Can the LGBT community survive in India?

1 month ago Saloni Hindocha 0

Homosexuality continues to remain a big issue in India. Not only is it criminalized by Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but is also accompanied by a social stigma. Thus, the life of the LGBT community in India is extremely difficult due to the legal implications and lack of social acceptance. In 2013, The Supreme Court had passed a decision to criminalize Section 377 which condemns ‘unnatural sex’ as it is against the law of nature and set aside Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgment decriminalizing homosexuality.

Members of LGBT community
Members of LGBT community

A recent uproar in this matter was created when the Supreme Court of India decided to reconsider the Constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Hours after this decision, one of the top lawyers of the Country, Harish Salve gave a statement saying that the section violates the right to privacy and shall be soon be scrapped off. The new ruling of the Supreme Court on the matter of right to privacy ushered in a new phase in the debate regarding Article 377. This debate is now all set to be brought back by the human rights activists and LGBT community who have been fighting this battle against Article 377 on order decriminalize homosexuality.

This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has decided to look into Article 377. In 2016, a three-judge bench including the then Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice JS Khehar and Justice Anil R Dave was set up to look into the petitions against Section 377. The apex court of the country has referred these petitions to a Constitutional Bench seeking to render consensual sex between the LGBT people decriminalized.

Laws against LGBT community
Laws against LGBT community

The real question here is that even after the decriminalization of Section 377, will the LGBT community be able to come out in the open and live a normal life without a social stigma being imposed upon them? It is very important for these people to have social acceptance more than legal acceptance. In our society, the LGBT community is looked down upon, made fun of and denied basic human rights. This is because they are considered to be going against the “so-called” laws of nature. There is a particular sense of abhorrence towards these people. People prefer to keep their kids away from the LGBT people because of an irrational fear that their kids shall become a part of this community. This is a myth. Being homosexual is not a disease, it is a choice. It cannot be transmitted to someone just by being in the company of these people. It is the conservative mentality of the people in India, which has given birth to such thought processes.

Stop discrimination against the LGBT community
Stop discrimination against the LGBT community

The LGBT communities are also just normal human beings like us and they too deserve the same rights and privileges that we get. We live in the 21st century. It is important for the political parties and society to break its silence and learn to accept an individual’s sexuality. We as a society need to learn not to use someone’s sexual preferences as a  means of discrimination against them and respect their freedom to their sexual orientation. Once the LGBT community has the social acceptance and respect which they deserve, Section 377 will automatically become of no use.