Appreciating Queerness – Associating Indian myths with present
The Supreme Court on 6th September 2018 restored a landmark Delhi High Court judgement which had decriminalised homosexuality in a move that was immediately hailed by the minority LGBT community.
A five-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra diluted Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, to exclude all kinds of adult consensual sexual behaviour. The law will still stand on the statute book to deal with unnatural sexual offences against minors and animals such as sodomy and bestiality. The dreaded section not only made any kind of homosexual behaviour but also other kinds of “unnatural” sex such as oral and anal sex etc a criminal offence.
“Section 377, IPC, to the extent that it criminalises consensual sex between two adults is arbitrary, irrational and hence liable to be partially struck down.”
The law has been made, but still does hold any ground in our country where the thought process is conservative, backward and the insight behind this thought-provoking judgement will take a lot of time or maybe it won’t be accepted by the folk of our nation.
India is rapidly changing. We are thriving in almost all the fields. Everyday there are happenings which make us proud and they certainly are more than ugly events occurring in our country.
No matter how much how much we improve on ourselves it really doesn’t matter unless the ground reality changes. In a country where people yet don’t accept inter caste/religion couples it is quite difficult to make them understand what are the rights of LGBT community people.
Personally, I don’t think section 377 is doing any good to the society. Well, think about it. How is forcing somebody to live an unhappy marital life do good?
I have met Number of people suggesting me why is section 377 legit. Some of their reasons are as follows:
UNNATURAL: It is indeed. But so are millions of things around us. Plastic & pollution of various sorts are both men made & henceforth deemed to be unnatural. They never faced such a revolt but were gradually accepted. The reason is we all benefitted from them in the start but now they have transformed in a daily ruckus. We are not accepting homosexuality just because we don’t see any benefit from it. Well for those made of selfish genes, think it in this way, if your cousin’s child is homosexual than one less competitor for your grandchild. Congratulations! It also helps in population control also.
BLOOD LINE: I have heard of people making this point several times. Especially in India it seems like people just want to make sure that their bloodline survives for the ages to come; as if they are Abu’l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar or for the sake descendent of any great leader. Oh please, our country is no monarchy. So, you have no shot for the crown because hey, it doesn’t exist. You are born in world’s greatest democracy. Embrace it! It is here and now what matters. If your child isn’t happy because of those decision you made for him please re-consider not saving for your old age. But who won’t want their child’s happiness over anything?
NAKSHATRA & DEITY: This is both most sound and least heard of argument people make. Oh yes! Because almost all of the population of India doesn’t understand why does Hindu religion forbids marrying outside one’s caste. It was to make sure that the blood lines were not destroyed by inter mixing and when in need their deity would help get our entire community in good health. It is sound because it true. People with a certain kind of DNA can be treated and made immune against certain diseases by adding specific substance in their diet. That specific kind of DNA was maintained by not marrying anybody outside one’s caste. BUT this has become outdated due to loss of proper knowledge people have already messed it up enough that it works no more. It is not possible for a population of 132 crores to identify with similar DNA types and re-caste them. It is just no more valid.
Outlook and some Myths in our Hindu Religion
Truth be told. There is no harm in abolishing section 377. People should welcome it and accept the change because it makes us more tolerant, happy and after all less populated. Personal preferences are your matter of choice. But as an Indian I don’t see any harm (rather it is good) in accepting LGBT people as my fellow citizens.
If Hindus take the stance that having such a union is unholy and not natural and is equivalent to sin then we need to take a look at the Hindu mythology as well. In the Mahabharata we have Shikhandi who became a man to satisfy her wife, the god Ayappan (idol of Sabrimala) who was born of a union between Shiva and Vishnu (Mohini in his female form), the Skanda Purana has tales of queerness such as those of Sumedhas and Samavan who were two brahmins one of whom got converted into a female and married one another, we also have a tale of King Bhangashvana who was cursed to be a woman by Indra and fathered as well as mothered a hundred children. We also know Arjuna as Brinhala in Mahabharata which was the form of a woman he took for a year.
So, our gods also give us a lesson of queerness and we must learn the lesson of equality from them. The humans as a species are made for love and mutual understanding.
In criminalising homosexual acts, Section 377 has meant that those practising them have had to remain at the margins of society, their sexual preferences and activities kept secret from families, communities and the authorities, for fear of blackmail or prosecution. As the following examples show, even in the absence of successful prosecutions, the law has facilitated widespread, institutionally-tolerated discrimination
against those whose sexual preferences are different from the majority. A number of incidents have highlighted the vulnerability of gay, lesbian and transgender Indians as a result of Section 377.
Homosexually inclined men who meet in parks and other public places are often entrapped and blackmailed by the police, who use the threat of penalty under Section 377 against them. It was in response to this type of harassment, the arrest of men in Connaught Place park, New Delhi, that the non-governmental group AIDS Bhedbhave Virodhi Andolan (ABVA) organised the first-ever protest demonstration that openly demanded “gay rights”, in August 1994, outside the Delhi police headquarters. This demonstration followed the 1991 release of Less than Gay, the first document to publicly demand gay rights in India.
If someone has to live while hiding integral aspects of themselves, then one is as good as dead and nobody talks about the dead people. Many countries have legalised same sex marriage because they understand the need of having the freedom to love and the freedom to marry whoever you want. Everyone has the right to marriage since marriage is all about love and not gender.
Every year, a huge number of LGBT people face huge issues related to violence, unemployment, discrimination, poverty and lack of healthcare. Prejudiced people have issues with the way people from the LGBT community lead their lives. These people, I believe, are being immature. There are still many places in India where people are not aware of what LGBT stands for, because they think those who are gay are not allowed to be a part of the family.
We will consider this country to be free when society no longer differentiates in its treatment of people who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, cisgender or straight.