Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which was introduced in 1861 during the British Rule in India, once stated, “Unnatural Offence: 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 of either description for a term which may extend to ten years or with a death penalty and shall also be liable to fine”. But 6th September, 2018, marks the day when this old and sick section of the IPC got abolished. It was indeed a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of India.
Now that it’s been two years since Section 377 got decriminalised, has the mentality of society towards the LGBTQIA+ community really changed or we are still standing at the same place where we were on the day before 6th September, 2018?
The Indian queer community celebrated the decriminalisation with joy. Colours and rainbows cried their tears of happiness. Yet, even today, there are women who are not comfortable holding hands with their girlfriends in public due to fear of people staring at them with shame and disgrace. The landmark decision has of course brought awareness to people about the fact that ‘Love is love’ in a much clearer and broader way. However, we need to work more towards making society realise and accept the LGBTQIA+ community.
Every one of us should keep ourselves strong and help each other in facing other bigger challenges, including same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, surrogacy etc. We have surely won a battle, but many more battles are yet to be fought with positivity, truth, purity and love, so that we can prove that love wins, no matter what. And that where there is love, there is a way.
About the author: Ar. Barsha Kunda is an urban designer and architectural journalist.