People around us are getting tortured because of their caste, sex, and colour of their skin or of because who they are or who they love or like. LGBT people are one of them. LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Intersex people. People in the LGBT community are fighting for equal rights and acceptance in society.
Today homosexuality is a debated topic with hatred, fear and violation of constitutional rights. There are still many questions that arise in the mind of people; homosexuality- should be legalized or not, it is natural or unnatural and many more.
India is one of the seventy–five countries around the world that outlaws homosexuality. There is no proper data but according to a government report, there are 2.5 million gay people recorded in India. There are still many people who do not reveal their identity due to the fear of discrimination.
This topic is very rarely discussed by the people or by the families. Our people think that particularly in the village that they do not accept what is becoming acceptable by the world especially in western countries. There is a lack of family support, society, and police and due to this lack, the people of LGBT are facing various problems. They are tortured physically, mentally and economically too.
Under the constitution, all citizens have equal rights and the principle of justice, equity and fair life for everyone.
These people are given many rights in some countries but there are many countries too where there are no rights provided to the people of this community. In India, after a long battle, various rights are provided to them. There are many amendments done in-laws so that they can get their right to live equally and respectfully. Being LGBT is neither a ‘problem’ nor a ‘choice’.
In India, there are various provisions that provide several rights to the community. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code deals with unnatural offences. Before the amendment, this section says that having sexual intercourse same-sex was to be considered an unnatural offence, but after the amendment, the Supreme court removed from section 377 of the IPC by legalising the law that says consensual gay sex and was not be considered an unnatural offence. Section 377, Indian Penal Code reads as:
“377. Unnatural offence– whosoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 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.”
History of LGBT’s in India: In the late 19th-century homosexuality was considered unnatural. In India, it was depicted mainly through pictures that are painted on the walls and there were many sacred narratives. After independence, there were cases filed and few non-governmental organisations of consensual gay sex. Section 377 defined unnatural offences. After many petitions and cases filed in the court, the court decriminalized homosexuality and removed some parts of Section 377 of the India Penal Code which were violative of the rights of the LGBTQ community.
There were many issues including the violation of their rights and these rights are given under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21.
- Article 14 says that all people are equal in the eyes of law.
- Article 15 prohibits the discrimination on the basis of sex, race, caste and religion.
- Article 19 provides the freedom of expression.
- Article 21 protects the right to life and personal liberty.
The issues also included the problems of social acceptance. Our society did not accept this community. For a very long time, there is a legal journey of decriminalizing homosexuality. The journey was started in 1994 were the AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan, which was an organization that filed the writ petition in Delhi High court challenging the constitutionality against governmental repression of the LGBTQ community but after some time the court dismissed the appeal.
The Delhi High Court in the case of Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT of Delhi, legalised the sensual homosexual activities between the adults as it was violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
In Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation; the judges said that the right to privacy is a part of the right to life and this applied to the LGBT community. Therefore, after the very lengthy combat, the LGBT community got their rights and homosexuality is no more an offence. This was the historic judgement given by the Fives judges bench. The bench included CJI Dipak Mishra, Justice R.F. Nariman, Indu Malhotra, D.Y. Chandrachud and A.M. Khanwilkar.
It left a great impact on society. The impact of decriminalizing homosexuality can be seen in the changing behaviour of the society and the families are changing their perspective and the main thing is that they started accepting their child in the way they are. Now the people of the LGBT community become more confident and have their personal rights. There was a great impact after the judgement passed. The major impact is that the general acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
Impact of discrimination
People often feel pressured whether male or female to fit in the society. They are every single aspect to fit in the society and try to mould them according to the society. If they feel to do so they have to face discrimination like physical abuse. The same happens in the case of LGBT. Even though there is an increasing acceptance of LGBT people in society but there is another aspect where LGBT people are discriminated against on the basis of their sex or their sexual preferences. They are harassed everywhere like school, college and workplace. They have suffered from depression and anxiety.
The incidents of violence toward the people of LGBT people can be seen in college and educational institutions. The students belonging to LGBT are being harassed and bullied by other students. This results in the quit of the study of LGBT people. However, UGC has always been very serious in taking action against such complaints. UGC Anti–Ragging Regulation (2009) binds both private and public universities to take cognizance of complaints of homosexual assaults.
Role of Media:
There was a great role played by media in the process as there has been more news about this topic and making people aware of accepting the change. Now the thinking of the people towards the people of the LGBT community changed. There is a huge difference which can be seen in the society. There are many campaigns held by the government for changing the behaviour of society. Many film producers started making movies and pictures related to that community and Section 377. Now having intercourse with the same sex is no more a punishable offence.
But there are many families or people in the society who did accept these people. Many people still think that people LGBT are taboo in society. They treat them ill. The families use to discriminate and because of this fear, even children are also afraid to tell their families whom they love or like. There are still many challenges that need to be overcome which are faced by the people of the LGBT community. The biggest challenge is same-sex marriage. After the passing of the judgement, still, same-sex marriage is not approved in India, still, people will treat them in wrong or in a very bad way.
Thus we can conclude that decriminalizing homosexuality has a great impact on society. The decriminalization of Section 377 ensures more confidence to the people of the LGBT community, which leads the growth of the society and changes the attitude of the people towards LGBT people. It helped in the acceptance by the society and the families of the people.
It is very important to educate the people about the LGBT community and the rights of the people of LGBT. Human rights are natural rights that are inalienable and conferred upon everyone by birth. It is important to understand the people that homosexuality is not the choice of any people and they are not sick, they are also human beings as we are. Just because of their sex preference we are no one to judge them or discriminate against them. Just think once if the people of LGBT have all the rights and they started to discriminate us just because of our sexual preferences, we did not feel good at all. Then why we discriminate against them?? We have to understand the fact that they are not aliens. It is our minds because of that mentality we always discriminate them.
LGBT rights should be considered as part of human right. If we start justifying all the things on a cultural basis, societal values and public policy then there would behave be no progress in society. If we are not going to change our mind then there would be no progress and we are not able to eliminate the social evil like Dowry, child marriage, domestic violence sati and infanticide etc.
So it is essential that government should wipe way its conservative nature and should take major steps to eliminate the stigma, discrimination and abuse, surrounding the LGBT people.
However, whatever be the decision of the supreme court if we the people of society are not accepting them then there is no use of any judgement. It is first we the society people who can make justice with them by accepting them, by accepting their choice in the society and by accepting who they are who they love and then only they can be known as human beings not LGBT people. We have to consider them as a part of our society.
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.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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