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19 Apr 2024, Edition - 3202, Friday

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Right to love is common for all

Santosh Avvannavar


Supreme Court decriminalized love between two consulting adults of same sex, spreading joy and happiness among this marginalized and traumatized community across the country.

Understanding and accepting love between any two people, September 6 landmark judgment of the Supreme Court is a first step for society to embrace love of LGBTQIA+. A colonial relic ‘Section 377’ that criminalized two consenting adults for gay sex has been stuck down by Supreme court. As said by Justice Indu Malhotra, “History owes an apology to the LGBT community for denying them their right and compelling them to live a life of fear.”

As 1860 law was struck down, we at Covai Post spoke to community and non-community members on their views and opinion on the verdict.

Why do you think Section 377 issue was important for India?

Chittajit Mitra, who is based out of Allahabad and volunteer at RAQS (Resistive Alliance for Queer Solidarity) group, says, ‘Section 377 was an issue because there are several unreported and very few reported cases where police and others used to blackmail and torture the victims. Gays were forced for sexual advances, one who do not oblige Section 377 had become a tool of torture.”

Sudip Dey hailing from Assam and now based out of Delhi, says, “Anyone deserves to lead life with dignity, its basic human right. The judgement has restored faith in democracy.”

Dr. Prashanth Gowda who is based out of Bengaluru, says, “Judgement has won the right perception as society creates ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ perception based on several belief systems. Basic instinct of humans like as air, water and sex is personalized and it is individuals need. Several countries have made it legal and India adds to the list.”

Sujitha who is based out of Mumbai, says, “The existence of section 377 was a threat to the community. It was like an axe hanging above the head. One could use it against the community at any time. For homophobes and transphobes used it a way to rationalize their bigotry against queer.”

Will the verdict help to ease the sense of guilt for being LGBTQ?

‘Not in totality. As the guilt is because the stigma from society’, says Chittajit Mitra

‘There are several people who have a view it as unnatural. LGBTQ community could take a lead to educate and bring awareness. As we are not aliens but a part of society. It’s the mindset that need to change. To quote an example, Section 304B, dowry as a punishable offence. In spite this people still take or give dowry’, says Sudip Dey

‘I think there is no proof of natural or unnatural sex. It’s organ preference. The verdict is way to get out of closet and embrace the choice’, says Dr. Prashanth Gowda

‘It was not the law that made us guilt, its unacceptance from others. However, the judgement recognizing that alternate sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental disorders is comforting to many of us’, says Sujitha

What is the future for the LGBTQ community in India post judgement?

‘Justic Chandrachud paved a way to highlight how LGBTQ community is typecast because of Section 377. He also makes a point on community faced health care challenges could be a greater relief to approach health care access’, says Chittajit Mitra

‘The landmark judgement has given the community a step closer to live with dignity. There is need for equality and civil partnership is something community would aspire’, says Sudip Dey

‘If right to live as a couple is an indicator. Then all the rights that are applicable for heterosexual could be applicable for the community’, says Dr. Prashanth Gowda

‘The judgement is a great start to initiate discussion on issues such as civil rights, legal protection against discrimination, marriage rights and others equal rights. The fight is long but the judgement has set faith in judiciary and look forward for a bright future’, says Sujitha

The judgement has given to consensual sex between two adults. It hasn’t ruled on marriage, adoption and so on. How is the community looking at it?

‘The scope of section 377 discussion was not about gay marriage or adoption. The judgement has opened several possibilities to work further’, says Chittajit Mitra

‘The judgement is the first step. Advocacy could help to bring changes in legislature. As I firmly believe in the words Hum dekhenge, laazmi hai ke hum bhi dekhenge written by (Faiz Ahmad Faiz, translates as, We shall Witness It is certain that we too, shall witness)’, says Sudip Dey.

‘Judgement is a beginning to unfold and a critical success for the community. It has opened up space to initiate discussions around other rights for the community’, says Sujitha

This could be a great beginning and hope brimming but the community understands that,’I consider that my journey is never ending, and I have ‘miles to go before I sleep…’ (Robert Frost)

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