Living on the edge

The gay community in the City talks about the fear lurking in its backyard

Living on the edge

A sense of fear has enveloped the gay community in the City in the wake of Supreme Court upholding the law criminalising unnatural sex. The gay community in the City, however, is ready to face the challenge but they would not hide their identity. They say that people will have to accept them as they are.

The gay community activists know the harsh consequence — that section 377 might now be used to push them behind bars. After all, what could be more humiliating than an arrest or a day behind bars for no fault of theirs? The misuse of law is the latest fear haunting the much-maligned community. 

There are places in the City where gays meet, get together and exchange their concerns. But now, most within the community think that these meeting places could be raided by the cops, who wouldn’t think twice before misusing the law. There are a few gay-dating websites and networking sites, which have been flooded with messages of fear. The members are now thinking twice before logging onto these websites either to chat or find a mate.  Shyam, a gay has been trying to console his partner, who feels they have no future together. “The possibility of the misuse of law is what is bothering us. Gays have always been around and we will continue to exist but now meeting, holding hands and even chatting on gay websites, could be used as a tool against us,” reasons Shyam. 

Sukdeep Singh, a software professional, who also runs a gay magazine, thinks he could lose his job. “There were places where gays met and partied but now the fear of cops raiding these places loom large. Suddenly, I am made to feel that I am doing something illegal. People around me were just about settling down with my orientation but now this judgement gives them a chance to mock me openly. It’s terrible,” states Sukdeep. 

Avinaba Dutta, a gay and a professional, confesses that he lives in fear. He says, “I cannot lead my life peacefully knowing that there is a law that exists, which constantly objectifies me for being an open homosexual. The fear of being harassed in the name of law is there at the back of my mind.” He adds, “I am not demanding my right to have sex with random men. I am demanding my right to live with pride. So, accept my individuality and help me live a peaceful life.”  

Abhiram Sridhar, another gay man, thinks companies will stop hiring gay men. “Most companies have a rule stating that the prospective job applicant must not have a criminal background. Now, the latest judgment makes gays criminals, so where do we go for jobs. Nobody will hire us,” Abhiram wonders   Paul Francis, a gay activist who has recently come out of the closet, says, “People have just begun accepting my orientation but now this judgement has forced people like me to go back into the closet and continue to struggle with our identity. This is inhuman,” feels Paul. Romal Singh is firm when he concludes, “I am gay and I will continue to live like one. Some people are trying to snatch that basic right from me and I won’t allow that to happen.” 

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