Monday, July 6, 2009

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code

Frankly, I cannot understand the undercurrent of resentment against the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to decriminalize same sex behaviour among consenting adults.

Hearing some people decry the ‘historic judgement handed down by the High Court’, one would be forgiven for believing that same sex marriage have been legalized, or same sex couples allowed to adopt children as couples.

None of that. All that the judgement does is to proclaim that it is no longer a crime to indulge in consensual sexual with a person of the same gender. Same sex couplings are still a ‘sin’ – they are only no longer a ‘crime’.

LBGTs don’t have it easy. They need to discover themselves, convince their family, decide whether to come out in the open or not, battle society at every stage. At best, they face apathy, at worst, open hostility. What they do not additionally need is for them to be branded criminals.

And that is all that the fresh interpretation of the legislation does- decriminalizes consensual sex between adults of the same sex.

LBGTs are not criminals. They are not rapists who force themselves on people to demonstrate their power over them. Neither are they predators preying on minors and those incapable of thinking for themselves. They are just individuals with different sexual preferences

To deny them even that is to deny them the basic right to choose. At least, I think so.


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