By Kunal Arora:
“Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code of doesn’t just pronounce me as a criminal but also debars me from the basic right of good medical treatment.”
I have dealt with issues about my sexuality while growing up – molested and teased in school by peers, and even pointed out by teachers and instructors for my effeminate presence. Family, on which you rely for love and care, also wanted me to change for their good. This was the time when my understanding about individuality was not clear and this stopped me from getting close to others. Left alone, in both school and home, and even scared to share feelings, made me feel deserted and perplexed about myself. It’s not just about me, being in a country where parents, guardians, teachers, all have a stereotypical thinking about sex and sexuality, one’s understanding about such terms cannot be structured easily.I dealt with immense pressure from society, family and friends to form myself in accordance to their thoughts. I kept on trying to be a part of them, mingling with others, even tried to modulate my voice and expressions to sound masculine, as it’s expected for a man to be rough, cocky and pompous. But nothing changed, people just want to stay away from someone who is not like them. I failed every time and even lost the hope of being cared for, as a human, till I realized that it’s not about being homosexual, it is about being different. A place where even a diseased or unhealthy person is put through trauma, how can I expect them to understand me and this particular thought helped me rekindle life and be who I am. I am against section 377 which doesn’t allow me to live my life but I never thought that this could get even more difficult. I have some genetic disorder which causes recurrent infections and rashes around the genitals. I have to seek an appointment with a dermatologist for the treatment when the previously prescribed medicines don’t work.
During the consultation, the first question I am asked is: Are you having anal intercourse? And the next which follows is: Are you gay? The demeanour and the expression of the doctor changes completely when I answer them and, they sometimes become quite apprehensive. The conversation drifts to my personal life and I feel as if I paid them to ridicule me. This has happened three times when I went for consultation. I wonder how they can be doctors when they have issues about others’ sexuality. If a doctor has an aversion towards smoking, they don’t stop from treating the patient then why was I questioned in such a way? The only reason I could see, is based on my shimmering identity laid out by law, which states that homosexuality is unnatural.
Getting medical treatment is my right and no constitution, religion and culture can stop me from accessing medical care. Acceptance is the way of making progress and cumulative success in life and when the LGBT community honors and respect the heterosexual lifestyle why can’t we be given the same treatment. Our country is in great need for section 377’s removal from the constitution because that’s the only way the outlook of people towards homosexuality change. At least one will have a right to object to the people who discriminate.
Editor’s Note: In an earlier version the article it was mentioned “Article 377 of the constitution…”. It has been corrected to “Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code…”, as pointed by the user Tirth. We thank our reader.