6 September 2018, the date of the battle of love, half won. The judgment day when Section 377 of The Indian Penal Code was decriminalised. Section 377 states that Unnatural offenses- Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. On the 6th the supreme court verdict decriminalised the portion of this section relating to consensual homosexual sex between adults. This colonial-era ban on gay sex was legalised in British India back in 1861, making sexual acts ‘against the order of nature’ illegal.
It has been a year, celebrated with pride parades, face painting festivals, rainbow cakes, and happiness, but is the fight for justice over?
India has been a country where talking about homosexuality is simply ‘dirty’. Before September 2018, even the court had the right to call it unnatural, when did the court qualify to decide for nature? They say “We were born this way” and you call it against the order of nature. The court made it legal to have consensual physical homosexual relations, but it doesn’t mean the society hasn’t been the judge and jury with its provisions do not accept this relation. At least with this being legalised, they have a right to say something if pointed fingers at, yet there remains a long road with hurdles of narrow mindedness to reach the destination of social acceptance.
Since school years, people do not seem to even consider the fact that someone among them might like the same gender. The word gay often used as a slang by most school or college going individuals to make fun of someone. Gay, an abuse. A bruise to the one who belongs to the community and might be right beside you, it shatters their self-worth. Gay, often used to denote the entire rainbow community, LGBTQ+, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and some who do not feel like name tagging their sexuality or preferences. This community is treated as if they are different from normal. What is normal? Isn’t it someone who lives their life how they want to, without hurting someone else, being capable of loving someone? Here, loving someone is a crime, hating on someone is not criminalised, now is it?
Love is blind, a true statement for normal (heterosexual) couples, Love is impure, true for homosexuals… The entire mindset of people towards the community is where these seeds from. Acceptance, it doesn’t come without realisation and understanding of something, the society just prefers to blind its eyes to them and tries to live in a world without homosexuality.
‘I feel caged’, ‘No one loves me’, ‘I should pray to get rid of this disease’, ‘Will I go to hell?’, the list of questions goes on and on in the mind of a child who was just learning about love, experimenting and trying to understand himself or herself. The society, their schools, their own families make them believe that their natural self is wrong and they need to change, or else they are just disowned. Parents assume, my boy will marry a beautiful girl once he grows up, what if their boy falls in love with another boy? his parents fall out of love for him, they tell him to leave their house. The LGBT community suffers from childhood, often ending up staying in the closet. Imagine having to lie about your name to someone, forced to believe you are someone else, it is what they do every minute of their life lest brave enough to handle the hatred from people around.
Marriage, a true bond of love, a celebration for others, a crime for them. Though the decriminalisation of section 377 brings some hope for the community, the war for winning the trophy of being able to love freely will take more amendments. The physical act between homosexuals being legal doesn’t mean it is enough, they should have the right to love in the true sense, having the right to marry someone they love. Same-sex marriage was legalised in all 50 states in the US, as the rainbow flags waved high with pride. Countries like Austria, Canada, Columbia, France, Germany and a total of 24 nations. But there remain countries with worse off situations than ours.
Despite all the problems, a fight to be fought for love and struggle to survive with respect in societies, people are fighting for the cause, from the very first step where Naz Foundation started this fight for justice in 2001, to the support that the community is getting through social media. Youtube, a common platform for young LGBT community members to express themselves and support each other, many get the motivation to live their lives out of the closet and to love themselves. Ellen Degeneres, one of the most famous hosts of live television shows, came out of the closet in front of millions of people, facing criticism back then, but continuing fight for her respect has come such a long way, being married to a woman, a motivation to millions of young gays. There is a need for every single person in our society to support love, respect people regardless of their sexuality and accept them the way they are, they say- they were born this way; let them live their way.
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A free spirited individual in her second year, pursuing Bcom.(Hons) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, she is an extrovert who loves learning more and more from everything around her, fueling her motivation to do more to be a better person with every passing day. A classical dancer since the age of 4, a music lover and most importantly someone who is passionate about helping others and creating a positive impact on the society.