Homosexuality; Not a Deviance
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), has been struck down unanimously by a five-member bench of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra. As the verdict marks a landmark victory in the history of India, it also opens up the ray of love and hope.
Section 377 was an archaic law introduced during the British era in the 1860s, criminalizes the sexual activities "against the law of nature” and makes gay sex punishable by law. It states, "Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine".
In 2009, the Delhi High Court described Section 377 as a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. The Supreme Court in 2013 cancelled the Delhi High Court order and re-criminalized homosexuality by stating that 'it is on parliament to take a decision on scrapping laws'. Recently, the Supreme Court has given hope to LGBT community in India as it assures of reconsidering its 2013 verdict that criminalizes gay sex. Captivatingly, homosexuality is de-listed from the list of mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, the Indian Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization.
Even in the present time, no matter how educated and civilized society is portrayed, the need to provide elaborate explanations to justify homosexuality, gay sex, and gay rights still exist. Immense courage is required in admitting one’s original sexual orientation in a country like India where third genders and the LGBT communities are ill-treated and attacked for the same very reason. People must accept the dissimilarities and the differences by keeping in mind that ‘what seems natural behavior for some could be 'unnatural' for some’.
Being citizens of India, sexual minorities too, have their own rights and responsibilities. They have the liberty to lead a life free of harassments and threats. No individual or section of individuals should live in a state of constant fear over their personal choices. They are also entitled to equal rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, and choice of sexual partner like everyone else in India. If medical science can cease homosexuality as an abnormality or a disease, why can't the society just accept the fact that sexual minorities do exist? Yes, they are also a part of what we believe in the system of 'loved and to be loved'.