Section 377: A Queer Verdict

Sunday, 15 December 2013 - 7:18am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

With the Supreme Court quashing the 2009 decriminalisation of Section 377, members of the LGBT community are shaken and disheartened. MJ, co-founder of GaysiFamily, an online platform for queers, voices her dismay.

I am still in shock. The morning I heard about the ruling, I was at the HumSafar Trust office (NGO that promotes LGBT rights) and the mood was so upbeat. It was decorated with balloons, in anticipation of a progressive move. There were plans of celebrations later that day. In fact, Britain and Wales had announced that they would start accepting applications for queer marriages that very day. The eventual verdict, thus, felt like a slap on our faces.

We’d been making a lot of progress in the past few years, with annual pride marches and events like Dirty Talk — a hugely successful initiative — hosted by and providing an open platform for the LGBTQ community. In fact, we’d already decided on the venues for the next edition of the Pride March in January, roped in sponsors and got the acts finalised. It will indeed be tragic if owners of venues now bow out of their commitments, although you can’t blame them, since they would not want to be involved in the tangle of legalities that would follow. 

Such events are meant to desensitise people. The SC verdict is not just a ruling, especially for the scores of people who were planning to come out in public in the future, hoping to get accepted.

While we were fund-raising for LGBTQ events before, we will now have to raise funds for lawyers’ fees.

The High Court verdict in 2009, decriminalising section 377, was simply and beautifully worded and showed us as a truly progressive nation. It’s surprising to see how such qualified men with vast expertise in their fields could overlook such an important aspect, the fact that Indians constitute 17% of the queer population in the world.

The Supreme Court ruling not only takes us back to how the situation was before 2009, but in fact, to 153 years ago when under the colonial rule, the

Britishers first passed a law suppressing homosexuality in the country.

From where things stand, the future doesn’t look too bright. We’re all aware of how the parliament works... they meet three times a year amidst much commotion and I don’t know how they will save the day. There is a very strong notion in our community that if a certain right-wing party comes to power, we will have to wait for another 100 years, till 11/12/13, before anything is ruled in our favour.

The state of affairs at present are sad, shocking and depressing. It’s shameful to even imagine how the world must be looking at us today — the largest democratic nation in the world.

However, this does not give us reason to be afraid, but to stand our ground. We have no choice but to make our next pride march much stronger.

(MJ spoke to Shikha Kumar)

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