Section 377 of the Indian penal code, dates back to 1861 when it was established to penalize sex against the ‘order of nature’, and just like that India joined countries like Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Pakistan to criminalize what they call unnatural offenses.
The adverse effects of this law? Although originally a general ruling, it slowly turned into a target on the back of the LGBT community. A lot of Indians argue that the law violates the fundamental right to privacy and consensual sex isn't a crime, but such is the state of India today. The fight against section 377 still continues, and the 5 bench hearing last week was another defeat in the timeline of eradicating this law.
“How about pride week for Intrigue this year? It is cool and trendy. The theme can be- My Gay Best friend!” Arya exclaimed, in love with her own ingenuity. “Oh, so the keywords cool, trendy and aware took you straight to Gay. WOW. Pun intended, BTW!” said Amina rolling her eyes.
“So what do you suggest? Nothing is more eye-catching than rainbows and our support!” “Now that’s just demeaning, Arya,” Neha added. At this point, the conflicted clique of girls looked in my direction. Feeling obligated to say something, I added, “Did you guys hear about the Section 377 hearing at Supreme Court?” But I was interrupted by the riveting tale of Kylie Jenner’s thrown out lip fillers by Nishant who had just arrived.
But today, I had a little too much of the Kardarshian talk, so I finally decided to say something, “Hey, did you guys know that the word ‘Gay’ actually means cheerful and bright and showy on Wikipedia. And it was picked up in the 19th century as slang to refer to a mass of people with flamboyant personalities -stereotyped- rather than a description of their sexual orientation, which should have pointed out.
So gays have walked the earth long enough for a shout out in the Bible, but somehow we aren’t surpassing the Facebook rainbow filter and derogatory references! Not all of us want to flaunt our fashion sense to the world. Seriously, what is wrong with you people?!
We live in a world with an expanded spectrum of acceptance, with people who are self-aware and brilliant actually striving to help us voice our choice. But your group of people, who think we are the It thing of today still box us down to a trend.
You know what? Just for one day let’s try to get rid of these people and relatives and aunties and dadas. Just for one fine day, it would be great if my sexual fantasies were left alone rather than paraded around. It would be really awesome if my choice was not put up for public validation! It would be crazy if I could just be the norm rather than the sore finger sticking out! Yes, I am Gay. But I don’t want to announce it at a fancy coming out party, because that’s just not who I am”.
Catching my breath amidst the feeling of complete exuberance, I continued, “You know I read somewhere that section 377, which by the way penalizes homosexual sex, was established more than 150 years ago during the British rule, who themselves have eradicated this absolute load of crap long ago! Then why is it that in the name of culture I’m a criminal?
Why is it that if not by the law, in some way, we sometimes feel like the animals at the zoo? Caged and at display.
Maybe that’s why I hid from your spotlights, cameras, and #prideweek tweets all this while. Maybe that’s why we liked the closet better than the room where there always will be the disapproving murmur.”
With this thought, my monologue came to an end. And although beautiful, that is not how I came out. That was a story for another crowd and another time.
Today, all I said was, “Supreme Court claims the LGBT community is a negligible part of the population and denies them their right of choice.”
This was received with a short protest by my friends. They all agreed on how it’s unfair and how badly it sucks for the LGBT community to receive the animosity they are offered.
The conversation then swiftly moved on to Justin Bieber’s engagement with Hailey Baldwin. And I stood there in silence, mourning yet another defeat of my people.
Spare a moment to also read & contemplate : Coos Huijsen- First openly Gay politician
Written bySabah Batul
Sabah Batul is journalism student currently living in Bangalore. Her journey as a writer began in her English class as she was forced to write an essay. Soon she fell in love with writing, and deeply enjoyed birthing characters and stories through the tip of her pen. Sabah also enjoys writing poetry to make sense of the chaos around her. Her Instagram account @sabah_on_paper is a raw description of her deepest thoughts. Apart from writing she is a proud Potter head, who claims to be the lost Winchester sister and is also supporting Tyrion Lannister to sit on the Iron Throne next.