I am aware India is not Russia. For two obvious reasons:
a) It is hot as hell here. Always. Even the winters are not winters. Infact if a Russian comes to Jammu and Kashmir during the winter, his Facebook album will be titled:”Summer vacation in India”
b) We are not an explicit dictatorship regime. We are still naive in our belief in democracy.
But 2013 had some very similar events in both the nation’s lives. Russia passed an archaic and unusually weird law which made it a criminal offense to spread sex propaganda which was opposed to the traditional sexual lifestyle. In a nutshell- If anyone is found talking about homosexuality to minors, they can be convicted. How was the law used? Few tourists were arrested for engaging in a LGBT conversation with Russian youth. What did the world do? There was widespread condemnation and protest. Barack Obama decided to send Billie Jean King, a legendary tennis player who is also a homosexual, as a delegate to Russia for the Winter Olympics. What did India do? It suffered historical amnesia and thought that the USSR was still in existence and an ally. We criminalized homosexuality again. The funny bit? Homosexuality has been decriminalized in Russia for almost two decades.
A lot has already been said for, against, neutral, biased, controversial, secular and all things which come with taking a public step in India. What is my aim? To highlight an answer to a simple question:
What will happen if Sec 377 is removed?
Answer: Just one thing- the undue harassment and exploitation of LGBT community will end. There will be freedom to accept oneself and more importantly, without the threat of conviction, there will be the requisite access to healthcare and anti-HIV initiatives.
Now there is another question which has a highly descriptive answer;
What will NOT happen if Sec 377 is removed?
- Everyone in India will NOT become gay: There was a scary precedent in the days leading upto the Supreme Court verdict on Sec 377. A guy representing a religious trust was using science to state his anti-Homosexuality stand. He said that science is still researching on whether homosexuality is a disease or not. How much must the religious/cultural guardians of our society be afraid of homosexuality that they used science to defend their point of view? Of course it was an incorrect stand. WHO has long delisted homosexuality as a disease. It is not a communicable disease. But you know what is? Stupidity. Highly communicable. And the religious conservatives need to get their stand clear. “Homosexuality is under medical research.” Okay. “Science states that we evolved from apes”. Conservatives: “How dare you say that? That is blasphemous to God!” We cannot use science as and when convenient. If you support A, better support till Z too.
- No law will dictate your Sex Life : The most ferocious homophobes forgot the other aspect of Section 377. It states that any sex other than vaginal sex is punishable. That applies to straight and gays alike. There exists a law in 21st Century India which states what kind of consensual acts you can commit inside your bedroom. Many of them said that the law cannot be implemented, so not to worry. But what if it is? In unfair ways which we cannot imagine? A law exists not just to dictate the right or wrong. It is also a statement of a nation’s beliefs.
- LGBT will engage in PDA(Not) and hand holding: Yes that will happen. But wait-grown men holding each other’s hands in public, where have I seen this before? Oh yes- at Juhu Beach, Carter Road, Marine Drive, randomly on any street in Mumbai. This will NOT be new. And PDA? I know it is hard to believe, but gays are human beings like you and me! They understand the expression “Get a room!” and feel as embarrassed as you in PDA ,especially in India, where they stare at you like you are an alien if you engage in even subtle forms of PDA.
- LGBT will not start getting married : This is one point where I disagree with the ultra liberals and urban intellectuals. I think there is a long way to go before the LGBT community in India gets marriage rights. Why? Because as a straight guy, I will “ruffle the feathers” if I seek to marry a girl who is from a different caste/region/religion/same gotra/country/ethnicity or who is dark/taller than me/older than me/earns more than me. These are just an urban guy’s problems which to a certain extent can be faced. The rural youth? They get killed for having a choice. In the land of honour killings, I shudder at the thought of the horrific treatment which might be meted out to LGBT community in the event of marriage. We are also the most riot-friendly democracy in the world. Let’s first make it a safe place for marriage as an institution and then we can go ahead to discuss LGBT marriage.
- You will not get stalked by your gay friend : Here is a fun fact: Gay people like to fall for people who are gay. If your best friend of several years comes out, he does NOT desire you. He wants to love someone and wants to be loved back. That will make him happy. Call yourself a friend? That will be the day to prove it by supporting him. That person who you knew still exists. He just wants to be happy like you do.
- The prejudice against LGBT will NOT disappear : Sadly, every nation which has tried to be progressive with gay rights, cannot eliminate the prejudice harbored by millions. “That is so gay.” and the other F-word is a part of daily discourse. India will still be a cruel place, because laws can guarantee equality but not the elimination of prejudice.
I know by now many are busy thinking,” What is your problem?”,”What is the big deal?” and “Supporting gay rights? Ho ga Gay khud saalah!”. *deep thought*.Okay. So supporting gay rights makes me gay. Then supporting animal rights makes me a pig (though considering I am a man, I am one already. No offense to pigs.). Supporting the environmental rights makes me Earth. I support women rights so I am a woman now. This is fairly easy. So if I support Mahatma Gandhi, I am a Gandhian now. Reality: I am very far from the man’s principles and actions.
I don’t care if you are for or against homosexuality, lets agree on one simple thing- Jails were made for murderers and rapists and the scum of the society who threaten law and order, NOT for people who seek happiness through love. In a country with crores of legal cases pending, we want to increase the count through frivolous cases which will punish the innocent? Become an economic superpower with medieval social policies?
What is right should never be judged by the number of people supporting it. If that was the case, India would have probably not got freedom in 1947. Look at the history of the world; whenever mobs have gotten together and ruled , morality has always suffered. “Faggot” Out.
Ever heard of a non-homophobic hip-hop/rap song? Now you have. A gem