Homosexuality in India


While writing on the subject LGBTQ+, how can we forget about talking what does the LGBTQ+ community stand for? LGBTQ+ stands for – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questionable, etc. Just writing the full form doesn’t comprise what homosexuality means, so what does it mean? [1]Homosexuality, sexual interest in and attraction to members of one’s sex. The term gay is frequently used as a synonym for homosexual; female homosexuality is often referred to as lesbianism.

Homosexuality in India

Homosexuals have had a rough time being accepted in India or around the world, but Indian history catches about the homosexuality way before the time for per se [2]The Mahabharata has an interesting story about Shikhandini, the feminine or transgender warrior of the time and responsible for the defeat and killing of Bhishma. But not going too back in the history let’s talk about independent India and how has it deal with homosexuality.

In the year 2018 in the Supreme Court of India passed a remarkable judgement on [3]Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India which helped India widened its scope on sexuality and helped the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community by holding that consensual sex under the section of 377 of the Indian Penal Code was no longer criminalized that means two people of the same gender can have sex. But why was this judgement important? The judgement of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India was important because the part of section 377 of the IPC reads as –

Unnatural offences — whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section

As the section 377 of the IPC is disturbing it also goes against [4]Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which states –

            Equality Before Law – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Section 377 violates the fundamental rights of the Indian Citizens as it does let people who they are if a person is homosexual telling them that their sexuality is unnatural because the law says so is in itself unnatural and how can be homosexuality be unnatural if it’s given by nature. But not only Section 377 goes against the Article 14 it also goes against the [5]Article 15 of the Indian constitution which states – “Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth” and it is clear the state was discriminating on the grounds of sex with section 377 as the word “sex” is just not limited to male or female but intended to include to people who consider themselves as neither male nor female. Section 377 also goes against [6]Article 21 of the Indian constitution which states-

                        Protection of life and personal liberty – No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law

State in its article 21 promises its everyone the right to life and “personal liberty” personal liberty means the liberty of an individual to do his or her will freely except for those restraints imposed by law to safeguard the physical, moral, political, and economic welfare of others. Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India was surely a remarkable judgement but the struggle behind it is something we shouldn’t forget.

LGBTQ+ community might have got their rights to represent themselves and to finally be together but it is a long way for them since centuries we have been ignoring their basic human rights and torturing them by gender-specific laws. LGBTQ+ community still don’t have a right to get married or laws against rape and it is a long fight for them.

In the end, I would like to quote Emma Watson “It is time we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”

[1] The Editors of Encyclopaedia  Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/event/Romer-v-Evans

[2] India Today, Homosexuality in Ancient India: 10 instances (July 10, 2018, 18:40 IST) https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/10-instances-of-homosexuality-among-lgbts-in-ancient-india-1281446-2018-07-10

[3] Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 S.C.C 1

[4] INDIA COST. art. 14

[5] INDIA COST. art. 15

[6] INDIA COST. art. 21

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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