Sunday, April 6, 2014

Finding the voices of LGBT community

I was watching a malayalam movie day before yesterday. For the starters, what amused me the most, was that this movie was the story of a gay and his friends. In India such movies don't come into existance everyday.
The thrills and chills that the movie was sending down my spine, astonished me. It was the story of three friends who were police officers. The sudden death of one of the friends turns the tables for the other two friends. One of them, whose sexuality is kept under the wraps is handed over the reigns of the investigation.
The movie's ending left a distaste in my mouth. The guy who was gay, was the mastermind behind the murder. Because the dead friend had found the secrets behind the sexuality of the 'killer' friend. To not let that secret spill over, and to save his job, a law maker is shown to be a law breaker.
Such movies stain the social fabric. For not every gay is a criminal. And, not everyone wants to stay silent about their sexuality. We have slapped the ugliest of stereotypes on gays and in a time when they are wrestling a thousand demons, the curse called 'Section 377' made a comeback. To threaten the security of an LGBT person, because as per this medevial law, no two consenting adults belonging to the same sex, can indulge in sexual intercourse. This can put them at par with criminals and get them behind bars.
The section was declared unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court in 2009. The Supreme Court of India overturned the judgement in December 2013, giving the powers to repeal the law, to the Parliament.
It came as a rude shock for the ruling UPA government, with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi appealing to the parliament, to discuss the issue. But the UPA did nothing to discuss this matter in the last parliamentary session, where they were seen bull-dozing bills as pre-poll giveaways.
The re-criminalizing of Section 377 was applauded by the moral mentors of the society, especially the religious leaders who decided to get preachy and preposterous.
Many quoted the religious scriptures to sound supportive of an archaic law, that the Queen's people left behind.
Many celebrities came in support of the LGBT community and strong protests have been launched against it, since then.
Human Rights Watch groups challenge the ruling saying that it is making the prevention of HIV/AIDS an uphill task, while putting high risk groups like transsexuals in trouble.
Why I became a gay rights supporter is an episode in life, that was nothing less than a milestone.

One of my best friends is a gay who was the first person to enlighten me about the archaic Section 377. Many people like him couldn't even mourn the untimely death of his partner, all thanks to the homophobic ignorance his mother practised. What startled me the most,was the emotional upheaveal he experienced which I believe never existed for a gay couple. Before that incident, I always used to think that gay partners only understood lust. And it was embarrasing for me to come to terms with the short sightedness I possessed. He has been dating an American since the past four years. But I had seen it all, the mourning of that loss and his struggle to let go.
The other people from the LGBT community who ravished my old school of thought was Srilakshmi, a transgender, whom I happened to meet at a book reading event. Her heart wrenching tale cringed tearing down those old notions about hijras or transsexuals.
Before having met her, I was scared of them, but thereby my eyes opened.
Ruchika (name changed) is a lesbian who met me in a party organized by my best friend Rohan (name changed). Since it was his birthday party, only his closest friends had been invited. As a straight person, I felt out of place in the midst of gays, bi-sexuals and lesbians, but trust me no one tried to grope me or molest me or gave me a wrong signal. The lesbians in the party made it a point to hang out with each other thereby making me feel comfortable.
Going to that party made me realize that 'consent' is sought in the gay community much like it happens in the heterosexual community, and abuse is a notorious reality only in gays with a criminal mind.
Standing up for gay rights is as important a necessity as standing up for our own rights. If the UPA government was serious about upholding the gay rights, then they would have surely passed an ordinance against Section 377 or atleast bothered to instigate a discussion.
Parties like AAP have welcomed dialogues with the LGBT community, but what needs to be seen is are they really serious about doing away with Sec 377.
Let us therefore, not just vote for development but also human rights in the upcoming elections.
Choices don't make a criminal out of a person, and homosexuality is a natural trait and not a disease, unlike what ignorant people like Baba Ramdev had to preach.


JANU said...

Everyone needs to be accepted and respected. If we can love animals, why not humans?

Prathima Rao said...

Rapists are granted bail and acquitted while people who keep to themselves are made out to be criminals. Such is the sad state of affairs. Good post.

Afshan Shaik said...

Glad that u wrote this . While in few countries same sex weddings are legalised we have a long way to go I guess...

Pooja Abhay said...

You are so right Rinzu. It is such a sad fact that we find reasons to discriminate among people, be it caste, creed, sexuality or colour. I wish a better sense prevails.