A 'severe setback', say gay rights activists

A 'severe setback', say gay rights activists

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the City has described as a “severe setback” the Supreme Court ruling which reinstated a ban on gay sex.

Members of the community, however, vowed to continue the fight for gay rights. They pledged to intensify their struggle for equal rights until Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was scrapped.

Organisations such as the Coalition for Sex Workers and Sexual Minorities Rights (CSMR), which comprises several NGOs working for the rights of sexual minorities, the Alternative Law Forum, Sangama, Samara, Good As You, WHaQ!, the Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, the Karnataka Sex Workers’ Union, LesBiT, Swabhava, Vimochana, PUCL-Karnataka, Maraa, and Payana, said: “By overturning the 2009 Naz Foundation judgment, the Supreme Court has, in one stroke, again reduced the LGBT people to the status of what the Delhi High Court memorably called ‘unapprehended felons’.”
Akkai Padmashali, a prominent gay rights activist, said the judgment was “appalling”. “All of us had tremendous hope in the Supreme Court. Our country, which is hailed as the largest democracy in the world, does not recognise us as equal citizens,” she said, struggling to hold back tears. “We always face rejections—be it from our own families, community, society or even if we go to get jobs or education, everywhere. We do not get support from anyone, anywhere and are left to look for support within our LGBT community.”

Fight for equal rights

She, however, said the “fight for equal rights” would be taken to the doorsteps of political parties and people’s organisations for a dialogue on a larger platform “where our voice will be heard”.

Another member said the judgment was an “unconscionable blow” to the dignity to the LGBT people who, as per the Constitution of India, are entitled to equal treatment. “It withdraws the protective arm of the Constitution from LGBT people, rendering them vulnerable to discrimination, violence and harassment.”

One more member said the judgement “ignored” the spirit of inclusiveness which was the heart of the Constitution as articulated by Jawaharlal Nehru. “It equally abandons the principle of Constitutional morality articulated by Dr B R Ambedkar.”

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