(Originally for Platform Online)
Last Wednesday 11th December India’s LGBT community suffered a great blow when the Indian Supreme Court recriminalised certain sexual acts that it deemed to be “unnatural”.
Back in 2009 the Delhi High Court overturned a ban on what Victorian British colonisers called “carnal intercourse” (i.e. oral and anal sex). The 2009 ruling was a significant step forward for gay and bisexual Indians who would no longer risk arrest for engaging in consensual oral or anal sex, and who had since seen gently increasing acceptance and equality in the socially conservative country where extramarital relations are still frowned upon even for heterosexuals. Rights activists around the world were therefore shocked at the ISC’s decision last week to uphold the antiquated ban, which turned thousands into criminals overnight, and denounced it as repressive, redundant and a violation of human rights.
While the law effectively isolates an entire section of society, regressing their expressions of love to criminal acts, it should be noted that the law isn’t specifically homophobic. Section 377 is applicable to all, whether heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise, and “unnatural” relations are illegal even between a man and a woman.
Nonetheless the existence of the law, and the ideology that accompanies it, provides a lawful and “justified” foundation for intolerance and discrimination that must be abhorred by unprejudiced and intellectual individuals the world over, especially since it contradicts India’s constitution which supposedly upholds equality before the law.
If you support equality in love, why not sign All Out’s petition to call for the Indian Supreme Court to review their decision.