As we all know, Section 377 has been amended by the Supreme Court of India. It is considered to be the first step towards a ‘free’ society. This judgement is regarded as the independence day for the LGBTQ+ community. But, is it really independence day for the community as a whole or just LGB?
Let us probe further into these questions.
The history of Section 377 goes back to the British India period when it was introduced in 1861. The Section 377 states, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
The judiciary has played a significant role in decriminalising Section 377. However, there have been several ups and downs before the final judgement was given. Let us have a look at the timeline of the judgement:
|2001||An NGO “Naz Foundation” first raised the issue of section 377 and “AIDS Bedhbhav Virodh Andholan” in Delhi High Court|
|Delhi High court decriminalised sex between consenting adults from the same gender|
|2013||2009 Judgement overturned by Supreme Court and rejected review plea|
|2014||NALSA vs Union India (Granted personhood to transgender)|
|2017||Right to privacy as a fundamental right|
|2018||Judgement passed to decriminalise section 377|
Please take note of the judgement given in 2014 which granted personhood status to the members of the transgender community. This was considered as the base for the LGB community to propose their case actively.
Media has played an essential role in shaping society’s mindset about the trans community. But, there are positives and negatives to how the media has portrayed the LGBT community. The international media started several TV shows (such as Glee) to influence people and create awareness about the LGBT community. Similarly, the first substantial effort to work towards decriminalisation – surprisingly came into the limelight after Deepa Mehta’s “Fire“ in 1998, that portrayed the relationship between two women in a rural setting. Later on, as there were not many talks in the early 2000s on digital media, a separate digital magazine was launched named as “Pink” to provide a platform for the community.
However, there was one thing common – if the overall performance of media is considered. This was the low representation of the transgender community and more focus on the LGB community. And this is even visible amongst all of us as individuals and as a society. We still do not feel comfortable and ignore transgender community as compared to the LGB community. And one of the reasons for this is the media which has played a vital role in shaping our minds.
To conclude, we all need to ask one question to ourselves, has the media become our new generation’s leader for shaping our opinion and views?