The LGBT rights movement in the country has nearly come to a standstill. The heart-breaking decision by the Supreme Court in 2013 setting aside the High Court’s judgement that decriminalized homosexuality crushed the movement, effectively ensuring the continued social marginalisation of India’s LGBT community.
The Supreme Court reasoned that LGBT individuals constituted only a “miniscule minority” of the population. My questions to the Hon’ble Supreme Court would be: Isn’t the Judiciary meant to protect the interests of minorities? Even if a “miniscule” portion of the population, why has the Court forgotten that we have rights too? And lastly, if Section 377 is “not used frequently” as the Court suggests, why continue with the archaic colonial era law? Such questions still leave me baffled!
The harm of the Court’s ruling still echoes across India, and it has been necessary for the country’s LGBT movement to recalibrate as it becomes clear that criminalization will remain a fact of life for now. With this in mind, I joined Pehchan’s 3rd National Solidarity Meeting on August 19th, 2015, in New Delhi. The event brought a range of stakeholders together to brainstorm on the road ahead. The guest of honour was the Hon’ble Priya Dutt, and she was joined by various representatives from the UN, civil society, media, legal fraternity and the LGBT community.
The meeting raised issues confronting the community, on areas such as “Human Rights and Legislation,” “Health and HIV,” “Visibility and Acceptance,” and “Homophobia and Violence.” Challenges were identified along with strategies that could translate our aspirations into action. The event concluded with a renewed commitment to work collectively as a community and in collaboration with other movements.
Being a part of the day renewed my commitment to the gay rights movement in India. It instilled in me a sense of pride that our “miniscule” community can come together to raise a powerful voice for transformation. Together we will create a force of change that will revise our laws, transform social attitudes, and most importantly, inspire a better India.
The author of this post, Yashwinder Singh, is a committed gay rights activist.
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