Urging for equality and freedom of expression, members of the LGBTQ community raised their objections against the recently passed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill.
“The problem is that it talks about a screening body for us. It makes begging an offence for us,” Mumbai-based transgender activist, Gauri Sawant, who was a petitioner in the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgement passed in 2014, said at an event here on Saturday.
People of this community are mostly shunned by their families and someone else deciding their identity is “unacceptable”.
“Also, begging is not something that only the transgender people indulge in,” Sawant said.
Social activists, intellectuals and eminent personalities walked the ramp and held an auction as part of the fundraiser programme for the marginalised during an event ‘Third Eye’ held here.
According to Ranjita Sinha, a member of West Bengal Transgender Welfare Board, “No man or woman would like to identify as a transgender, hence there is no need of a screening committee.”
Sharing her story, Sawant said: “After knocking at the door of the Supreme Court, I got the right to adopt a child as I wanted to be a mother. But why can’t the society accept us as citizens of the nation that the Constitution talks about.”
Bengal-based transgender educationist Atri Kar talked about being bullied “not by students but fellow teachers”.
West Bengal Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya supported the cause by participating in the power walk where the likes of transgender educationist Atri Kar, and Rudrani Chettri who runs a modelling agency for the community, participated.
“More than schemes and policies, general awareness and tolerance is needed for the community. People need to be sensitive,” Bhattacharya said.
Section 377 of IPC is one of the most controversial matters in India
The law criminalises the unnatural acts of sexual activities
Homosexuality is illegal under the IPC Section 377
Section 377, which criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature,” which includes homosexual relationships as well, has been a matter of debate for a long time now. In a rather progressive nation like India, this section represents nothing but backwardness.
The modern Indian approach towards homosexuality is hardly the one derived from Indian culture, rather it is a product of British colonialization, which brought the section into being during their rule over India.
LGBTQ rights are used as nothing but a propaganda by political parties to gain votes. The media coverage is also about nothing else, but either community members getting harassed or a politician spewing out absurdities about the LGBTQ community. The reasons which the rigid nationalists of our country give in support of Section 377 are even more absurd. they try to create a connection where there is neither scope nor need.
Indian Culture and Section 377 – Is there really a connection?
The truth is, there isn’t. Those who go against homosexuality in the name of Indian culture are surely not properly aware of our ancient texts. Indian culture, especially Hinduism has always been more fluid in its ideology than the British who ruled India for more than a century.
Indian culture has always recognised sexuality properly. Our scriptures are a great example of that. Be it the famous Kamasutra or the Vedas, sexuality was never a taboo until Mughals and Britishers came into the picture.
Nowhere in Indian culture, there is a scripture which validates the ill-treatment of LGBTQ community. What we don’t release is the fact that the weight of colonialism still hangs heavily over our heads, suspended in mid-air, dividing people who believe in totally two different ideologies.
Our ancestors recognised the need for changes in their law, sadly, our modern generation can not. Section 377 of the Indian penal code dates back to 1861, and it is now high time that a change is implemented.
It is no hidden fact that Indian culture was far more modern in its approach than the Roman or British one. However, that’s the case of the past. With time progressing, India has only regressed in the matters relating to sexuality and women.
Be it society’s way of controlling a certain section of society, or politicians who never step back from banking upon such matters, India needs to recognise that the Section 377 is totally wrong in its approach of homosexual people.
Section 377 goes against the ‘unnatural’ sexual activities, which involves unnatural sexual acts performed on humans and animals. the key term in the section is “against the order of nature.”
Homosexuality, unfortunately, is against the nature in India. It is not treated as an identity or the orientation of a person, rather many radicals claim it to be an ‘illness.’ What’s more interesting, is the fact that there is no norm which defines these ‘unnatural acts.’
The IPC Section 377 is the reason why homosexuality in India is a taboo today. Despite, several protests and peaceful rallies, India’s pride just keeps on going down. Homosexuals live in a constant fear which is a violation of humanity in itself.
The law needs to be constantly modified in order to be effective. With the change in time, a modification is law is also needed. However, Indian Supreme Court seems to be ignoring the fact. It is going along with the old beliefs which are better cast away.
The IPC Section 377 needs not to get removed, however, an amendment is definitely needed. Homosexuality is not a crime, it is just human nature which needs to accept. To be or not be is not a choice, it is an orientation. And orientation doesn’t see legal or illegal.