LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or questioning. They identify themselves as the Rainbow community. Societies in India consider the LGBT community as a taboo. They are often subject to discrimination, mental harassment, physical abuse, honour killing, and homophobia. Homosexuals fear the brutal repercussions because they are terrified to reveal their true identity and orientation. In addition, there are no official statistics about the number of homosexuals in India. However, according to the confessions of many to the Ministry of Health, the number turns out to be 2.5 million people. In fact, the number of homosexuals in the US and UK turn out to be 1 out of 10.
Rights and Laws
In 2009, the Naz Foundation decided to step up and support the LGBTQ community. They filled a case against Government of NCT of Delhi for criminalizing homosexual sex. The organization filed a case on the basis of violation of human rights. Article 14 does not permit social disgust towards a particular social minority. Also, Article 15 discourages discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Finally, Article 21 demands the right to health. Hence, it is evident that Section 377 was flawed. Section 377 criminalizes sexual activities because act is considered “against the order of nature”. The judgement of Delhi high court gave a ray of hope to the rainbow community. However, this triggered many religious leaders because it allowed homosexual activities to take place in private.
On 11th December 2013, the supreme court overturned the decision of Delhi high court. They claimed that it was constitutionally unstable as the parliament could only modify or change laws. The Naz foundation and many other organizations filled up against the supreme court’s ruling. However, they were turned down. Furthermore, Shashi Tharoor took up the initiative of putting up the bill in the parliament regarding the dissolvement of section 377. The parliament rejected the bill once again. In conclusion, The parliament is yet to pass a Uniform Civil Code. This would legalize same-sex marriages.
Societies in India often refer to Transgenders as ‘Hijras’. They gained voting rights in 1994 as a third gender. Gender activists, S. Swapna and Gopi Shankar Madurai, protested ardently for the rights of their community. They demanded reservation and the right to appear in government exams. On 24th April 2014, Rajya Sabha passed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014. As a result, guaranteeing the rights, entitlements, and, reservations in education and jobs. The parliament allows Transgenders to change their gender without sex reassignment surgery. The government officially recognizes the third gender.
According to a survey, the age group of 18-25 years were mostly supportive of same-sex marriages. However, the older generation opposed it. About 30-40 percent of the population were supportive of them enjoying the same benefits as they did. However, 30 percent of the people rejected the very idea of supporting homosexual relationships.
The efforts of social activists have positively impacted LGBTQ at large. The stringent rules placed by the government and the disregard from certain sections of the society continues to suppress the community. Having progressed as a nation, it is essential to respect and treat all members of the society with dignity and respect.