The 6th of September, 2018, probably the day when each and every Indian realized true freedom. The freedom to be who you are and express yourself. It was the day when the nation witnessed the diluting of the infamous Section 377. It was a landmark judgement which caused ripples all across the country as it legalized gay sex. Coming out as a part of this community is not only about sexual preferences but also reflects the right to choose one’s identity and preferences. Everyone is entitled to practice what they believe but it should not cross others’ boundaries and be enforced upon them.
The positive note of this step was that people really started coming out and were willing to stand up for what they believe in. The issues and problems faced by individuals from this community began to be realized on a nationwide scale, especially among the millennials in India. A lot of studies and schemes are being rolled out for the upliftment of the LGBTQ+ community. To quote an example is the inclusion of transgenders in the metro rail project in Cochin, Kerala, in 2016. This was a very bold move on part of the Government to break new grounds in the gender equality sphere as this decision provided a livelihood for the transgenders and acceptance among everyone. The scrapping of section 377 also aided India as a nation because now we are at par with other developed nations in setting standards for those countries which still criminalize gay sex.
But the sad reality is that even though the LGBTQ+ community has received legal status, we are far behind in achieving this in its true sense and spirit. What India needs is not just a change in the legislation, but a reformation of the thoughts, mindsets and perception of people, which is to accept the extraordinary as the ordinary. It is the duty of every citizen to create a non-hostile environment so that everyone can explore, accept and stand up for who they really are without having the fear of being judged. In a nation where even menstruation is considered a taboo, we have a long way to go to before we can bring the change we wish to see.
The process of sensitization should, in fact, start from homes. The concept of social standards and reputation should be discarded and people should start understanding that it's their beliefs that matters the most at the end of the day. There must be a system of communication within families, because if individuals do not get support from their own ones, what can they expect from the rest of the world. There should be classes on sex education in schools, so that students are sensitised from the very beginning. For example, in western countries like Canada, the children are given the right to choose their gender and it is not forced upon them. In the Indian scenario, there has been a decent amount of improvement in this direction, but still, a lot needs to be done. In recent years, coming out is not anymore a personal experience alone because social media plays a massive role. It is the ideal platform as people who relate to each other can connect and come together with ease. Moreover, several movies in Bollywood and shows are being made which enlightens everyone on the issues faced by the queer community because of the so-called social stigma and beliefs. There are platforms like Queerala in Kerala which was set up by the LGBTQ+ community for supporting and promoting their issues and perspectives.
India is a country rich in diversity and we should embrace diversity in all forms. If everyone is ready to change, it would not be long before the day, when being queer is not considered queer anymore!
#inclusivity #acceptance #iimtrichy #PRISM_IIMT