On the night of June 6, the Delhi police physically assaulted and verbally harassed a gay man in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village. His crime? He was hugging a friend who happened to be trans. The victim and his friends were subjected to various homophobic, transphobic, and racial abuses. One of his friends, a South Indian was called a “Nigerian hooker who must be thrown out”; another friend, a trans woman, was referred to as an “escort”, and the victim was called a “chakka”.
The victim who got slapped and lathi-charged then started taking pictures of the police jeep but the police quickly snatched his phone away, called him and his friends a public nuisance and then proceeded to detain them, only releasing them after his friend’s father came and signed an undertaking that forced the victim to delete the pictures and barred him from filing any complaints further. However, he shared the encounter with his friends who then circulated this experience of police misconduct through social media. As of now, the Delhi police have not yet responded despite the victim’s friends tagging them and requesting an explanation.
Via @MADOO26 on Twitter
This isn’t the only hate crime the country witnessed surrounding Pride month. On May 29 in Delhi at about 2 am, a cross-dresser dressed as Goddess Kali was stabbed multiple times and murdered in cold blood by a group of men, one of the suspects being a Delhi University student. On May 26 in Hyderabad, a group of trans women were attacked by a mob who believed they were a group of child kidnappers following a fake WhatsApp forward. One of the women succumbed to her injuries shortly after.
On May 28, three trans women were beaten up brutally in Mumbai by MNS workers who accused them of practising prostitution. On June 4 in Kerala, in a case that shows that the Indian judiciary too has little respect for the right to privacy of queer people, the High Court ordered a psychological and medical examination of a 25-year-old trans woman after her mother moved a petition saying her “son” is brainwashed by a “transgender gang”.
It is alarming to see such high rate of hate crimes and discriminations being committed against queer people especially when it is supposed to be a month of celebrating acceptance, love, and liberation. We cannot celebrate Pride if we still live in prejudice. Perhaps the Indian queer community needs to be reminded about the radical origins of the movement. Our country is suffering from a colonial hangover as the validity of draconian laws like Section 377 continue to be debated as if the law doesn’t exist solely to violate the basic human rights of queer people.
Picture Courtesy: Nazariya LGBT
Our political parties, even the seemingly liberal ones have no sincere concern for the community. Parties like AAP promised LGBT reforms but failed to include these reforms in its manifesto and the Congress Party has conveniently just woken up in light of the recent petitions against Section 377 after they’ve consistently flip-flopped on the issue over the years. Who then has our back? Our identity is seen as an invitation for violence while the movement remains scattered and riddled with internal politics when it comes to demanding justice and rights. For many of us, therefore, the families we’ve created out of our shared experiences with oppression continue to serve as our primary support system and sole source of security.