Dr Kouser Fathima
The Supreme Court’s decision to transfer the curative petition seeking the repealing of Section 377 that criminalises gay sex to a 5-member review bench is a very big step.
Individuals may have prejudice against the LGBT community in India but discrimination by the state is a mockery of our democratic system.
One may have different views about it, but just because we don’t accept it doesn’t mean that LGBTs don’t exist and criminalising this has been a blatant mockery of prevalent truths.
Some people may not find the idea of homosexuality normal but that doesn’t negate the fact that LGBTs are a reality of our society.
They are as much part of the society as others and have equal right to make their choices. The argument that their number is very minuscule compared the wide population is absurd as even the few are humans with their individual feelings and needs.
It is not just discrimination but also illegal to declare oneself as LGBT under the current law with anyone daring to do so is liable to be prosecuted. The fear of being prosecuted often forces people to hide their preferences and in turn live in constant fear.
Many families try to hide the facts due to societal pressures forcing the individuals to lead a normal life and the law banning homosexuality only adds compounds their problem. Depression and suicides are common due to such undue pressures .
Shockingly many narrow down the discussion to just gay sex forgetting that it is also a way of life, which may be different but nevertheless a possibility.
It is not a sickness which needs to be cured but an issue which needs to be handled with maturity. The recent movie “Aligarh” based on a true story of an AMU professor Srinivas Ramachandra Siras is a case in example and provides a window into the trials and tribulations in the lives of homosexuals.
Society may not change easily, nor will it accept such choices as normal but the state can’t act as a conduit to this blatant discrimination. The state needs to respect individual choice and help them in possible ways and the least it can do is decriminalise homosexuality .
Dismissing it as a western influence or liberal fad is like running away from the facts. We need to accept that it is prevalent in our society and also it is not an illness, which needs any kind of medical help.
A normal healthy person can be homosexual. You may not accept it but you can’t deny the fact nor force your opinion on others.
Isolating homosexuals is not a solution rather is part of the problem. The aim should be to integrate them into society not discriminate. And decriminalising homosexuality will be the first step in right direction.
Views expressed here are the author’s own