Yesterday, many newspapers and TV channels reported the launch of ‘Radio-Q’, India’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)-centric radio station in Bangalore. I am happy that they have been given at least this small space where they can focus on LGBT rights and advocacy. They rightly say that not a lot of serious dialogue happen in the mainstream media.

Here’s the coverage of the story by NDTV.

I am yet to see the moral outrage gang lamenting the influence of western media on our youth.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was big news almost four years ago. It was a law that criminalized homosexual intercourse and was struck down by the Supreme Court. Then what happened? What was the follow-up? Except for when a Gurgaon Court recognized a lesbian marriage in 2011, same-sex marriages are still illegal in this country.

Here’s a summary of living conditions of LGBTs in India according to Wikipedia:

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 2009)
Equal age of consent No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex Legal Unions No (one single case in 2011)
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Both joint and step adoption by same-sex couples  ?
Gays allowed to serve in the military No
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians No
MSMs allowed to donate blood  ?

Some may argue that we have bigger problems like poverty, unemployment and violence against women. My question is why is there a law that interferes into the private space of two consenting adults especially when the nature of the interaction is not coerced?

You don’t even need to give them special attention. At least accept that they exist and that it is not their fault for being born this way. All application forms in the government sector still only have options for ticking two boxes in the column ‘sex’. Now that the constitution has recognized sexual minorities, why aren’t they recognized by those who are supposed to govern according to the principles of the Constitution?

Forget the policy-side of the issue. What do the people have against LGBTs? What are they so afraid of? Let’s not even consider a huge chunk of our population who have bigger things to worry about like living within Rs 32 per day. I am talking about the elites. The educated and comfortably well-off middle class and the rich. Why do a lot of them find homosexuality threatening? They fear that more men and women will be urged to join the community. It’s ignorant to think that ‘being gay or a transgender’ is a choice. If it were a choice, I don’t know why anyone would want to choose it. Is it fun to be ostracized by friends, family and society? Even if a lot of them start ‘experimenting’, I still don’t see the threat, it’s their personal choice. It has nothing to do with you or me.

If you ask me, a lot of these fears are propagated by certain men. These men fear that homosexual men might start hitting on them. Think ‘secular cat-calling’. It becomes men on men instead of the usual men on women. Raunchy messages and phone calls. You know what? Then, for the first time, these men will know how it feels like to be a woman. The things they have to consider before making a simple decision like what clothes to wear or what time to go back home in the evening.

Let me summarize:

1) People are not LGBT by choice. It’s part of their genetic make-up.

2) Criminalizing someone by law because of the way they were born is denial of one’s inherent dignity and equal and inalienable right to live.

3) If you feel that there should be no ‘celebration of one’s sexual identity’, then I suggest you stop meddling in their personal affairs. Their ‘celebration’ is a message to those who hide their identities so that they could be accepted by society.

4) Please spread the message to those who fail or refuse to understand. They too have a right to be happy.

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