It has been two and a half years, since the Honorable Supreme Court Of India passed a judgement, saying that certain sections of the draconian Article 377, were unconstitutional.
For a lot of people in the country, especially the LGBTQI+ community, this was a historic moment.
This judgement ignited hope in the hearts of millions of Indians, that finally, the oppression that they had been subjected to because of their non-conformity to certain skewed perceptions, would finally stop.
That finally, they will have a modicum of respect in society, both as human beings, and more importantly, as individuals.
We asked 5 people to share their lived experiences and their realities to see, whether, that judgement really became that harbinger of change that it was supposed to be:
Harsh Sahay says, “I identity as a woman, and this is a concept that perhaps people still don’t completely understand, not because of a lack of trying. I sometimes feel that people just don’t want to think of changing their mindsets, they want to stick to the echo chambers that they have made for themselves.”
She adds, “I particularly have had several issues with the police. Because of my work in an NGO, I have to deal with the local police on a number of occasions. The looks that I get and the way that I am spoken about is really infuriating. Plus, I need to jump through hoops in order to get a complaint registered with the police.”
© BCCL2. Issues With Housing - Shivam Raj, 29
Shivam Says “Housing is always a challenge especially if you’re looking for a place as a couple. First of all, not a lot of people are willing to rent out their properties to homosexual couples, whether you speak of gay men or lesbian women. This is especially true in cities in North India, although Kolkata is no better.
By some miracle, even if you find a landlord that is willing to rent their flats to us, we still have to deal with the RWAs. Most of the time, they will hide their prejudices under the garb of their policy of not allowing bachelors or live-in relationships, but it actually is homophobia.”
"The mindset of the people hasn't changed a lot. Being a queer myself, I have experienced many young guys passing homophobic slurs at me because they think it's unnatural. The word "Hijra" being used as an abuse really pains me.
The scrapping of Article 377 gave me a voice to retaliate back at those slurs and have made me accept the way I was born. I can now try to educate people with valid points, without feeling myself as a criminal. But like I have always believed, an article can only make a difference if society is educated enough to accept the truth."
Palash Borah is the CSR Manager for Blued India, a social networking app, that is dedicated to the people of the LGBTQI+ community.
He says, “While the scrapping of section 377 was a great move, the issue of accepting people irrespective of their sexual orientation, caste or religion is still a larger concern. While we have legally taken a step forward - a mindset change is mandatory for all of us.”
He adds, “ When it comes to acceptance and inclusivity, we have a long way to go. However, it is good to see how brands, social communities and organizations have come forward and have been a strong voice for the community.”
Says Parineeta, “Let’s not take away from the fact that there have been some positive changes. We have been able to carve out a legitimate space for ourselves, where we cannot be ignored, and opening up about several issues has become easier. Take the conversation around preferred pronouns as an example. A few years back that was a completely alien concept. So we cannot say that things are still the same.”
She adds, “Moreover, there are several brilliant young minds working as lawyers and key policymakers who will bring about the change that is needed, in due time.”
She continues, saying, “There is a difference between how the law sees us and how society sees us. We have won on the legal front, and we are winning on the societal front. Sure, things are moving slowly, but things will improve for sure.”