All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
This hymn reverberated in my mind almost every time I found myself walking the hallowed corridors of my alma mater. We would sing it at assembly every morning, and not merely for the sake of it. Back then, I think we all believed in its powerful message of inclusivity. A word used loosely today, almost as though it might be some sort of slang.
On another note, I watched Titanic in theatres recently, as part of its 25th year celebrations. Only a few souls were watching the movie. Yet, so much soul in the movie.
A particular scene comes to mind. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack Dawson, is invited to hobnob with the first class passengers for dinner, owing to his gallantry in saving a certain gentleman’s lady (Rose DeWitt Bukater, played by Kate Winslet) from a terrible fall into the Atlantic Ocean. Jack from “third class” mingles with the rich as though he were one of the gentry. Rose’s twerp of a fiance has only moments ago opined that Jack could “almost” pass off as a gentleman.
Love continues to be crippled by prejudice, even in 2023Pixabay
While Leo and Kate’s tale was entirely fictional, social prejudices shortly after the Victorian era had concluded (at the time of the actual Titanic sinking, in 1912) were still rather harsh. A hundred years on, terms like “third class” still persist. Prejudices abound in this day and age. As when speaking of the various sexual orientations people identify themselves with. You can bet your bottom dollar you have not heard even half of them. So, here are some, peppered with a dash of some of the romantic kind, too.
A person who experiences romantic love for another. I think I’ve been one all my life.
No, not people who love Demi Moore! These guys experience sexual attraction only after forging an emotional connection. Like Kate and Leo in Titanic. It’s a case of “feeling someone” (engaging in physical relations is more apt) only after being able to “feel something” for them.
Sexuality that is in a constant state of flux implies you are beyond labelling. Move over Gucci and Balenciaga Love. The very inspiration for love is here — its source from which to draw an apparent potpourri of possibilities.
Sexuality that is in a constant state of flux implies you are beyond labellingShutterstock
The opposite end of the spectrum from yours truly. Though as long as they have empathy for others, there is nothing quite stopping the aromantic from being in a healthy relationship. Just cannot imagine someone not enjoying Shakespeare. But hey, whatever floats your boat!
When you do not have any sexual attraction to anyone, you are asexual. They say it is normal to feel. Well, it is normal to not feel, too!
Labels around sexual orientation have found wider articulation in recent years, thanks largely to online conversationsPixabay
If you have the potential to foster an emotional, sexual or romantic connection with a person of any sexual orientation or gender identity, you are pansexual. Cannot get over the seemingly appropriate nature of the name. Like ordering Pan Fried Noodles in a restaurant. Not your typical Hakka or Ramen. But somewhere in between.
You must have heard of this one because you have proudly worn this badge in silence all your life. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you are respectful of other sexualities. Opposites attract? Well, they do apply to the definition here, of people being attracted to those of the opposite gender. What if you cannot share the bedroom at night because he wants the air conditioner at full blast and she cannot even stand the fan? Well, you have got a problem there!
This one has gotten a pretty bad rap of late. Derived from the Greek “homos” (not hummus), not to be confused with Homo Sapiens (although these people are every bit a part of the latter tribe). In essence, people attracted to those of the same sex. A bit outdated and a tad offensive this term. Like calling an American Indian a Red Indian.
‘Homosexual’ has gotten a pretty bad rap of late — a bit outdated and a tad offensive this termShutterstock
You have probably heard of bisexual. But the new term is multisexual, taking under its umbrella people sexually attracted to more than one gender. Nothing “fluid” about this. At any given point in John’s life, he is attracted to Jack, and to Jill, too.
These folk are attracted to only nonbinary people. Nonbinary folk are those that do not identify clearly as male or female. Mind you, while some nonbinary people might have an operation and be labelled transgender, not all transgender people identify as nonbinary. Who says love programs can be written with only 1s and 0s?
Not quite sure yet about your sexuality? No problem. You are ever-questioning, like that little child who sits with their father on the promenade on a winter night and asks him questions about the moon and the stars. Go ahead, explore your sexuality. Life’s entree is served best with a side of adventure!
People are usually scared of what is different, even in loveUnsplash
Rose Dawson (I much prefer this name that is linked with her lover’s at the end of the movie, die hard romantic that I am) is severely scorned by her mother and her fiance for falling for a person not of their class. Does she even care? No! She is who she is and eventually finds her heart gravitating back to Jack’s. It is a pity their union is destined to be short-lived, but that is another story.
People are scared of what is different, and they try their best to demean those on the basis of that very difference. Like they do with a sexuality they cannot fathom. I only hope the next generation finds itself beyond discrimination of all kinds. If it takes Instagram influencers to make something like that happen, then so be it.
As I bid adieu to you, here is that most beloved hymn of mine from childhood once more, this time tweaked for the sake of this essay.
All loves bright and beautiful,
All lovers great and small,
All loves wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all…
Rohit Trilokekar is a novelist from Mumbai who flirts with the idea of what it means to love. His heart’s compass swerves ever so often towards Kolkata, the city he believes has the most discerning literary audience.