LGBT in India
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), dating back to 1861, makes sexual activities „against the order of nature” punishable by law and carries a life sentence.
As You see, activities against the order of nature is a term coined up by our society and even courts, to avoid explicitly terming it ‘homo sexuality’. Indian penal code does not accept homo sexuality as a valid term.
Very often newspapers would report- Police catches a man performing activities ‘’against the order of nature’’. This is because our society and culture does not accept homo sexuality as something natural.
If i was about to ask someone in India what is homosexuality, they would discourage me from speaking/asking about it in the future. You would immediately feel that it is a taboo topic. They would probably say ‘huh?! excuse me?’ ‘Stop talking about things like that’. Then You would never talk about it again.
In schools we used to joke with our friends, saying that the someone among our friends is gay. We used to laugh about it and that’s it. It was something hip to say between Your friends, so as to feel cool. Most of us didn’t even know that homo sexuality existed in this world, because society does not accept homo sexuality. So why talk about something that doesn’t exist?
I have a vivid memory from my childhood which might explain the rampant lack of knowledge about homosexuality in India . Once after going to the movies with my brother, an old man in his 40’s started coming across us in an unusual manner. He started ranting about something and behaved as if he was attracted to men. My brother got angry and asked him to fgo away. I was scared and didn’t know what was going on. My brother didn’t take time to explain what was going on. I was too scared to ask him.
There are many homosexual men and women in India, but due to the rampant unacceptable of homosexuality in the society, many of them go to marry some one and have kids and try to live a ‘normal life’. There is not even a chance of having a conversation with Your immediate friends or relatives about Your homosexuality.
I could imagine the blank looks Indian parents might have, when their son or daughter would tell them that they are homosexual. You have to think about something that is very taboo in polish society to understand what ‘homo sexuality’ means for us Indians. At the moment nothing comes to my mind.
Since western society has been accepting of homo sexuality in the past 2 or 3 decades, many people have come forth in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore with their Gay orientation. LGBT community in these cities have organised parades for equal rights of gay people. Most of them want the government/court system to officially accept Homosexuality and decriminalise it.
On August 24, 2017, India’s Supreme Court gave the country’s LGBT community the freedom to safely express their sexual orientation. Therefore, an individual’s sexual orientation is protected under the country’s Right to Privacy law. However, the Supreme Court did not directly overturn any laws criminalising same-sex relationships. So as You see, there is still a long way to go for the Indian society to come to terms with ‘homo sexuality’
What do i think about homosexuality as an Indian?
If You were to ask me this question a couple of years back where i was living in India, i would probably not be able to answer this question. I thought of it as an ‘anti natural phenomenon’ just like our society would have put it. Our culture and religion does not accept it, so why would i even have an opinion about it?
I would like to give You an example. Not too long ago i had a chance to go to a electronic Rave concert in Wrocław. During this concert i met a guy who accompanied my friend along to the concert. During this concert, i saw that this person was kissing with another man near one of the toilets. At first i was shocked to see two men kissing each other. I tried not to be officially moved my this incident, and tried to keep my posture. Later one of these persons who kissed, started looking at me a few times. I was really uncomfortable being stared upon by one of these individuals. It was at that moment that i questioned my tolerance for same sex couples. I am tolerant of all kind of orientation between people. Maybe it is the outright exhibitionism that I am not acceptable of. I think even if it was exhibitionism of affection between a man and a female, it has to have some kind of boundaries. Both kind of outright exhibitionism have its flaws.
It was just this last year that i really started thinking about this topic. It was a medical professional who told me that homosexuality is not a disease. It is something people are born with. There is no chance for a person to choose to be gay or straight. It is not as if ‘Ok from now on I am not going to be gay!’. It was then that i became accepting of people’s orientation. As long as people are not outright exhibitionists of their orientation, I’am fine with it.
I would mention more about Trans gender community in India, in the next chapter.