Celebrated on March 1 each year, Zero Discrimination Day was first started by the United Nations and other international organizations in 2014. In 2022, this annual day theme was chosen by UNAIDS as “Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower,” highlighting the urgent necessity to take action against discriminatory laws.
Zero Discrimination Day is observed as a global event called to promote and celebrate everyone’s rights, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, etc. Most of the time, discrimination is because of misinformation or fear of the other or the unknown.
Online or offline awareness programmes or avenues that normalise the lives and conversations of LGBTQ people are a sure way forward to bring out the stories and issues faced by LGBTQ people and
When it comes to same sex relationships, there are still countries that have the death penalty as a legally prescribed punishment for individuals in consensual same-sex sexual relationships. Then, 69 other countries criminalise these relationships. Although India has successfully decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relationships after a long two-decade legal battle, there is still a lot of discrimination that individuals face, whether it is at workplace or in the government system itself.
The Madras High Court recently added a specific clause in the Police Conduct Rules that it will be treated as misconduct and will entail a punishment if police harass people from the LGBTQ+ community and/or NGO workers. This, along with necessary awareness programs, will be a necessary step toward normalizing identities and discouraging discrimination.
When it comes to transgender people, globally, 13 countries have specific laws that criminalize transgender people, punishing them with prison sentences. Some states use same-sex sexual relations laws that are also used against transgender people, which sometimes includes even death.
In India, there are laws protecting transgender individuals in place, but the judgment has not been completely welcomed by the LGBTQ community. The main reason for this criticism is that, under the 2019 Act, transgender people are still required to undergo gender-reaffirming surgery to change their gender marker and have no option to self-identify as transgender people. Even though the 2019 Act is an important milestone in the transgender community’s quest for equal rights and freedoms, there are major failings that will need to be addressed.
There have been a huge number of cases of young LGBTQ people who have died by suicide over harassment at schools or by their natal families over sexuality or gender identity. There is a dire need for normalizing conversations around sexuality or gender identity and also access to these conversations.
WE aim to bring in discussions and highlight conversations around discrimination faced by LGBTQ individuals, stories around their identities, and their journeys. At As You Are, we are focused on creating these avenues where some of the difficult conversations can be had among people who will be able to relate to and validate their fellow queer individuals, their identities, and their journeys.