Friday, April 4, 2014

377 not just another number

11 December 2013  : A sad day for Indian judiciary and indian LGBTQ community when the highest court in country set aside a ruling Section 377 of Indian Law which criminalizes sex "against the order of nature" including homosexual acts. My personal reaction was being heartbroken and loosing all hopes for being an out and proud gay man in my own country. I thank the friend(s) who did give me some support and advised not to give up. What surprised me however was the reaction of newspapers and media after the verdict. With debates and editorials showing support for the LGBTQ community and strongly criticizing the supreme court verdict. 

What was even more surprising was even some politicians coming in support for the LGBTQ community who usually shy away from addressing such issues. One might say that the politicians who did come in support are eying the general elections and trying to woo the LGBTQ community for the same. But lets look at the facts now :

1. The supreme court has tossed the ball in the court of parliament for repelling the section 377 and most politicians don't find the issue of gay rights commendable enough to be given any heed. 
2. The current ruling party which has come in support for reviewing the law is bound to be outvoted next year in elections.
3. The review petition being submitted was reviewed by supreme court and like majority of the review petition it was rejected by the court.
4. The  party which is projected to come to power next year is against reviewing the law and supports that homosexuality should be criminalized.
5. A recent news announced that the Chief Justice of India will allow curative petition against the ruling in open court rather than in private chambers which is a ray of hope for the LGBTQ community.

In view of these facts I personally feel that we as a LGBTQ community will have to fight more rigorously for our rights. A big hurdle i find is to change the perspective of the society at large against the LGBTQ rights, which is ignorant and mostly hostile. It is only when the larger society finds that how many us are out there and realize that it's not about just sex that we can fight for our rights better. For this to happen everyone has to realize that we need to come out of the closet. I know many people argue that one's sexual preference should be a private matter but we do have to realize only by coming out can we as a community can fight this battle. 

I have been doing my small part by coming out to friends and colleagues and the reactions have been very positive. I urge fellow queerions to come out and show our strength in numbers, at gay events, gay prides marches and at root level trying to educate the people around you.

As india goes to elections soon it is encouraging to see parties including gay rights and 377 in their election manifesto. It will be very interesting to see how the results turn out , we have to wait till May 16 and see.

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