Home Commentaries & Articles The Sweet Smell Of Freedom, Pride and Love

The Sweet Smell Of Freedom, Pride and Love

Pride and Love

Pride and Love

After every rain comes the rainbow- a multicoloured circular arc is drawn. It’s caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.  There’s an element of surprise with its every appearance.  And associating with the colours of the rainbow are the LGBTQ groups and their activities.

As for the historical narrative in India goes, these ‘queer groups’ have been criminalized, treated as secondary citizens in their own country, used as ‘props’ for comic effect in mainstream movies and others. In short, they have been stripped off their identity, rights and dignity and are a disgrace to the society. They are humiliated, exploited and followed by ostracized from families and peers. Belonging to orthodox familial settings cause persistent levels of depression or emotional trauma for unable to showcase their sexual orientation. The very idea of having or even developing feelings for same-sex gender leads procrastination and sleepless nights of terror and trauma.

Indian society considers such relationships as ‘not-normal’, ‘strange’ and contributing to the moral degradation of society. The self-proclaimed Gurus/ God-men assume that these individuals must be fixed through their own techniques to ensure smooth functioning and reproduction in society. It is extremely strange that in a country like Indian where the apex court had criminalized gay sex in 2014 has famous heritage monuments with sculptures depicting various sexual orientation such as Khajuraho and Konark Temples in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, respectively.

Furthermore, the struggle to be treated as equal as others had begun way back in 2007 when the Naz Foundation filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court seeking legalization of gay sex among consenting adults. And then the tussle began with the Judiciary and Centre about law, judgment, and societal mindset.  Even to that extent, the Centre back in September 2008 stated that gay sex is immoral, and a reflection of a perverse mind and its decriminalization would lead to the moral degradation of the society. The reference point for such narrow-minded through was religious texts and contradictory views of Home and Health ministries in the country. In short, an outright NO made every homosexual as a criminal and bound to be punished by the draconian and colonial law of Section 377 for his/her unnatural acts. Living with the fear of bullying, gender-shaming and being unfaithful to yourself about sexual orientation made life difficult and miserable. Until when the Supreme Court of India on 7th September 2018 passed a judgment decriminalized a section 377 of the Indian Penal Code wherein Same-sex relations are no longer a crime and no longer violates his/her identity, dignity, equality and privacy. It was surely a moment of victory with slogans of Love Wins! Love is Love and colourful celebrations across the public.

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Interestingly, on social media, there were various posts on “came out of the closet today’, finally free and Independent’ blogs with a title like I am Gay and also Gay today and I am no longer a Criminal and many others. Every mouthpiece left one with tears of joy and sheer pride.  One can also sense the amount of sweat and public scrutiny, cruelty, and hardships before being an accrued an equal identity by the Judiciary. It was a long struggle to repeal a century-old draconian law that penalized gay sex. More such laws must be repealed, abolished, or even amended to great extend like the Sedition, Marital Rape and the list is endless.

The cumulative consciousness of the five-judge constitution bench comprising of Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra, Justices R F Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra has outworn religious scriptures/texts and majoritarian views determining the societal outlook. The judgment was a sweet victory smell of Freedom, Pride and Love for the LGBTQ supporters, activists, sensitized families and groups. The persistent hard work in organizing pride walks in metropolitan cities ensured that pride colours were reflected in every corner of the concrete jungle we all live in. Till now, none of the political parties (Regional or national) has issued official statements and bytes to applaud the judgment but then a couple of politicians have ‘twitted’ about it.

Yes, it’s a victory for all but then the important question is- Will our society be able to adapt to changing sexual orientations? In India, there are increasing establishing of gated societies where the need of round-the-clock privacy and security is paramount with rectangle-shaped boards not allowing young bachelors (Male or Female) or Paying Guests to reside in their premises. The Resident Welfare Association of most societies proclaims that they degrade the culture with loud music and careless attitude towards life. It affects the neighbour’s child upbringing and it is best to keep such irrational behaviour at arm’s length.

Following which knowing that your next-door neighbour is not husband-wife couple rather a gay or lesbian may surely raise eyebrows. The very culture that we all take pride in is suddenly diminished with ‘strange individuals’ living within our vicinity and company. Accepting them as just like normal citizens or members of the family will take some time. But that doesn’t mean it will never happen- change is the only course of progression. We need to start accepting different identities in our life and subsequently respect them. As everyone is equal before the law, not one is more than the other. We need to push forward for more reforms to ensure representatives of the LGBTQ community are employed and not discriminated at any juncture of their lives.

Yes, the ball has set rolling especially with granting almost equal status to the LGBTQ individuals/groups/communities, all thanks to repealing a part of section 377 of IPC. The second most important reform or change of mindset is accepting and amalgamation of these individuals within our society. The very feeling of shame must be eliminated if one turns ‘out to be odd’ or different; being indifferent or non-discriminatory to other sexual orientation is the first step towards civilized humanity. Although most government forms have now the option of transgender in the place of Gender category, we need to ensure that just on prima facie front we don’t eliminate someone for being homosexual on economic fronts. Furthermore, while legitimizing their identity in the public domain, we need to allow them to marry whoever they feel like. Only then, in true sense will the phrase mean – Love is Love!


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