SITUATION 1- A: Hey look, Ronie is coming? B: Ronie! Oh, he’s a gay!
X: Kya baat hai bhai aajkal tu Jeet ke saath bada dikh raha hai?
Y: Yaar, dost hai mera.
X: Dost hai ya….? Waise bhi Act 377 lagu ho gaya hai. Ab toh legal hai ye sab.
Today we can see many such examples where, “being gay or lesbian” has become someone’s identity. Most people don’t even know what is the Act 377 all about? What does the law say? What is written in it? When and where it is applicable or why?
Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor abnormality nor immorality. It is just the way few of us wish to express our love and sexuality. But homosexuality is considered crime from the time 1860s when we were still under the control of British rule. According to the law, Indian Penal Code (IPC) Chapter XVI, Section 377, punishes “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” Violations are punishable by a prison term up to 10 years and possible fines.It was criminalized because it was “against the order of nature”.
But on July 2, 2009, the New Delhi High Court overturned the 152-years-old law section, a bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar, changed Section 377 and decriminalized consensual sex between LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender) adults. They said that if this law is not modified, section 377 of the IPC would violate Article 14 of the Indian constitution, which states that every citizen has equal opportunity of life and is equal before law. However Section 377 continues to apply in the case of sex involving minors and forced sex.
In today’s world, people believe that they are so-called modern but when the actual time comes to prove their “modernity” they back out. It very much applies on accepting gays and lesbians in the society. Everyone has their own version of modernity. Different people have different opinions about LGBT community. Some believes that it is highly offensive. The act is ‘against the nature’ and the gays are criminals. Others are accepting them but they are very few. Some also believes that peoples’ opinion does not change just because the law has changed, which is very true. Also, some others believe that legalizing such relationships will make the society impure and increase the problems of HIV/AIDS.
However the one thing that has changed with this new improvisation is that, people have been open about their sexuality for the first time in families and in workspaces.
One of my friends whom I talked about this whole issue said “Now I am more comfortable to confess that I am a gay. Although there is still no good social acceptance for people like us, the good part is that we are no longer criminals under the law.”
I believe that for LGBT community it is very important that they first accept themselves. They should believe in themselves, and then only they can be confident enough to confess others about their feelings. And this act has somewhat helped them to overcome the family and societal fear. Even though the situation is not so good but now they are not charged under some crime and they can fight without their hands being tied with law.
I think it’s the high time we should start accepting the change in this law. Also, respect individual’s privacy. When there is a change in society time to time, why can’t there be change in the laws which are formed so many decades ago and are enforced on us even today, even if it doesn’t make sense in today’s world.