Friday, December 27, 2013

A giant step in the wrong direction

After reading about the SC verdict,  I am more saddened than shocked. In a country like ours where Democracy has taken a beating repeatedly, its not so shocking that such judgement has been meted out.
Section 377 of the IPC, which was introduced during the Bristish rule in India, criminalizes sexual activities "against the order of nature", including homosexual acts. The section was declared unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults by the High Court in 2009. That judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court. After taking one step forward, we're taking a zillion steps back!
I understand that one cannot expect fast progress in this regard in our country, but why should you go back on your promises and let people down? Whats more upsetting is the peoples' reaction. The following are some of the common arguments/excuses I see being used.

1. India is not USA
    First of all, we must stop comparing India to other countries. USA has its share of homo-phobics. Although gay relationships are legal, unions/marriages are legal only in a few states. It will be long before its made legal all over. But that's besides the point. We must do whats good for our country and our people. We have sizable LGBT community, and they deserve their rights. Well, even if the community size is so-called "miniscule" and has only 1 person, that 1 person deserves his or her rights.

2. We have bigger things to worry about in India
      Yes, there are big problems. We have unemployment, poverty, female foeticide; we have a whole host of issues to deal with. All those issues are not going to get resolved by ignoring this issue. AIDS affects heterosexuals as much as it does homosexuals. Its awareness that people need. Ignoring this will not miraculously resolve all the problems in our country.Every individual has the right to be with the one they love. That's basic human rights. Its not rocket science.

3. Its against Indian culture
    This is by far the most ridiculous argument. Raping innocent young children is very much Indian culture, but being with the one you love isnt?? Oh I get it, letting juvenile offenders go scot-free is Indian culture! Looting tax payers money is Indian culture!
A friend of mine had shared a very interesting article about Queer Sexuality and Indian Culture. Read it here.

4. They're just a minuscule fraction
   If a particular community even has 1 person in it, will you call him/her a criminal for no fault of theirs? For example, if people of a certain faith are suddenly made outlaws in their own country, does it make it right? They are born into their faith. Similarly, this so-called minuscule fraction is born that way. They are not sick or ill. Science has proven that there is absolutely nothing unnatural about being transgender or gay. They are born that way and they must have the same rights as everyone. You cannot criminalize law-abiding citizens of a country.

5. Why are you supporting them? Are you gay?
    This is also one of those ridiculous arguments I hear everyday. Dont men fight for women's rights? Does that turn them into women? One doesn't have to be gay or transexual or bisexual to support the LGBT community.

6. They are ill. Cure them
    People like Baba Ramdev and the rest of his brigade enjoy their 15 mins of fame by spouting such words of wisdom. Trying to "cure" or make them "normal" will only lead to more failed relationships/marriages, frustration, disharmony, discrimination and increased suicides. Its not some illness that can be cured.

7. People support it because its "cool" to do so
    There is nothing cool or uncool about it. Its a human rights issue. Period.
I would support it as much as I would any other issue I believe in.

For now, the fight for equal rights will continue. Here's hoping its short one!