Rallying against violence, discrimination, abuse

PUBLIC HEARING

The December 11 verdict has made our already vulnerable community even more vulnerable to violence at the hands of police.

I was threatened and assaulted so badly for being gay that I have lost the ability to hear from my right ear,” said one of the members of the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender) during a conference on increase in violence and discrimination cases against sexual minorities since the Section 377 verdict in 2013. Notably, the Apex Court refused to review Section 377 of IPC which upholds criminalisation of homosexuality.

Mentioning another incident which took place in Karnataka where 13 gay men on Diwali night were ill-treated on the grounds of violating Section 377, another LGBT activist said, “Our identity was made public and as a consequence we were socially ostracised, ridiculed by family, bullied by neighbours and even lost our jobs.”

The Supreme Court criminalised same sex sexual behaviour on 11 December, 2013. “The consequences of this judgment have been multiple and far-reaching. Over the past year, this ruling has increased the vulnerability of gender and sexual minorities to violence, stigma and discrimination and has adversely affected the uptake of HIV services,” says one of the activist.  

To mark the anniversary of Section 377 judgment, India HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance India) organised a conference at FICCI Auditorium recently to discuss the consequences of the ruling and review cases of violence and discrimination that have taken place since the Supreme Court verdict.

The event was attended by more than 500 activists and people from the LGBT. Speaking at the event, K G Balakrishnan, chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and former Chief Justice said, “Human rights of the LGBT community need protection, and they should not be categorised as criminals.”

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, transgender activist said, “In India, far too many LGBT people live lives of secrecy and shame. Those who reveal their sexual identities or deviate from gender norms face social rejection, economic marginalisation, and
physical violence.”

Adding to that, Sushant Divgikar, Mr Gay International and a recent Big Boss celebrity, said, “I am deeply troubled by the everyday injustice faced by my LGBT brothers and sisters. We need to fight the internalised homophobia and transphobia in our communities and transform our fear into courage to celebrate who we are.”

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