Tuesday, 22 July 2014

LGBT Rights in India: An Endless Debate That Needs to Be Addressed Sensibly!

LGBT (Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender) Rights have always been an issue of serious debate in our nation. Especially among the youth! Homosexual intercourse is considered a criminal offence under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code since 1860. Yet, mental, physical, emotional and economic violence against LGBT community in India prevails shamelessly. Lacking support from family, society or police many gay rape victims stay silent.

Supreme Court brutally chose to throw the 2009 ruling of Delhi High Court out of the window where Gay Sex was legitimated because it was concluded that 377 was a direct violation to the Basic Fundamental Rights provided by the Constitution of India. But the irrational judgment passed by Supreme Court on 11th December 2013 (11.12.13), instigated unyielding reactions from lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender communities from across the nation. After this stern verdict where the authorities decided the fate of homosexuals in the country behind the closed doors, things have worsened further.

The question remains that in the worldwide celebrated land of Kamasutra where sexuality in whatever form it may come is fĂȘted, how gay sex between two consenting individuals becomes a crime?

Youth of the nation have especially been disappointed at this meaningless ruling. World’s largest democracy which speaks of and endorses fundamental rights in strident voice, denies the fulfillment of basic physical needs to a certain section of the society just because they do not fall in the lines of law laid down by the nature. Why are we still holding onto the British Colonial Law when Britain also decriminalized homosexual liaison between two consenting adults in a remarkable judgment way back in 1967?

Here in India there was never any law dubbing homosexuality a punishable offense before section 377 of the Indian Penal Code came into existence, banning 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature'. LGBT Rights came to a huge question mark after this section was imposed forcefully. I feel this is a black spot on the democracy and human rights of every homosexual individual in India. We must stop ranting about the human rights and start believing in Hitler-Raj!

Image courtesy : www.epthinktank.eu

Such a regressive and oppressive decision has not only pushed the LGBT community in a corner, but it also meant that we are clearly denying a respectful life to the certain members of the society where the decision making thought process is based on age-old phony biases.

How foolish it sounds that Supreme Court of India will decide who one should fall in love with! It’s clearly seen that the judgment will instigate more suicides and nothing else. We all anticipated 11.12.13 to be a day to remember, but now the LGBT community will always remember it as a black day. Who and what gives anybody a right to criminalize an individual’s sexual orientation?

India is pronounced as world’s largest democracy where citizens feel privileged to offer shelter to refugees from other countries, we are known to be the most tolerant nation of all and yet we stand against the basic fulfillments of our own citizens’ rights and enforce the highest court of law against them to give such a regressive decision? The decision has turned the tables for now. But, there might be a revolution and the LGBT community will surely fight back.

In fact a food for thought experiment could have been brought to the surface if Supreme Court had delivered a progressive verdict. AT least 18 former colonies of Britain who still follow the archaic law would have taken the inspiration and dissolved any such rulings detrimental to the society as a whole.

Someone has to take a lead somewhere!

Onir, a brilliant film-maker born in Samchi, a small town in Bhutan on the 30th April, 1969, a graduate student of Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University in 1989 took the initiative and made a remarkable film in 2004 that showcased the complete gay scenario intensely! "My brother Nikhil" became the first Indian main stream film that addressed the issue of homosexuality apart from dealing with issues of Human rights and HIV AIDS. Yash Raj Films released this film on 25th March, 2005.

The film fetched many international awards:

Saathi Rainbow Film Festival , Kolkatta (Best Director)
Audience Choice Award, Leceister (UK)
2nd Audience Choice Award, Hamburg LGBT Film Festival
2nd Audience Choice Award, Bremen LGBT Film Festival
Winner Jury Award, Best Film

These accolades clearly portray that law is trying to suppress something which can be celebrated if legalized and much damage to the modern society can be evaded.

We have to accept that LGBT is a reality today. It is acceptable and is very much accepted too. It is not to be marginalized, mocked, revered or feared. When it is so omnipresent, isn't it completely reprehensible to criminalize it? If someone prefers yellow roses to red, could that be criminalized? Or if they prefer ice cream over cake, is it criminal? Sexual preference and orientation is a thoroughly personal matter and no one other than the involved parties has the right to know or comment on it. The choice to share this information about oneself is individual and being privy to this information does not give any outsider a right to pass judgment on it or label the person in derogation.

Life is enriched by differences and time has come to embrace the rainbow.

Wake Up India!

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