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LGBT+ in India

Introduction


LGBT+ being one of the most discussed communities and highly avoided ones when the topic of discussion comes upon them and their rights here in Indian society. In this country where it is difficult to talk about topics like these and make it normalized there are people who are yet putting a barrier to the freedom and equal treatment they could get, but aren’t able to due to orthodoxy, conservatively high wave in India. Even after having a judgment rule out a part of Article 377, the society doesn’t seem to have their perspectives rendered and still seems to be protracting after looking at the loopholes. Despite they can keep their personal affairs to themselves, and also by an apology by Justice Indu Malhotra they still have some rights that they are not given as the same sex marriage, to surrogacy and no right to adoption. There is still a long battle to go forward with, that hasn’t been looked upon for the community.


LGBT+ Lifestyle, Rights and Changes


LGBT+ community has a hard time defining who they actually are, and why it’s their right to get the same treatment as others. The fact that their sexuality doesn’t differentiate them from others, in having to ask to get the rights that every other individual has without seeking for permission and already granted by. In a verdict of Navtej Singh Johar vs. UOI the Supreme Court struck down the Article 377 which had criminalized gay sex. Which made it easier for this community to have a backup from the Legislation to legally have support, making it easier for them to communicate it to people, families what they want to freely giving them the confidence that they deserve. But yet the society has its perspectives that don’t stop and make it very obvious for the LGBT+ to feel ashamed, feel awkward about them being what they are, with them being okay with it. Plus even after striking a part of the Article they haven't been given a right to get married, to start a life, to reproduce/ surrogacy. The fact that they have to maintain a reputation that isn’t exactly theirs and won't actually should be ruined by things like these but holds them back from being straight forward to their parents. The way people treat this community is very terrible, even if it’s a workplace.


Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bills, 2019 protects the rights by prohibiting any discrimination at work place, with regard to employment, education, healthcare, access to government or private establishments. Though they refuse to use this Act as it exposes them to the institution oppression while dehumanizing their body and as they also do not comply with the NALSA judgment, the right of equality before law and equal protection under the law is guaranteed in Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Loopholes to this bill are if ‘sexual abuse against transgender’ the punishment is only for two years where as if this happens to a woman then the punishment is for seven years, which clearly show the difference without putting a bright light on it.


Unfortunately the Government hasn't taken any step towards this notion, and if they would make changes for the better for this community and give them the respect, education, job, equality, freedom they deserve and are the rightful owners of. If taken a step by the government there could be changes rising clearly and their rights and relationships are not to be looked down upon.


Section 377 is History but there must be Strict Policies for the Young LGBT+ Indians to be Protect from Getting Bullied


Gilbert Baker once elected for US Officer and first openly gay, had made it clear that he wanted to make the society enriched with the LGBTQ+ pride and accept them and make it aware that there are people and they should be given equal opportunities and treatment. He made a rainbow flag representing their community, with flag he had a special notion to that he thought it was a great way of making it official and it giving more power to the community. While years passed by and this flag was now internationally used. Making this community aware was one of the biggest steps taken and giving them equality in every way possible. But there are still changes and establishments, policies to be made, to be rendered here in India for this community to be not just aware but more empowered.


If taken a look at in depth identity is not the only thing to be highlighted but the way the young LGBT+ are being treated in schools and colleges have them affected so negatively that they tend to drop out of college. Despite them attending education institutions, there is lack of knowledge and maturity in faculty to handle situations between the bullies who treat them differently. The faculty not only that but also take part in bulling kids belong in to LGBT+ community.


Two reporters have put light on this topic where there is much need of light on young student LGBT+ which are being bullied and what scenarios take place. The ICJ found citing giving different school uniforms and toilets, difficulties in obtaining accurate identity documents as barriers for LGBT students. There reporters also said that there were cases of teachers beating and forcing them to sit separately. In Tamil Nadu, Eighty-four percent of participants reported being bullied, most by other students, but in one-fifth of those cases by a male teacher. Only 18% of those who were bullied said they reported the incident to school authorities.

While there are changes taken place by the judgments there are not many positive responses where the community is not miserable and still don’t end up the same way. These two reports give a reality check as in where we stand and what all does the Government still has to change in order to reach a better version.


Sad truth of being an LGBT+ in India


Far away from giving and taking rights for the LGBT+ there are ways that families of this LGBT+ individuals take. In some parts of India, there are secret honor killings planned for the LGBT+ individual, so that they have no choice but to run away with no support and money. Whereas in other parts of India, lesbian woman are sanctioned to corrective rapes, performed by their own family members. Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, a trans woman LGBT activist and public policy scholar at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, who spoke about the lesbians and this community in particular to lie at the bottom of the hierarchy when it comes to basic human rights. She also says that village babas prescribe rape of lesbian homosexual and refusal to marriage brings more physical abuse. She talks about being the acceptance comes in urban areas and not in rural areas. She puts a headline on note that it comes as a no chock to them when they read about a lesbian women committing suicide due to her own family members. Or have them go to corrective therapy. She talks about her experience when she was forced to go to this therapy and was forced to take drugs which made her confused and depressed while making her stay with other psych ill woman to see how she would react.


By telling her story she wanted to make it straight that not all doctors but some do things just to get clients, more money and what the parents would understandably think is following the trend. She also talks about the awareness to be made between kids and help them question things through debates in schools. Believing that how much ever you teach a family if there are not rights given by the Government then there is not much that the families can do either but accept them and let them live the life they want.


Personal Opinion on How Changes Can Be Made

  1. The Staff in the schools and Colleges need to be given training on how to handle situations where LGBT+ students are being mistreated.

  2. For the Staff of colleges and schools to have and open mind and to educate them on this community and giving them insights on the same legally and morally.

  3. Having to make kids aware at an early age and rendering their minds so that they follow a healthy and open minded atmosphere.

  4. Making aware of the legislations that give them right under Article 377, for the ones who do not even have the basic knowledge.

  5. LGBT+ Activism.

  6. Making it aware at firms, companies, institutions, workplace to having their rights acknowledged and if any mistreatment done it could be reported and be legally treated.

  7. Making is universal in the country that anyone playing any kind of role in mistreating, supporting, standing quiet and not reporting abuse or and mistreatment against LGBT+ would be legally treated if notified by the abused.

  8. NGO’s specifically for them to notify if they have these legal issues.

  9. Quick, proper establishments of policies for LGBT.

  10. Helpline Number for the LGBT+ community for reporting their problems.

  11. Parents should understand their LGBT+ kids and accept them , and if they cant then they should try to hold their horses and behave , think, emotionally and practically and for their kids not for the society and family image.

  12. Families should not send their kids to corrective treatments and not have them tortured or abused by their own family members.

  13. Bring policies for same sex marriage.

  14. Making Anti- Bullying Laws and have LGBT+ specifically mentioned, with sections separately for their rights.

  15. Having Sex Education being a part of Studies. Teaching about HIV/AIDS.

Most importantly these should not be the only factor to give them their rights but making people normalize this community and treating is equal like it’s just another normal person like they are would be much better than making such policies, but legislation cannot change minds, morals and hearts, upbringing of people and rather just enforce laws with full execution would bring change drastically.


Conclusion


The question that arises yet in minds of people how do we support Queer community, to stop the violence, inequality, bully, harassment that they are facing on a daily basis despite having laws. The laws need to step up and upgrade while not letting the cultural point of view intrude in the legislations. How far can we take down our country by just believing in social and cultural norms? It’s a new world, it’s a new society, and we need new rules for this new world with new people, and different thought process than the ancestors. We cannot keep rejecting peoples fundamental rights on the basis of these norms. These are the basic human birth rights that they are fighting for which seems very irrelevant having to witness this. If this is the part where it is stuck upon then we need to uplift ourselves from the social evil ruining our minds and not letting our thought process run to a better and open world with proper neat laws for every community considered. Justice Malhotra says, “History owes an apology to the members of this community and their families, for the delay in providing redressal for the ignominy and ostracism that they have suffered through the centuries”. It's time we changed and brought changes in our country. Taking some inspiration from our other friendly countries that have been past done this. When we can imbibe trends and other forms from western countries we can surely take in some good healthy aspects that would bring India near to a supportive law. And a friendly Law to all communities. Lastly, if the Government doesn't bring any changes to the LGBT+ community then these activities, bullies, violence, harassments might continue, leaving them unjust, unfair with inequality in all aspects, even after struggling a lot and working hard for it.


References

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/the-state-of-lgbtq-rights-india-does-not-have-anti-discrimination-code-120071200179_1.html

https://in.one.un.org/blogs/the-long-road-to-lgbt-equality-in-india/


By Simran Kaur Bilkhu


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