A political issue that I am extremely vehement about is something that has been deemed ever so controversial in my country. Something that is an identity to one and a taboo to even consider to another. Something that is considered a feeling and yet, a sin. It is something that names itself with the legalization of the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Chapter 16, section 377 of the Indian Penal Code dates back to 1861, which criminalizes activities against the order of nature, including homosexual acts. It states that anyone who indulges in same-sex sexual activities will be imprisoned for up to 10 years and be fined.
Gay rights have been challenged and put at the face of many debates in societies all over the world. As a supporter of morality and civil justice for humans of all kinds, I strongly believe that people of the LGBT community are of no exception to receiving their end of rights and rectitude.
India has also fought a 150 year long battle with section 377. In 2009, the Delhi High Court had made a ruling, decriminalizing gay sex, and ending a long period of interdiction and oppression. However, the Supreme Court – the supposed supreme authority and decider of fundamental rights for citizens, on grounds of equality – has marginalized the LGBT community once again, by reinitiating section 377.
And with this stunted step, India has taken a huge leap behind. Article 14 of the IPC states that every citizen has equal opportunity to life and is equal before law. The legislation of section 377 very clearly opposes a previously made promise by the constitution.
The absence of gay rights only presents a prohibition to equality and egalitarianism to the minority group. While we talk about achieving the greater good and international peace and harmony, we are also continuously degrading those who are congenitally attracted to the same-sex.
In every essence, homosexual people are just normal people, with a different identity of sexual orientation. It is absolutely bigoted and chauvinistic to discriminate the LGBT community when they present unequivocally no harm to the society. Ostracizing this group only hurts the victims, but does not benefit the society in any way possible.
Homosexuality is an apparent sin in many cultures and religions. It is deemed as unnatural and debauched. While homosexuality can be regarded as out of the norm that society runs by, it is proven that homosexuality is a natural occurrence. Just because the act is anomalous to the straightforward society, laws that dissent this biologically rooted phenomenon have no meaningful origins.
Marriage is a secular establishment and convention and cannot be controlled by religious hostilities to the LGBT community. This only leads to the psychological and mental harm of the millions in the minority community itself.
With the legalization of section 377, many protests and strikes have arisen from the public. However, the legalization has also put in the spotlight some of the most blunt statements ever to be made by the most influential people of the country.
Statements regarding how decriminalizing gay sex would lead to the spread of AIDS, that supporters of gay rights are also gay and that homosexuality is a disease and can be cured by yoga, have been made by political leaders and respected saints.
When I hear these testimonials with no legitimate claims being made, it beckons to me how narrow-mindedness will always exist in society. Discrimination on baseless grounds will persist and battles for human rights will be a never-ending struggle.
They say democracy is the voice of the people. India, with the largest democracy in the world, has ignored the millions of voices against the law snatching the most basic of fundamental rights. With this measure, we have gone back in time, back to our orthodox society.
But there is always hope. There is always faith. There is always a way to turn tables around. As a citizen of this country and being ever so passionate about a rightful cause, I want to make a difference. I want to do what it is I can to make a change. Spreading awareness, using writing as a tool, organizing debates at different levels are just a few of the things I am doing and will continue to do.
Because nothing is more important than standing up for equality and justice for one and all.
Nothing at all.