdiction. The issue has evoked enormous interest again as it has come up for the consideration of the US Supreme Court this week. Though the US Immigration and Nationality Act has not yet recognised the same-sex marriages, student advisors in several American universities also help international students, on an if-asked basis, to explore alternative visas to enable their same-sex spouse, as the case may be, to accompany them to America. All the universities in the US enforce a non-discrimination policy and same-sex married partners enjoy full access to the same benefits and privileges just as different-sex married partners on university campuses. The rainbow or the pink triangle indicates gay pride and solidarity in the US. A recent study has indicated that Americans are gradually seeing homosexuality not as a choice but as a way some people are. More and more Americans have also been approving gay and lesbian couples to get married legally. But majority Americans are unanimous that the US Supreme Court should give a common ruling for the entire country to abide by on a significant issue like granting legal status to same-sex marriages (instead of each individual State pronouncing its own decision). For the information of students who are, for sure, going to mingle with people from LGBT community on the US university campuses, gay marriages have so far been legally sanctioned in nine states and the District of Columbia (DC) in the US Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington; and the District of Columbia�DC). Rhode Island extends recognition to same-sex marriages conducted outside of its jurisdiction. California had earlier sanctioned same-sex marriages but later reversed it to a "conditional basis." Three Native American tribes have also legally approved same-sex marriages. The Karane and Jamelle Thomas-Williams' "same-sex marriage case" which has been under the scrutiny of the US Supreme Court this week is also worth following by international students who opt to pursue higher education in the Land of Freedom sooner or later. It would be very useful for them as it gives a glimpse of the most accurate and current trends in the United States with regard to an important cultural transition. Karane and Jamelle Thomas-Williams married last October but their employers have not accorded due and legal recognition to their wedlock. Karane is serving as a Metropolitan Police officer and Jamelle is in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. As Jamelle has been a federal (central government) employee, the same-sex couple could not avail federal perks (like joint tax returns, family medical leave, health insurance etc) as being drawn by all married heterosexuals. Let us watch keenly how the US Supreme Court deals with this key issue for the American society.