After Sec 377, what’s next for the LGBT community?

The decriminalisation of Section 377 is perhaps the first step towards righting wrongs and guaranteeing the rights of all minorities across civil boundaries.

With the above statement made, it seems to open up a horizon of opportunities for a better life for the LGBTQIA in India. A life with hope and trust in the Indian judicial system. The journey continues. Section 377 was never the goal but a mere milestone. What's the way forward? 

The LGBTQIA have forever been ostracised by society, be it in Indian cinema or in day-to-day life. What society fails to realise is the talent, creativity, intelligence and so much more that this community has to offer in taking India to the next level. This verdict reassures the community that there shall be no fear of being able to start, own, run any business in the nation and no fear of discrimination from the nation. To proudly speak of their truth empowers them to express their true selves. 

The way forward gives a wider perspective within institutions, companies and organisations. It breaks the silence on diversity and inclusion policies, recruitment of LGBT people, housing for LGBT people, insurance coverage for HIV positive people and for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and government subsidies/wavers on sex reassignment surgeries. With the law on our side, let's hope to work together in achieving this massive task together. 

The way forward on education

I hope that the Ministry of Education upholds the Supreme Court’s verdict and includes poetry, biographies and stories of not just heterosexuals but ones with nuanced approaches to gender and sexuality.

I hope that schools and colleges implement safe practices of dealing with young LGBT teenagers and create safe spaces within their institutions for them to deal with their coming out process with ease. Stricter rules need to be implemented on abuse and discrimination among students based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The way forward on shelter spaces

Multiple cases of domestic abuse, abduction and homelessness among LGBT people raises the need for safe shelter spaces. We hope to collectively work towards establishing such a space to house people leaving home to live on their own. Such a space will also help them to survive financially. We hope to create a shelter space that offers a pro bono legal adviser, therapy and more.

Help from CSR wings 

We hope that the Corporate Social Responsibility wings of different companies will fund movements and groups working on dealing with advocacy and activism for the LGBT. These resources will not only speed up each organisation’s goals but also express the inclusivity of these companies. Expenditure on these resources will not only help the community but also help to rebuild so many lives in so many ways. 

We are no longer criminals, we are who we are. The horizon is ahead of us and may the sun never set on our rights to liberty, dignity and equality. We strive to continue this journey forward and acknowledge this milestone covered. We celebrate this freedom.

(The writer is the co-founder of Queer Collective India. He is a chef, traveller and a people person.)


Read:

The importance of documenting India's LGBTQ+ movement

A struggle against social morality

Sec 377: State, civil society need to step up

Queer, confront it

Looking at mental health in the queer community

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After Sec 377, what’s next for the LGBT community?

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