The Union Government had left the issue of decriminalizing Section 377 of the IPC, to the ‘wisdom of the Supreme Court’. As the Supreme Court has now delivered its verdict; the centre needs to do its job and give real meaning to the LGBTQ community’s victory.
Transgender activists have time and again insisted on existence of law, which shall validate– marriage, inheritance, guardianship, and adoption of all the members of the LGBTQ community. There is no law currently enforced, that can validate such activities. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 which allows marriage irrespective of different religion, has clearly mentioned in its clause 4 that the couple should be a man and a woman. Furthermore, the personal laws viz. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 which applies on Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, and The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, also doesn’t contain any provisions concerning same sex couples and transgenders.
Two years ago, Madhuri Sharode, a transgender woman married a guy from Uttar Pradesh, Jai Sharma, in Mumbai in front of family and friends in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. She married Jai after his family accepted her, but couldn’t register her marriage. “The SC judgment gives hope for future change in laws. Without laws making way for marriage and adoption, there cannot be equality for LGBT community”, she says.
Madhuri’s concerns identify with many. Therefore, it’s pertinent that the Parliament makes a suitable legislation, to deal with this issue. But the real question is- Will the BJP take an initiative? No BJP leader apart from Subramanian Swamy has spoken a word about the verdict. And Subramanian Swamy has said, “There is no finality in the Supreme Court’s judgment today, and this can be overturned by a seven-judge bench.” The eerie silence of the Prime Minister clearly shows that he is not ready to upset the larger ‘conservative’ section of the society. Unsurprisingly, the opposition is also mum. For the first time, I’ve seen solidarity between Modi ji and Rahul Gandhi.
The battle against the archaic Section 377 began in 1994 by ABVA, and since then, it took 24 years to be held unconstitutional, for same-sex lovers by the apex court. It has been a very long journey. But it’s not over, all the stakeholders want the central government to formulate a legislation soon.
However, it’s difficult to anticipate BJP’s cooperation right now; because majority of Indian people are against same-sex marriage. They fear their cultural identity and uniqueness will be jeopardized. Most of the religious leaders have often called homosexuality a sin and unacceptable in any form. Although, institutions like Gay And Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) through proper research and analysis of Vedas, Puranas, Dharmashastra and Mahabharata, have clearly stated, about homosexuality and transgenders; that, “Everything in this world is a reflection of the original subtle and spiritual reality. Vedic culture allowed transgender people of the tritya-prakriti (third sex), to live according to their gender identity.”
There is nothing permanent in this world, rules and regulations have time and again been modified and repealed as per society’s needs and progress. All of us, who have been enjoying all the privileges since time immemorial, must understand the significance of damages we’ve done, by simply being ignorant and resolute. There is nothing unnatural in being a homosexual. We must contemplate the reasons behind being intolerant and opinionated towards them. We should think, why did they have to face humiliation for just being themselves. LGBTQ community don’t need any mental treatment! Those who question their identity and call their sexual orientation a genetic disorder, are the ones who need a treatment.
As I have already said, a legislation has to be made to regulate the marriage, inheritance, guardianship and adoption of the LGBTQ+. And that can be done, only by the legislature. Since the democratically elected government often does what is desirable by the majority, we will have to ensure, that such a legislation is passed in the parliament soon. And for that, we must change our attitude. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change, you wish to see in the world.” We must introspect, understand and interact with each other; particularly with our elders, to make sure the LGBTQ community feels socially accepted and worthy of being themselves, in contemporary India.