Violence against LGBTs on rise after SC order, NGO alleges

Violence against LGBTs on rise after SC order, NGO alleges

Sexual minorities in the State are not entirely safe and secure, post the December 11, 2013, Supreme Court order declaring gay sex a punishable offence, sexual minorities NGO Sangama has said. 

And the apex court declining to relook its verdict criminalising gay sex, they say, has dealt a body blow to sexual minorities who will feel more vulnerable now before law and its enforcers, the police.

Elavarthi Manohar, a long-time activist and senior official at Sangama, told Deccan Herald that after the December 11 Supreme Court order, which set aside the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising gay sex, violence against sexual minorities had gone up in the three regions of the state – Chikkaballapur, Tumkur and Mangalore.

Manohar said: “We have received reports from three regions in the State that transgenders in particular are being assaulted by goonda elements. We are told police are not intervening or acting against the goondas. 

“The antisocial elements are indulging in violent acts knowing well that transgenders cannot approach the police in a context where it appears that their very sexual identity has been declared illegal. They are confident that police will not register complaints from transgenders. With no help forthcoming, sexual minorities have become very vulnerable in the eyes of law.”

The goondas apparently tell the transgenders about Section 377, how it has declared the sexual orientation of sexual minorities illegal. “There is no legal and police support for sexual minorities now, as their very orientation apparently is dubbed illegal. On whom can they depend in the face of attacks? Mangalore has been particularly bad with constant harassment from a particular community and the police.

So, walking on the streets invites all sorts of gestures, remarks and attacks. This is happening in the districts because we don’t have a strong sexual minorities movement other than in Bangalore. After this, we will plan how we can mobilise support outside Bangalore.”

Interestingly, Sangama has not received any complaints of assault, harassment and attacks from Bangalore. Activists say Bangalore is relatively safer compared with other districts, as the sexual minorities movement is strong in the City. The presence of a large number of NGOs, the media and rights activists in the City has created some awareness about sexual minorities being part of the general populace. 

Police say that people in Bangalore are educated, aware there is a sizeable population of sexual minorities, and see campaigns being organised frequently. Overall, there is awareness in the City that sexual minorities too are part of the general population. Police agree that if any person is being attacked or harassed for reasons of his sexual orientation, legal action can be taken against that person.

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