We Won In Court, But Is Indian Society Ready To Accept The LGBTQ Community?

First published here: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/09/long-way-to-go/

Shailendra Rai

We have definitely won one of the most difficult battles which was decriminalisation of homosexuality, but is this enough? A historic verdict is, of course, a very significant move, but no, this just isn’t enough.

There are even more challenging and difficult paths ahead. Our Constitution ensures equal rights, freedom, opportunity, and justice for all. But does everyone in our society even try to acknowledge a person’s identity? Does it want to ensure equal rights, freedom, opportunity, and justice for the sake of humanity? As a society we have desperately been failed to do so.

We live in such a society where discrimination, violence, and injustice (particularly towards women, Dalit people, Muslim people, people of different races, and regions, and those who speak different languages) has been an everyday affair and is still are very much prevalent even after 72 years of Independence. So, how can I believe that the same society will fairly accept and acknowledge the LGBTQ community without questioning their identities?  Are we ready to walk together irrespective of our identities? Such things could only be possible when every person and every institution across the board (including political leaders, media, civil society, the entertainment industries and more) come to a consensus to sustain humanity.

Source: Getty Images.

However, sadly and frustratingly, I must mention that on one side, millions of people across the country are celebrating this historic, much needed progressive move (which has also been recognised and appreciated internationally), on the other side our dear talkative Prime Minister, who is always active on social media, couldn’t express a single word. That’s one of the reasons why we are failed in the first place.

We have influential fundamentalist organisations like the RSS, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, and the Hindu Sansthan. Similarly, there are Islamic and other religious fundamentalists organisations. We have people like Subramanian Swamy, Yogi Adityanath, Baba Ramdev, Zakir Naik, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose unthinking followers become the owners of a popular notion of social morality. And anyone who doesn’t fit into their definition becomes anti-India, characterless, Urban Naxals and what not. My humble request to them is to recognise that their morality is discriminatory, hateful, and violence-driven, used only to feed their own bigotry, and to ban and kill anyone who doesn’t abide by their moral compass. Until the time their mindset changes, we can’t expect a bigger change in society.

There have always been so much stigma, so many stereotypes and taboos around the LGBTQ community and the complete silence of our Prime Minister and other influential people on the Section 377 verdict confirms it.

Discrimination, molestation, oppression, harassment or any kind of violence against LGBTQ community is not going to be prevented very easily. There is no miracle intervention or legal system. We need to understand that we can no longer point to one specific policy change or piece of legislature that we need to solve this problem. In light of that, there is a need for a social and cultural paradigm shift.

Remember when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a tearful apology to members of the LGBTQ community? I want our dearest Prime Minister Mr. Modi to watch it.

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