I urge you to clap while our friends in the UN are stripped of their rights and dignity. We found hope in little quarters around the world, but not for long. In yet another shameful move, the representatives of my nation, one that boasts of a constitution strong on the foundation of equality, secularism and dignity, voted in favour of homophobia.
I am speaking about the recent mishap at UN, where India voted for the Russian resolution along with Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Syria against Equal Rights for LGBT members of the UN so that the partners of LGBT persons do not get to enjoy the same benefits that heterosexual partners do.
The problem is larger. According to the buzz, the Indian members of UN are using the verdict of the honorable Supreme Court in 2013 that got Section 377 in its original Victorian form as an excuse for their stance against equal rights for LGBT persons.
I pity the ignorance of the UN members representing India.
The truth, though, is that it has never been illegal to be gay in India.
I can't be jailed just for being a homosexual or for living with my partner. Section 377 is against having "Sex against the order of nature", technically considering that homosexuality is naturally found in animals and in humans (no one "becomes" gay), it should be considered "natural".
But the whole definition of natural versus unnatural is based on procreation. Technically, the penis has to enter the vagina to bear a child and two men do not have the necessary apparatus or the raw material in them to make babies, which comes to be seen as "unnatural" and peno-vaginal sex between heterosexuals will lead to babies, which is "natural". Even between heterosexuals, technically, the penis entering any orifice other than the vagina, is deemed illegal with punishment of up to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, consent immaterial.
It has been delisted as a mental disorder. It is a natural orientation. It is not a choice. I don't get up in the morning and tell myself, "I will wear my gayness to work today." And neither do I call in sick to work by saying, "hello I can't come to work, I have got gay."
Even if it were a mental disorder, do you jail someone for 10 years because he is schizophrenic? Yes, that's the amount of punishment for the person who engages in non-procreatory sex in our country.
How long will it take for us to understand that sex for recreation is as natural as sex for procreation? Also, our detractors often say that if they legalise homosexuality, everyone will have sex on the roads. Seriously? By that logic, Heterosexuality is legal... do heterosexuals have sex - open air? Also, there is a theory that people turn gay in gay company, I wonder how it works that way. Because I have never been influenced by heterosexuality although it would be easier to get married to a woman rather than having to experience hatred, bigotry and live in the shadow of fear of being harassed or ridiculed or even raped or killed.
This Victorian thought has been perpetuated and propagated by the British and is now followed by our netas who call it as being against Indian culture. Little do they know that there are traces and volumes of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transexuality – all in Indian culture.
The ones who supported Russia in its homophobia are in fact against Indian culture of tolerance of people of different faiths, cultures, gender and sexualities.
We now cannot excuse the government of not taking a stand on Section 377; with this move they have taken a stand to be counted in the list of the nations that are infamously known for their regressive attitudes of misogyny, homophobia and bigotry.
India is officially homophobic in the eyes of the UN.
We could have abstained from voting, but we voted in favour of intolerance, leaving no ambiguity in our official stance.
What can I say now?
Congrats! We are in "August Company"!
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist. The views expressed in the article are the author's personal opinion.)