Are The Constitutional Rights Same For All?
If you are an Indian citizen, you would know that the Constitution of India provides certain rights to all Indian citizens, irrespective of their caste, class and gender. Among them, three rights provided are much more important than the others. They are – the basic right to freedom of expression, right to equality and the right to education. In pen and paper, perhaps all of us enjoy such rights. But, the reality is always way different. And the reality, in this case, says that not all people are entitled to these basic rights extended by the Indian government.
Who are these people? Well, at a glance, we can really add hundreds of people and communities who are excluded from this basic “privilege”. However, we shall pinpoint our attention to just a particular “group” today – the homosexuals.
What Is Homosexuality?
According to Wikipedia, “Homosexuality is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality ‘is an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions’ to people of the same sex.”
If you see this definition at a glance, without any bias, it seems like a normal romantic and/or sexual attraction that is common to each one of us. Yet, homosexuality is looked down as nothing short of a criminal offence here in our country. In fact, more than a criminal offence, it is treated as a disease caused by some unknown, viral germ. Yes – this idea exists too, and it happened with one of my homosexual friends. After he came out to his parents, surprisingly they were neither angered not did they stop communicating with him for even a while. Rather, they seemed worried and offered counselling and other medical help to “get rid” of the disease.
Today, with the world embracing LGBTQ as they have been embracing any other person, it is quite appalling to find Indian homosexuals still hiding inside their closets, worried to be “found out” and ripped off his/her normal life.
Homosexual Population And The Indian Constitution
According to the Supreme Court of India, India has a population of 2.5 million homosexuals (as of 2012). However, this is just a fraction of the entire population, to be honest, for there surely is a large population of Indian homosexual citizens who have had to conceal their sexuality for the fear of getting discriminated.
The root of this discrimination is housed in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the Section 377 of the IPC, homosexuality is a punishable offence, which may even lead to death sentence. It is to be seen that the law was drafted by Lord Macaulay way back in 1860, and it says, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment”. Does this law not endanger the very right to freedom of expression and freedom of equality that India upholds and loves to showcase? And homosexuality is definitely not akin to sodomy in today’s time and age.
To be honest, it is an archaic law that needs no importance. Yet, Indian dignitaries like Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and acclaimed writer Vikram Seth had to literally wage a war in order to have the Center decriminalize Section 377 of the IPC. It was only in April 2018 that a Supreme Court constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra issued a notice seeking the ‘Right to Choice of Sexual Orientation’ be declared as a fragment of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Now that the government is finally on the verge of recognizing homosexuality as NOT a criminal offence and has also extended many social rights to the “third gender”, will the mentality of the people change soon? We hope so, but we think not!
Homosexuality Is Unnatural, And Homosexuals Are The “Other”
India has been a patriarchal country. To the flag-bearers of patriarchy, the entire gamut of civilization rests in the infinite loop of birth and death, and everything that happens between the same is bestowed with the responsibility of extending the norms of patriarchy even further. We don’t think women would be recognized by patriarchy had it not been for her ability to reproduce. Hence, women are needed by the society for its expansion, which is why the romantic and sexual relationship between man and woman is reciprocated, accepted and justified.
On the other hand, there are homosexuals. With their sexual affinity rooted to the people of the same gender, they have silently been subverting the roles patriarchy has assigned on each one of us. Essentially, whatever they are “engaging in” is absolutely unnatural – “God never wanted it this way,” is what patriarchy shouts out loud when they stumble across homosexuality.
This abjection of the homosexual population from the society has given rise to an apathy towards them, thereby developing homophobia among many. The fact that a person can fall in love with anyone or that love can also happen beyond the periphery marked by patriarchy is simply unknown and unacceptable to many. A glimpse of the same was seen in a shameful incident that shook Kolkata. A few days back, a reputed school in Kolkata ostracized few students, who were thought to be “lesbians”. The students were teenagers and were humiliated in public for their sexual preference, which was not proved. On the other hand, those students who might be sexually active but are heterosexual were not bothered at all. Why is this distinction? Does that go on to re-criminate homosexuality? Of course, it does.
Why Should Homosexual People Come Out?
Homosexuals are people – just as normal flesh-and-blood person as you and me. Is it not a reason enough to include them in our “normal” human society? Since this description is not really sufficient to convince people to accept homosexuals as one among us, here’s a different angle to it.
Homosexuals are essentially people like you and me. So, there is a mix of good and bad people out there. People, who are unable to come out to the society for the fear of social ostracism and discrimination, curb their sexual needs till a point arise when they can take it no more. You may have often come across news about little boys getting raped in school by their male teachers – this is an act caused by suppressed sexual desire. Of course, I don’t endorse their deeds but don’t you think this deed can be curbed to a great extent if homosexuals are accepted openly by the society?
Also, many times homosexual people are forced to get married or sometimes they themselves tend to tie the nuptial bond. Like everything else, marriage is thought to be the perfect “antidote” to homosexuality. As a result of this, not just one life but two lives get ravished completely giving way to tensions, lies, extramarital affairs and sour relationships. Not every girl or guy is brave enough like Mugdha Godse’s character from ‘Fashion’, who accepts a homosexual person as her husband for social prominence.
Live And Let Live – The Mantra For Homosexuality
When I come across new Facebook profiles, I find this phrase to be the most-used one in their description sections. I wonder if these people really mean what they are trying to preach through their FB profiles. I hope they do.
Meanwhile, the sky is seemingly brightening up for the homosexuals. From celebrities to dignitaries, people are coming out of their closets, shouting out loud their sexual preferences. Rainbow Parades are being held across Indian cities expressing solidarity with the homosexuals and the third gender. Although same-sex marriages are not recognized in India yet, there have been instances where homosexual couples have exchanged the vows to be with each other forever.
While our Indian society has not changed altogether, the change is imminent. It’s time people live together as a happy bunch – not a man, woman and the “other”.