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LGBTQI community cheers renewed hope on Section 377

The Supreme Court has decided to constitute a bench to review Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The LGBTQI community sees hope.

delhi Updated: Jan 08, 2018 19:34 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
LGBTQ,Sec 377,Supreme Court
LGBTQ members and supporters, many wearing colourful costumes and holding balloons, participated in Delhi's 10th Queer Pride March from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar, on November 12, 2017. (Raajessh Kashyap/HT)

The Supreme Court’s decision to review Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises activities “against the order of nature”, arguably including homosexual sexual activities, has renewed hopes of the Lesbian-Gay-Bi-sexual-Transgender-Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community.

Decriminalisation of sexual activities under section 377 is what the community has been fighting for. “I am made to feel like a criminal because I’m gay. I’ve always been a centre of jokes because I am open about my sexual orientation. I have participated in all Pride paradea, shows and protests in Delhi-NCR. This decision of SC has validated my struggle, it all makes sense to me now. I am sure things will change and the right to sexuality will win, I am very hopeful,” says Dev Singh, 20-year-old student of Delhi University.

Like Singh, other members of the LGBTQ community, too, are optimistic and expecting a fast forward judgment. Mohnish Malhotra, an activist and one of the organisers of the annual queer pride parade, says, “It has been 17 years that we have been fighting and struggling for equality and freedom. The apex court has decided to constitute a bench to review the IPC section; it is a positive response. However, speedy judgment is required.”

“Section 377 criminalises something which is so natural for our community. I have full faith in the jury. I am sure they will give justice to my community which has been living in the margins and in fear. And when they do correct this angrezo ke zamane ka section 377 (which dates back to 1861), I will celebrate and shout long live Supreme Court from the rooftops, till then I would be very discreet with who I come out to,” says Swati.

Bollywood film director Onir, who won the National Award for his film ‘I Am’, too, has voiced support of the decision. “Last year, the Supreme Court’s judgment on privacy was a welcoming move and now, the recent statement that people or individuals who exercise their choice should never remain in a state of fear is a great move. It’s heartening news and I am hopeful that it will lead to a favourable judgment in the end,” says Onir, who is also an LGBTQ activist.

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First Published: Jan 08, 2018 19:34 IST