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OPINION | I Promise That We Will Not Spread Gay Culture or Try to Convert People

Rape is deviant, molestation is deviant. How can adult individuals who have consensual sex with adults be 'deviant'?

Harish Iyer |

Updated:January 9, 2018, 4:45 PM IST
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OPINION | I Promise That We Will Not Spread Gay Culture or Try to Convert People
Image for representation. (Reuters)
The Supreme Court has decided to review Section 377. I am cautiously optimistic, have my hopes flying high but feet set firmly on the ground. I am not taking out my champagne bottle just yet considering that we have had setbacks even at the time when we were the most optimistic.

I have constantly been on the phone since Monday morning, fighting with people who obsessively and respectfully disagree with me. A social activist who fights for all the “right” causes (pun intended), said that he is in favour of respecting people who are homosexuals but not decriminalising gay sex. Obviously, I don’t share the same love and respect for his views.

Here are some points that I need to make clear to the likes of him:

HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A DEVIANCE

Homosexuality has been de-listed from the list of mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, the Indian Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organisation. When you say “deviant” behaviour, what do you mean by that? Rape is deviant, molestation is deviant. How can adult individuals who have consensual sex with adults be deviant?

WE WILL NOT SPREAD GAY CULTURE, PROMISE!

Well, we will make the world more accepting of people of all races, gender, caste, creed and sexuality. I think it would be nice to live in a world that is filled with respect and not where people are killing each other. That’s the gay culture – the ‘happy wala’ gay culture. There are enough fish in the queer pond and we don’t need to ‘convert’ people to make them gay. Sexuality is not a chemical reaction. We don’t expand our minds to homosexuality on heating and retract to heterosexuality on cooling. I don’t know any gay person spreading his culture and forcing others to be gay. However, I do see heterosexuals forcing LGBTIQ persons to be heterosexual.

MINORITY RIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT

Rahul Easwar, an Indian philosophy author and an activist, has gone on and on about how a majority of population is against homosexuality. I wonder what Rahul refers to when he makes such statements. But irrespective of that, even if the majority was against me, the state still shouldn’t discriminate against the rights of the minorities. Gender and sexuality rights are the minority’s rights when it comes to the LGBTIQ community.

We deserve the right to live a dignified life that is free of prejudice as granted to us by the Constitution. Even if I was a Muslim, a Dalit or a queer person, my rights are important. If this was not the case, the minorities would never be able to get the right majoritarian number to win any debate and our country will inevitably be ruled by the heterosexual, gendered, upper caste Hindu men who are the majority.

YOU’RE NOT BEING RESPECTFUL TOWARDS HOMOSEXUALS WHEN YOU SUPPORT 377

You can’t tell us “we respect you”, “we don’t want you to be in jail” and “we support Section 377” all in the same sentence. Do you even hear your own words and the contradiction in it? How can you respect people and say that you don’t want people to be in jail for their orientation, and also support Section 377, which basically criminalises all kinds of sex apart from peno-vaginal. Section 377 inadvertently ends up throwing LGBT persons in jail. Are you absurd or are you absurd?

WE HAVE POCSO AND PCA

For protecting children from sexual offences we have POCSO, which is Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act. POCSO also protects children who are victims of same sex assault. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) protects animals in a similar way. We could strengthen these laws instead of keeping Section 377 to serve these purposes.

However, even if the argument of no punishment for non-consensual sex between adult homosexuals holds water, we still don’t need to criminalise consensual sex between adults in private – we could read out Section 377 and take us back in time to the Delhi High Court verdict.

BE A NATIONALIST. SUPPORT DECRIMINALISATION

It is in the Indian culture to respect people of different gender identities and sexual orientation. Section 377 came with the British and it has been 75 years since Independence. Now it is time to say #377QuitIndia.

I hope all those who support Section 377 understand that their views are un-Indian, un-democratic, disrespectful and smells of patriarchal hegemony.

The author is an LGBT rights activist. Views are personal.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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