With the recent Supreme Court judgment taking gay and lesbian relationships outside the ambit of Section 377, it is surely time to rejoice for the LGBTQ community which has fought a long battle for the basic right of being able to love without being stigmatised as sex offenders.
As we rejoice hand-in-hand with the community, it is a pertinent question to answer if we as a country of orthodox beliefs is ready to stop stigmatising as well.
Same-sex relationships have been looked down upon in India through modern times. So it is with much pride that the Supreme Court’s judgment has finally acquiesced to the need of the changing society. As Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra mentioned that the law has been arbitrary towards the need of the LGBTQ community, resulting in withholding of Fundamental Rights for many individuals. It is finally time for members of this community to “come out of the closet”, if they choose, and to do so with pride. But more importantly, it is time for patience and understanding on everyone’s part. It is a big step that we have taken from the 157-year old ban and we can surely begin to call ourselves a progressive nation. But there are much obstacles yet to face.
India’s LGBTQ community requires our support now more than ever, for even though the legal standing provides same-sex couples with the right to privacy, there are many more social norms where our understanding of love and morality would stand in opposition to queer people.
A consensual same-sex relationship is no different than a consensual heterosexual relationship and when two people are in love they should be allowed to not only declare their love openly but also be accepted if they were to engage in activities any couple would normally do. From marriage to the right to adoption, the spectrum lies wide open and this battle would be all for naught if we were to deny these rights to this community.
So the impending question we need to answer is what can we as an individual do to show love to this community fighting for love. Can’t we have less disdainful looks passed at these warriors? Would it really matter if they walked alongside us holding the hand of their beloved? It’s time to accept that ‘love is love’ no matter whom you love, and gender has never been relevant in this equation. We as a nation have succeeded today and we hope to see this battle to the end with our fellow queer citizens.