While in India a lot is being done on papers (legally), there are still a lot of gaps in the legal front that need to be addressed with proper unbiased attitude to give the space that the LGBTQ community needs to lead a normal emotional, physical and secure life.
While India is making spaces for the LGBTQ through many social forums including dating apps, AYA is one such homegrown App exclusively for the LGBTQs but we have a long way to go till all the legalities are addressed properly to create a safe space for this community.
LGBTQ community still feels insecure in India
Jeet is an activist and a co-founder of ‘Yes we exist’, the forum pushes forward the various issues the LGBTQ community faces. In this conversation with AYA, he has expounded reasons why the community still feels insecure and not guarded sufficiently by the laws of the country as there are still several gaps that need attention and covering up. Here he opines mainly on the transgender community.
Transgender Protection Act, India
Discussing the Transgender Protection Act, India which was passed in November 2019, he says, “Though it appears to be in place there are some e loopholes in the Act that actually can be deterrent for any transgender. The act does not give the right to the community for self-identification”.
Jeet also points out the two step process that has been made mandatory to declare ones transgender identity— to be certified by the District Magistrate and also the Government Medical officials.
The same concern is shared by Knight who works as a senior researcher in the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, further expounds, “This sets an extraordinary amount of power with one government office to arbitrate which trans people “qualify” to be recognized as who they are. It also coerces people into medical procedures they might not want — a fundamental rights violation that Indian and international jurisprudence condemns.”
It was Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju who worked relentlessly and finally won in getting the Legal system of the country to scrap Article 377 of Indian Penal Code, in September 2018. Now the two are working towards legalising same-sex marriage.
Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which was 158 years old, introduced in 1861, during the British Regime, criminalised activities ‘against the order of nature’ labelling LGBTQ relations as illegal.
Looking deeper into all legal aspects for LGBTQ relations
Just legalising marriage will not be enough. When a right is given it should be complete in all areas—The Lawmakers will need to consider that a LGBTQ married couple feel and want to enjoy things together like any other couple. So they would perhaps like to adopt a child, would want to invest in joint bank accounts and property. They may need to travel to a foreign destination where one has a Work permit and the other can go as a dependent.
Upfront of course everyone is hoping that the LGBTQ couples are soon given the legal right to marriage. Speaking to the media, Katju said that “What we hope for the future is that this right to choose your partner will include the right for LGBT couples to marry”. The duo wants and hope more LGBTQs will come out and demand for their marriage, even appeal to the courts. All of this will make it easier for the advocates to push the issue forward. For example, we have Sonu & Nikesh — a gay couple in Kerala who recently got married— have already filed a plea to legalise their marriage. The other couples now need to build around this groundwork.
This is just the tip of the ice-berg. There are so many other legal arenas that have either not been addressed or have been touched upon without having given much thought to. These include a transgender’s protection against sexual abuse—the perpetrator is sent to jail only for a couple of years as compared to ten years when a female is sexually abused. When will such bias end is the question.
Till date in India, the gender queer or the non-binary haven’t been taken into account under the legal scheme of things. They too have been long waiting. Till date most of them feel comfortable in big havelis (mansions)where they are assigned regular tasks and are pretty well looked after. They are also paid for whatever task they are given like running various errands et al. The Indian Government announced having shelter homes for transgender kids, but statistics have shown that in reality the children do not feel very comfortable here.
Proper inclusion is the need of the hour for LGBTQs
Another area which the LGBTQ people still need to feel comfortable and included is at the workplace and even in educational institutions. There is much debating around this in different circles. Though several openings are there in the corridors of India Inc. yet the traditional work places and organisations are still looking the other way.
But we all together should fight for such ‘human rights’ and someday there will be a place everywhere for everyone sans any discrimination. Hopefully.
Till then visit lgbtq dating apps India and lgbtq discussion forums and get set go to share your thoughts. Time for all to understand and respect you As you Are.