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From closets to rainbows: LGBT community celebrates Supreme Court judgment

From closets to rainbows: LGBT community celebrates Supreme Court judgment
September 13
10:44 2018

Harshita Jaiswal
India Post News Service

NEW DELHI: Even though it was expected, a wave of joy and relief swept through the LGBT community throughout the country as soon as the Supreme Court last week announced decriminalization of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to homosexuality. From ordinary people to celebrities all welcomed the judgment as overdue and a bold stroke for freedom. There were a few discordant voices also, belonging to some religious groups.

Many cried tears of happiness when the century long battle reached a resolution. The motto, “None of us are free till all of us are free” kept the strugglers continue to tread the path toward equal rights ever since the writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri, business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs.

Asked if he was happy now that community members could come out in the open, NGO worker Nabhaneel Tiwary said, “It’s not the LGBT community that needs to come out, it’s the society, government, Indian media (including Bollywood) that needs to come out of their closet and be rational about equality. I want to ask, are we democratic enough to accept all? Do we truly believe in ‘everybody is equal before the law?”

Pranjal Mishra, an aspiring journalist, said there was a time when he used to think that LGBT people are different but moving to a bigger city and meeting people from the same community has changed his thinking. People need to talk about this openly. Theatre and debates have helped me a lot” he said.

Banker Harshit Pandey said, “Change can only surface if awareness penetrates to small cities. Making a law is not enough unless people in society accept the LGBT community people. Usually people talk about gay rights and acceptance but rarely give attention to the person’s mental health. I think acceptance is more important than any law. I am proud with my choices and feel beautiful in my skin.”
Standing up as an opponent to the community and the judgment, Mrs. Johnson, Principal of a reputed school in Delhi, said “I don’t understand this concept. It is a bizarre idea for me. The movies and English serials have ruined the minds of boys and girls. I hope they go for a treatment.”

“My friends and colleagues never discriminated against me in any way. I am blessed that even in my teens when I first told my school friends that I like men they accepted and respected my choices. My journey till now has been smooth. I wish people get sanitized about us and treat us like everyone else” said Praveen Kumar, editor of a renowned newspaper in Jharkhand.
“Growing up in a small town is usually different. We never saw a transgender in our locality. I wear makeup, skirts and nail paint. I love it. But my parents are not aware of my feminine side. I remove my nail paint and start growing beard when I have to go home,” said Anurag who has just discovered that he likes cross dressing.
Many Bollywood celebrities have also come out in support of the court’s verdict. Karan Johar tweeted, “Historical judgment. So proud today. Decriminalizing homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back!

Arjun Kapoor wrote, “Sanity prevails for once we can believe we have some sensible decision makers and lawmakers available to this generation.”
Tweeter queen wrote, “Congratulations to all the activists and petitioners. Your perseverance just made India a freer place for everyone! Love Is Love. Pride of Verdict. Three cheers for the Supreme Court”.

While some expressed support in relatively half-hearted terms, others strongly disagreed.
The RSS seemed to support the verdict, but with a caveat. In a statement, the RSS said, “Like the Supreme Court verdict, we also don’t consider this (homosexuality) a crime. Same-sex marriages and relations are not in consonance with nature, and so we do not support such relations.
Uttar Pradesh president of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, Yogendra Kumar Verma termed the judgment a conspiracy to destroy Hindu culture. All India Sikh Conference present Gurcharan Singh Babar said Supreme Court’s judgment is against all religions. Father of Church Ramesh Pathak strongly condemned the decision declaring it is against the Bible laws.
The newspaper Milli Gazette—a publication which describes itself as “Indian Muslims’ leading English newspaper since January 2000″—described the apex court verdict as a  “a step towards self-destruction.”

In Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, pastor Felix Jebasingh of Puliyakulam Church created a flutter in a court complex by standing in the corridor and shouting “Please do not support the court judgment on Sec.377 (of IPC). Jesus Christ is arriving. His arrival is imminent. This type of marriages will lead to total destruction of society.”

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