By Anika Mahansaria
On September 6 2018, the Indian government revoked article 377. The article stated that ‘whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.’
In the duration of the past year, the LGBTQ+ community have openly come out. People are addressing the LGBTQ+ community much more than previously, and there is a lot more acceptance. But is anything really different and how has this helped India?
Many people think that the removal of article 377 hasn’t changed much. Though the article is revoked, people feel like they can’t be who they are completely. In fact, a lot of conservative families still find same-sex love ‘radical’.
People also feel like removal of article 377 has helped. There have been a lot of Queer events like Queer Film Fest. There was also the Pride Parade and Queer Azadi Mumbai Pride that held the host of other events. Hopefully, it is possible now for Queer people to get in mainstream media. There are many openly gay celebrities like Manish Aurora, a fashion designer and Vasu Primlani a comedian.
At the pride parade in February, people didn’t have to come with masks which was the first step to India progressing. No one felt the need to hide their identity. Although people are still vulnerable to attacks on the road, members of the LGBTQ+ community can’t go to jail. A few years ago, there were homophobic people who would yell and demean the LGBTQ+ at the pride parade and there would be a number of hate crimes taking place, and in the recent pride parade, there were no hate crimes.
In 2013, religious authorities supported being homophobic. During the December 11th 2013 judgement, religious authorities gave support to the movement. Many religious figures belive that their culture doesn’t support homosexuality. Judaism is a prime example of this. Orthodox Judaism views homosexuality as sinful. However, in recent years, this has been improving and they no longer view homosexuality as a sin.
Even though article 377 is removed, there are so many things which the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t have a right to. Like their right for marriage, for example– members of this community can’t marry their significant other’s. There is also the right to adopt, which is missing as well as the right to surrogacy. LGBTQ+ can’t adopt children as marriage is the only way to show your emotional and financial dependency, so all the laws surrounding it, like adoption are closed off to same-sex couples.
While it has been 1 year, 1 year since a same-sex couple could be together and 1 year since a same-sex couple could hold hands in public, without them being ashamed, 1 year since people have thought or possibly even have come out to their parents. Have we gone as far as we thought we thought we would? Have we given the LGBTQ+ what most of us have and the rights that they deserve?