A week ago as soon as I logged in my facebook account, suddenly a colorful picture appeared on my wall. It was a profile picture of a mutual friend portraying rainbow. I scrolled down and noticed that the same is trending on facebook and almost every one has changed the DP. I clicked on the link and then only I got to know that it is being celebrated to mark historic win over the long battle of LGBT rights in the United States. The LGBT community was in jubilation after the US Supreme Court rendered the same sex marriage rights constitutional.
For me, it was really interesting to know that like millions of netizens across the world, a number of Indians too cheered up the court’s verdict as if it has happened in our country. Surprisingly rainbow DP was endorsed by most of them who neither belong to the LGBT community nor they have been part of any movement supporting gay pride.
Unlike the US, the issue related to same sex marriages in India is a recent one which has been raised for few years. It has been a point of contention between two groups mainly. One is in majority and has faith in divinity while the other one is very less in numbers fighting for equal democratic rights. The former is obviously religious fundamentalist irrespective of any religion and the latter is liberal group coming from different socio-religious background but has moderate opinion in this regard with changing paradigm. Over the years rights groups have consolidated against the segregation of the LGBT communities from other sections of society. India had witnessed some achievements in recent years by the judicial interventions only and not by the state or a wide range civil society.
In India, same sex relationship is an offence. Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, 1861, criminalises homosexuality. It was the year 2009, when the rights group got first breakthrough. In July 2009, the Delhi High Court declared section 377 of IPC unconstitutional. Though the decision of the High Courts was lived very shortly. In December 2013, the apex court overruled the Delhi High Court’s verdict and said that it is the legislature who has to decide whether 377 should be repealed or not. Judiciary itself can not do this. Eventually the law which criminalises gay marriages still exists in the statue book.
In India, transgender (TG) occupies one of the major position among the entire LGBT community having most headcounts. This major component of LGBT is the most deprived one in terms of socio-economic status. It is because of their distinct physical appearance. Being a TG, one can neither go for help from family nor the state makes special provisions to uplift such people.
In April 2014, the Supreme Court bestowed equal status to the transgenders. The highest court ruled that the transgender should be identified with different sex other than male or female. It was a landmark judgement that endowed a separate identity to the transgender community as third sex. The court also directed the executive to frame policy to ensure all the rights of a transgender same as enjoyed by others. But who cares the court directives.
The matter of the fact is that the said community is least in numbers and does not constitute decisive vote bank and we the people in majority do not actually resolve to fight for their rights. We the people do not want them our neighbours. We the people do not want to see them working in our vicinity. We the people do not want our children to get involved with them. Finally the legislature and the executive too do not want to go against the will and wish of “we the people”.
Advocating rights of an individual’s personal freedom is truly commendable. It projects the changing dynamics of a democratically vibrant society which is sensitive towards the rights of minorities. But despite having all these solidarity and supports, doubts still remain in mind. A facebook tool does not demand any pledge. Changing DP, does change the mindset too? The queation is, do we really tend supports to our own belongings having interests in same sex in real life? Or is it merely a fallacy to proclaim ourselves progressive without having strong determination to come out and speak loud.