Justice Venkatesh – a Judge who went an extra mile for the Pride Community

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you heard about the words same-sex relationship or gay or lesbian?

If I am to deduce, you were as confused as I was when I first heard about it. Some people want to learn more about it, some people disgust it, for some jury is still out and others are just not talking about it, but the reality is that any person can be bisexual or inclined towards the same sex romantically and can be our known associates as long as our life and we still cannot figure that out.

Understanding homosexuality can be confusing and requires an understanding of what the other person feels, same was the case with Justice N Anand Venkatesh who sought a “psycho-education” session with a Chennai based psychologist to gain a better understanding and insight into homosexual orientations and relations. Admitting that he was not “woke” enough, Justice Venkatesh said that the judgment in this matter must come from his heart, not his head. He added that he sought the educative session with the psychologist because he felt that “such a session with a professional will help him understand same-sex relationships better and will pave way for his evolution”. The judge further added that whatever verdict would follow the session would be sure to “fall out of his heart”.

Life as a homosexual in India is very very difficult, the person has to hide his identity from his friends, colleagues, relatives, and everybody with whom they interact in the daily circle of life. The one place a person tends to feel secure is his home, home is the place where they ought to be themselves, where they are free, not judged by anyone, and in their own space. Sadly that is not the case in India especially if you are a homosexual person in India. The parents in this case can either be their best friends, their support, or their worst nightmares. The same was the case where two girls sought quashing of the fir of missing persons filed by both parents of the girls as a way of a homophobic attack on the couple and to separate them from each other to which Justice Venkatesh sought for a psychologist.

The society and when I say society I include each and every person be they may be in direct contact with the homosexual person or not, may they be their parents, relatives, friends, co-workers or not, all of them need to understand that no matter what the sexual orientation of the person is they are also human in all aspect the other people are.

Justice Venkatesh paved a way especially for the Indian judiciary about how much a judge needs to be in touch with the latest dynamics in the environment, how they need to have a better understanding regarding the same, and no matter what their mindset maybe, they have to be neutral and open to learning new things whenever and however required. In recent times the Indian judiciary has shown exemplary works especially when it comes to understanding the feelings of the people and how a particular law or a social understanding affects certain people point in case of the verdict of triple talaq and the abolishment of section 377.

What I respect is that Justice Venkatesh wanted to go the extra mile just so he could get a better understanding of homosexual orientation so it helps him further help other future cases as well. We as people should learn that if a person with such qualifications, knowledge, and pedigree of a judge wants to understand and learn about this concept, so should we. It is difficult to gather your mind around such a thing which you have never seen or heard before in your life but what has to be understood here is that the person who reveals their homosexuality, they have also been living in the same society and will probably face discrimination from you and a lot of other people including their parents and friends and everybody they consider close.

In its verdict, the Madras HC noted that the petitioners were not “confused” and were well aware of the relationship they had entered. The court also noted that the two women were not averse to their parents and indeed loved them a lot but feared being separated from each other through coercion. The court had previously ordered counseling for both sets of parents and daughter. While the court noted that the parents’ concerns were borne out of fear of stigma, societal pressures, and future security of their daughters, it said that as per the psychologist, a forced separation may cause immense trauma to the women and forcing two adults who want to stay together is simply not viable.

While the matter ended amicably for the Tamil Nadu couple, queer couples across India continue to face stigma, discrimination, and oppression due to the lack of laws to safeguard their rights as a couple. Despite the decriminalization of Section 377 in 2019, LGBTQIA couples in India continue to face the uncertainty of jobs, forced separation by parents or relatives, and no recognition in front of the law so atleast we as people can learn from Justice Venkatesh and atleast try to understand their state of mind, try to console them, comfort them, try not to be judgemental and degrading in any way. This little step can go a long way in making a person live their life freely and happily without any prejudice and stigma.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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