Section 377, an archaic law in place since the British era, prohibits ‘unnatural’ or non peno-vaginal intercourse. The law criminalises sex between two consenting adults of the same gender.
Following a recent petition, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on whether to decriminalize Section 377. While the SC has given a strong indication that it plans to go ahead and scrap the law-- how long will it take for Indians to accept homosexuality?
News18.com went to the heart of the capital city-- Connaught Place-- to find out.
One would imagine that in the 21st century, when several countries have legalised homosexuality, India would also be as woke. However, when we went out and asked people about the same, we were greeted with some funny, some amusing, and some very shocking answers.
Connaught Place on a Monday afternoon was surprisingly busy. Young groups of friends, women in their late fifties were out for fancy brunches, and there were the regular office goers.
When we asked them what they thought of 'lesbians' and 'gays', the prompt response was, “We can understand that they are gay by seeing them, as they have a different personality.” Well, they really aren’t draped in rainbows all the time and they certainly don’t make advances on every person they meet on the street, so we are not sure how. But that's the idea when it comes to living in a heternormative society. One man even called it a “mental thing.”
When someone responded with a “they are just like all of us”, we were quite impressed and hoped that we’d indeed be met with not so conservative mind-sets. Well, we were proved wrong for the major part of it.
The common factor binding all answers from the varied age groups and genders were that they began with “it is okay!” when asked about what they think of homosexuals. However, delving deeper into the matter portrayed how the liberal mindset seemed great only until homosexuality entered the confined boundaries of one’s home.
“I wouldn’t be happy about it” and “I’d accept it only because there is no other choice” were the reluctant, visibly uncomfortable answers to “How would you react if your children came out to you as gay". These were the same people, who had previously said that homosexuality is okay and “everyone is a human being first.” Some even suggested they'd try counselling to change their 'adamant' children.
Most also harped on how they’d be somewhat uncomfortable around a gay person, as they expected the people to make a move on them or touch them. There seemed to be only a partial or skewed understanding of what section 377 was all about. While most weren't even aware of the law, one asked if it was about Kashmir.
On explaining it to them, they seemed to be fine with it. So we asked them if they would attend a gay marriage if it becomes legal to do so in India. The responses weren't quite shocking, but pretty sad as expected to be. “Indian society and religious norms don’t work like that. People won’t accept things like gay marriages,” one of the passers-by responded. One lady summed it up by saying, “not everything that becomes legal, has to be acceptable.”
The show stealer was a response by a man who said, “of course, dogs also marry, cows also marry, so what’s the problem?”
The capital city tried hard to put up an exterior that supports “love for all.” It’s just that, till one implements these same notions in their own families, we aren’t headed towards a more inclusive society at all.
Well, here's the truth. If homosexuals can't come out to their own families, they’d be living half their lives secretly. How is that for a change?