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Author Topic: Homosexuality in India- Progressive Judiciary, Regressive People?  (Read 366 times)

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Offline spacebarsux

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Homosexuality in India – Progressive judiciary, regressive people?Tanuj Khosla
24 February 2012, 10:39 AM IST   
 
India is a weird country when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. The attitudes of most people towards this topic can be broadly divided into the following four categories.

Category 1: Regressive protectors of Indian culture – The ones who think that homosexuality is against Indian culture and is immoral and/or unnatural.

Category 2: Open-minded – The ones who respect an individual’s right to choose his/her sexuality.

Category 3: Pseudo-progressive – The ones who say that everyone has a right of choice but hope and pray that their own sons are not gay.

Category 4: Obnoxious punks - The ones who don’t give a s*** and specialize in making cheap jokes on homosexuality .Bollywood has many people of this type

These divergent views on the subject perfectly mirror the two India’s that co-exist within our country – the progressive and forward looking minority and the ignorant and regressive majority. Personally I fall in Category 2 above but that is beside the point here. The reason behind is sudden outburst on issue of gay rights in India is the Union Home Ministry’s ‘accidental’ opposition to decriminalisation of gay sex yesterday in the country before the Supreme Court wherein it termed homosexuality as "immoral” and “against the social order”. Apparently the Ministry subsequently clarified that the Additional Attorney General read out an earlier stand by the government instead of the latest in the apex court. That is quite a big goof up I must say!!

In 2009, I was very pleased to note that the Delhi High court passed a judgement which decriminalized Section - 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) covering a sexual act in private between consenting adults. The archaic law was framed in the 19th century by the British. As expected many politicians and religious organisations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance challenged the high court's order. Even yoga guru Ramdev has joined the bandwagon and opposed the verdict.

A few months ago Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had made a controversial remark on the subject. He is supposed to have said "The disease of 'Men having Sex with Men' (MSM), which was found more in the developed world, has now unfortunately come to our country and there is a substantial number of such people in India.” I won’t comment on this as I have not seen the footage and this statement was reported by the Indian media in which I don’t have much trust. There have been ample instances in the past when Indian media has twisted statements and misquoted people for sensational headlines and ‘Breaking News’ which sells more copies and boosts TRPs respectively. I don’t believe any media reporting up until I see the statement myself from the person’s mouth and I feel that all Indians should do the same.

Anyways, coming back to the issue of homosexuality, most people who oppose it have the following objections “It is not in our culture and is immoral”, “It is unnatural”. Let’s examine these lame justifications one by one: “It is not in our culture and is immoral”: I can’t stop getting amused by these self-proclaimed ‘protectors of Indian culture’ who are up in arms against homosexuals. These are the very people who bash up couples on Valentine’s Day, rain blows on girls enjoying themselves in a pub, but openly ogle at passing women. Most of them are narrow-minded enough to label females wearing skirts as ‘loose’ and ‘cheap’. They regard pre-marital sex, another individual choice as immoral but won’t think twice before raping or molesting a girl. Nothing can be more ridiculous than these uncultured and uncouth morons in the country giving sermons on culture.

And talking about our cultural past, probably these blokes need a refresher in history (if they ever went to a school that is) as quite a few ancient Hindu temples sculptures portray homosexual couples and there are many transgender and homosexual characters in Hindu epics.

However it would be unfair to put everybody who makes this statement about homosexuality in this category. There are quite a few people educated and decent people who also feel this way.  I would just like to say the following to them – ‘This is an issue of human rights for homosexuals, the right to make a fundamental choice. What reason do we have to take it away from them?’

“It is unnatural”: What most people don’t realize or don’t want to realize is that homosexuality is NOT a disease. Empirical evidence and professional norms do not support the idea that homosexuality is a form of mental illness. So how it is unnatural beats me completely.

Since a vast majority of the people in India are against homosexuality, not only are most couples afraid to come out of the closet, even their families who are willing to support them can’t do so due to the fear of social stigma. That is really sad.

In conclusion I fully agree with the Supreme Court hearing of a bunch of appeals filed against decriminalisation of gay sex on February 16, 2012. The two-judge bench, comprising of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya, opined that homosexuality should be seen in the light of changing times where phenomena of live-in relationship, single parents and artificial fertilisation have become normal. They had also pointed out that many things, which were considered immoral 20 years ago, have become acceptable to society now.

Times have changed and it is heartening to see the Judiciary is looking to adapt with that. Now if only the Government and more importantly the common people of the country change their views on the subject. There are many other important issues in India – corruption, infrastructure problems, inflation, unemployment etc. to deal with than wasting time on denying individuals the right of choice.


Link: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sugar-n-chilly/entry/homosexuality_in_india_progressive_judiciary_regressive_people

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/india-gay-sex-legality-debate-_n_1299771.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17136780

Edited to add: Presently, the Delhi High decision of 2009 stands as law of the land, in practice. However, since the matter is currently in appeal to the Supreme Court it will only receive the final stamp of approval, once the Delhi decision is affirmed by the Supreme Court of India.

It is worth noting that the written law will only be struck down officially  when Parliament repeals Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as it violates to Right to Equality and Right to Freedom of Expression, enshrined as fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution. I think there's still time for that.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 03:10:06 AM by spacebarsux »
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

 


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