I believe it was on a bright day of June 2015, when I just couldn’t go on browsing social media new feeds, especially the ones trending over the Facebook. All I could see was people changing their display pictures, dyed with the rainbow flag strips to supposedly support legalization of Gay marriages across United Stated of America. But very few of us (I’m sure about it) would know of the flag symbolism and idea behind the particular colour scheme. The flag symbolises- pride, hope and diversity. This is what each of the six colors stand for:
The DP-level support would have undoubtedly raised awareness about Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) rights and status in the eyes of both, law and culture. And, it was not really surprising to see the fervour gone in less than a week’s time. But, what really does remain as a big question among queer activists and scholars is, should not India too, follow the path of now finally legalising the same? How long the people from LGBT community will have to wait to get the basic rights which every individual apart from their community has? Here are some of the arguments in favour of decriminalising it, specifically in the Indian context- in view of Section-377 of the Indian Penal Code.
First and foremost, it violates the right to liberty guaranteed under Article-21 of the Indian Constitution. The right also covers private consensual sexual relations, apart from the rest of the things. The fundamental right to liberty prohibits the state from interfering with the private personal activities of the individual. India somehow hasn’t till the date recognised the right to privacy in favour of the LGBT community people.
Secondly, criminalizing homosexual conduct is pretty much unreasonable and arbitrary: Breach of, the right to equal protection before the law requires the fortitude of whether there is a rational and objective basis to the taxonomy introduced. There should be a just and reasonable nexus between the taxonomy and the object sought to be achieved by the legislation.
Thirdly, Section-377 encroach upon the enjoyment of civil laws and gay men and lesbians and leads to other antagonistic effects: Section-292 of IPC punishes Obscenity; the current definition of obscenity can lead it to incriminate the gay and lesbian writings. As male homosexuality is a criminal offence, the supposition is that it is something immoral and can corrupt the minds and bodies of the people. In the prevailing atmosphere any writing about the lesbians and the gay men can be criminalized, as homosexuality is treated as something immoral. Yet, people have started voicing their side of stories by coming out and marching-on.
But, why should we bother for the people whose rights got stolen?
- For, these people are still denied jobs, promotions, accommodation only because of their sexual orientation.
- For, gay teenagers are unreasonably at risk of suicide.
- For, these people are still beaten off or murdered for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
- For, they are still made to feel uncomfortable while holding the hand of a partner and walking down the boulevard.
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