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‘Making homosexuality criminal adds to trauma’

New Delhi, May 1: There was a time when Ritu Dalmia did not know how to define the feeling of being attracted to the same gender. Today, the celebrity chef has not only come to terms with her sexuality but is fighting to decriminalise consensual gay sex. Dalmia, a food entrepreneur who has a string of restaurants under the brand name “Diva”, says being gay is not a crime, but using the law to make it one adds to the trauma that a homosexual already goes through in the country.
Dalmia is pitching for freedom to find love and being true to one’s sexuality. She, along with Navtej Johar, Sunil Mehra, Ayesha Kapur and Aman Nath, has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the legal validity of Section 377.
“I do not think this (homophobia) is a problem only in India. Homophobia exists everywhere, but at least in most of the other countries, the law is on their side. It is deeply upsetting to hear everyday stories of rapes, and many other horrible things the community goes through. To think even the law indirectly supports it… is absolutely heartbreaking,” Dalmia told IANS in an email interview.
“When the 2009 Delhi High Court judgement came, so many people came out of the closet. And with the 2013 (Supreme Court) judgement, it was like taking 10 steps back. A gay person already goes through a lot of trauma to come to terms with their sexuality, and when they hear that it is also criminal, this trauma just gets accelerated.”
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises any sort of homosexual activity and other forms of unnatural sex — affecting the rights of LGBTs (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders). (IANS)