Aishwarya Himanshu Singh talks about Section 377 IPC and LGBT Rights in India.
Family is the most secure, the most trusted unit of society, and that we live within. An indispensable social institution to every being. Not only because it caters to all our primary needs, from birth till we stand on our feet but because it is the soul of one’s life. Also if one looks deeper and goes within the roots of relationships, it can be found that -Isn’t everyone a part of everyone else? All the beings are inter-connected to each other, inter-dependent for some or the other cause.
It is our family that teaches us to speak, to stand confident, to fight for our rights, to decide what is wrong and right, to strengthen our powers and conquer every fear, to cherish the victory and take it as a challenge, every time you lose. It is our family that has upgraded what we were to what we are and that motivates us to become the best of us in the time yet to come. But can you imagine- What if one day the same family rejects you? What if it avoids you, ignores you? What if your very own family feels ashamed to introduce you to others, or hides your identity, the actual you? What if more than anyone else you start fearing your own family?
Ever thought of it?
This is what actually the plight of an individual belonging to the LGBT in India is. What seems a nightmare to most of us, is a reality to many.
LGBT stands for Lesbians-Gays-Bi-sexual-Transgender
In India, especially, those belonging to the LGBT community face greater fear or danger from their family than strangers.
They face an incessant struggle for normalcy. One big reason behind their plight is that we, as a society have started weighing our culture and heritage on a hetero-normative balance. A hijra in a train or park, a boy with girly manners or a girl in the so called ‘men’s clothing’ sporting a boy cut, are all seen as anomalies of nature. And to outcast any and everything that is not hetero-normative the only world we have in our vocabulary is unnatural or abnormal, and this itself makes the individual unacceptable or deviant.
Neither Biology has a justification as to how an individual ought to be and how he/ she ought not to be, nor do one’s sexuality or gender be determined by a single gene.
In such cases, we can neither blame the nature nor can one say that nurture has resulted out to this, because it is not an abnormality it is a way of living that is not as common as ours and to what most consider divergent.
Another thing that I find really amusing and an exemplary piece of irony is that, the current law under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, criminalizes sexual activities that are “against the order of nature”, even when consensual. The unnatural act includes, same-sex intercourse, bestiality and fellatio.
This law was introduced in India by the British, who abolished it in the later years, but Indians have preserved, respected and cherished the law as if their very own custom, culture or heritage. Also, if one goes according to what Section 377 says, all sexual activities against the order of nature are punishable, in such a case- how is it that sex post menopause, sex during pregnancy and use of contraceptives after sex qualify the line of legal and natural even after contradicting the order of nature?
Being one from the LGBT community in India, it is no less than being trapped in a vicious circle of social unacceptance.
Whether the person confesses on his own, or someone else finds the reality of him/ her. Whether the child they have is adopted or one out of medical advancements. Whether it is someone in family, or neighbourhood or colony or even a stranger, the society’s attitude towards persons from the LGBT community will always be cold, harsh and rough.
It has been, it is and if not thought of now, no one knows for how long, will persist. The same hetero-normative expectations from every person, the same anti-non-hetero-normative attitude, all of it needs to be put to an end. Amidst all this tussle, all the struggle, debate and fight it is not you or they it is the society, the country who is at loss at large, because though unidentified but the persons belonging to the LGBT community form a considerable part of the population of country. We might not count it as one in general discussions but this does effect the economy too.
Though late this hetero-normative mentality if not changed now, will persist for at least another generation.
“Better late than never.”