#GayMarriage Is Now Legal In USA. But Where Does India Stand On Section 377?

#GayMarriage Is Now Legal In USA. But Where Does India Stand On Section 377?
[Editor's note--Ok, we’d like to take a minute to acknowledge the amazing news first. The Supreme Court of America just legalised gay marriage across all 50 states, which is…impossible to summarise in a nutshell but if we tried…big! And now onwards to being the killjoy. You don’t have to stop celebrating. Progress is worth celebrating no matter what part of the globe it happens in, but it’s important to take a look at the ground beneath our feet here in India as well, especially when it comes to matters of where you identify on the spectrum of sexuality and gender. Homosexual sex is still deemed legally ‘unnatural’ and section 377 doesn’t show signs of being upturned any time soon. Doctors are still running rackets to ‘cure’ homosexuality and comparing it to schizophrenia, and hundreds of thousands of people are still living in fear. So if you’ve been living under a rock that provides shade from the archaic legal rhetoric the Indian LGBTQ community’s been living under, it’s time to wake up. Hence, we’re choosing to republish an article we wrote in an attempt to deconstruct the LGBTQ community’s fight against 377 one year after it had passed. It's been two years now but we can't say a lot has changed.]

377. Unnatural Offences

"Whoever 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 ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Image Credit - Hindustan Times.
Image Credit - pri.org
I. “My activism began when I realized that people in my life were seemingly alright with my sexuality but thought my struggle towards achieving equal rights was a propaganda that should be kept isolated. I got questioned as to why I partake in queer pride parades, why I dress up flamboyantly and attract attention to myself. Every other day of the year, I exist to fit in with the world. This is the one day I decide to thrust my sexual identity in your face and I expect you to tolerate it. The same way I patiently listen to you talking about your overly ostentatious weddings and having children – basically thrusting your heterosexuality in my face.”
Image Credit - independent.co.uk
II. “I face discrimination at my work place based on my sexual identity on the daily. People need to be sensitized to the fact that we expect the same amount of respect as they’d give someone who is straight. The choices we make in our bedroom, the most private of spaces, do not define us. In all honestly, this is my highest point of concern at this point as I spend a lot of time in said environment, which right now is more hostile than a war zone.”
“I identify as a bisexual woman and I’m married to a man. I often get asked how exactly that works. It works the same as when a woman marries a man – she then classifies as husband-sexual. My bisexuality has no bearing on my ability to make a lifelong commitment to someone - man, woman or neither man nor woman. I came out to myself a little late because I was conditioned to believe that this was just a passing phase that’ll go away when I get a boyfriend. Why does bisexuality have to be vague? My sexual preference (before I got married) is fluid but the definition of bisexuality isn’t.”
Image Credit - wbur.org
“The queer movement is heading from being a cause to a movement about people in flesh and blood. It is moving in the direction of homogeneity, where the line between straight and queer is slowly diminishing. Well, that’s not to say that there is no discrimination, or that there will be no discrimination in the future, as long as human beings exist there will be disrespect of difference. But things are getting better and they will only get better from here with more heightened awareness in social media and by publications like yours making an honest effort. I’m sure that with you around, the only thing queer will be prejudice.”

Words: Rhea Baweja

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