India Still Reluctant to Respond Positively to the LGBT Community
The Delhi High Court is currently hearing multiple petitions which seek to legalize same-sex marriage in India
Around the world, Sweden comes in first place as the safest country for the LGBTQ. Canada's friendly attitudes and positive legislation towards the LGBTQ+ community have earned it the title of the second safest country on our LGBTQ+ Danger Index. India is far from all these. Here, LGBT which is an umbrella term for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender is still a despicable word.
In the year 2000, when Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai released, Indian audiences discovered and permanently fell in love with the 'Indian Greek god' himself — Hrithik Roshan. In Nagpur, six-year-old Ashish Chopra, too, discovered his first love on screen. In his own words, he was "obsessed" with Hrithik. Growing up in the 90's in Nagpur, Ashish faced a lot of bullying at school. This was a time before social media, when the internet was just introduced to our lives and there wasn't much awareness about different sexual orientations. India does not recognise same-sex marriage or civil unions. The Delhi High Court is currently hearing multiple petitions which seek to legalize same-sex marriage in India under Section 377 IPC. In India it is termed Unnatural offences. 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. India is among countries with a social element of a third gender. Mental, physical, emotional and economic violence against the LGBT community in India continues to be a problem. Lacking support from family, society or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. Around the world, Sweden comes in first place as the safest country for the LGBTQ. Canada's friendly attitudes and positive legislation towards the LGBTQ+ community have earned it the title of the second safest country on our LGBTQ+ Danger Index. India is far from all these. Here, LGBT which is an umbrella term for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender is still a despicable word. The idea of human rights rests on the central premise that all humans are equal. It follows that all humans have dignity and all humans should be treated as equal. Anything that undermines that dignity is a violation, for it violates the principle of equality and paves the way for discrimination. The human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) are coming into sharper focus around the world, with important advances in many countries in recent years, including the adoption of new legal protections.
In 1977 Shakuntala Devi published the first study of homosexuality in India. In August, 2018, the National Human Rights Commission of India set up the LGBTI core group and appointed openly gay politician Harish Iyer in its 15 members committee in a bid to enforce human rights related legislations pertaining to LGBTQ people and counter discrimination. Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBT) people face discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives. They are denied access to employment, education, and health care. They are targeted for attacks solely because of their gender expression or perceived sexual orientation.
Recently ,Josh Cavallo, Australia's first active male professional footballer to come out as gay, opined that a country's stance on LGBT rights should be considered before awarding hosting rights for a major sporting event. Cavallo has yet to receive a call-up to Australia's senior squad but has previously said he would be "scared" to play at the World Cup in Qatar, where gay sex is a criminal offence. This kind of discrimination exists in many other areas where LGBT community is deprived of healthy family life.
One such very important issue is the Right to adoption. Same-sex union is still not recognized but recently there is some thinking on the issue. It is a matter of jubilation that people are speaking about same-sex union, because it will have a far-reaching impact on adopted children. It is really commendable that the parliamentary panel report recommended that the new law may prescribe separate adoption procedures for institutionalised children and children living with families. The law does not prohibit adoption based on sexual orientation but LGBTQ members will be able to adopt as a couple if same-sex union gets legalised in India as live-in couples are not yet permitted to adopt a child in the country.
We may here focus on the opinion given by Tara Narula, advocate and legal fellow at 'HAQ: Centre for Child Rights' who argues that the law does not permit or prohibit adoption based on sexual orientation, so any person can adopt under either the Juvenile Justice Act or Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA). Many of the world's 71 countries with anti-LGBT laws have Muslim majorities, slightly more than the number that is majority -Christian. Of the total, 49 per cent (35 countries) have a Muslim majority. Majority-Christian countries account for the 44 per cent- a total of 31 countries. The number of Christian-majority nations with anti-homosexuality laws has shrunk in recent years, mainly through court rulings. As for example, Trinidad in 2018, Belize in 2016 and through legislative action, Angola and Botswana in 2019, Seychelles and Nauru in 2016, Mozambiqe, Sao Tome and Principe and Palau in 2014. Similar laws have been dropped in Hindu-majority India in 2018 and Buddhist majority Bhutan in 2022.In Trinidad, the High Court overturned the country's anti-sodomy law in 2018. That year in India , the Supreme Court overturned the nation's 158 year old prohibition of sex against the 'order o nature'. Angola adopted a new Penal Code without an anti-gay provision in 2019 which Bhutan did in 2021. Russia openly does not preach against Homosexual activity. But Russia is homophobic. It sometimes enforces its notorious law against 'gay propaganda'. The anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya did not get intervention from Russia and the gay violence continued till 2019.
In India we did not have any such violence against the homosexuals though the LGBT community is ostracized in many ways. India is ruled by BJP's monolithic patriarchal Brahminical view of Hinduism and some express grave doubts if any positive step will be taken so fast in favour of this LGBT community. But the preamble to the Indian Constitution mandates justice -- social, economic, and political equality of status -- for all. The right of equality before law and equal protection under the law is guaranteed in Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. In April 2014, the Supreme Court of India ruled in NALSA vs Union of India that the rights and freedoms of transgender people in India were protected under the Constitution; in September 2018, the Supreme Court also decriminalized adult consensual same-sex relationships in the Section 377 judgment review. These judgments are considered a landmark both in terms of their expansive reading of constitutional rights and in empowering LGBT persons