“The Supreme Court said that right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy. Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual’’
The Historical judgment by the Supreme Court recognizing Right To Privacy as a Fundamental Right has strengthened democracy and gives hope of a more free and secure society. The debate sparked many arguments covering a lot of aspects which also makes this ruling very important.
Among other important issues, significant changes are also hoped to be seen in Act 377 of IPC criminalizing consensual sexual acts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in private. With a long struggle accompanied with pride marches and organizations working towards bringing equality, it’s high time that the country gives the due rights the communities deserve.
One of the basic point of the argument is the blurred division of definitions of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. Sex is a biological concept while Gender is more related to a sociological concept. They are not Binary concepts. Gender is a deep sense of oneself as a gendered being and may not have a one-to-one correlation with sex. E.g. someone assigned the sex female at birth, even when supported by all physical, physiological and chromosomal evidence of being female, may not self-identify as the gender female, and vice-versa.
On the other hand, intersex variation refers to the ways in which one’s sex is seen to be different from the binary idea of sex as Male or Female — a function of one’s chromosomes, hormones. Not all intersex people may identify as transgender. And not all transgender people need to be intersex. To determine someone from what’s in front of their pants restricts the person’s individual choices and identity of their sexual orientation.
The State holds responsibility to check violence against LGBT communities with proper redressal and prevention of such incidents. Violence within biological families, educational institutions and workplaces are very prominent. Punishment and harassment of children and adults for gender nonconforming behavior, forceful and unethical conversion therapies, forced marriages, stigma and discrimination in recruitments leading to drastic impacts on their social and economic status.
Implementation of laws have to be coupled with a change of hearts. Awareness about LGBT communities must be encouraged. To bring anything into popular forum of discussion we need to start talking about what has not been talked about. Organizing Pride marches could help people reach out and ask more questions which will help them recognize others demand for rights as a legitimate one and include more people in this struggle. Engage to change.
None of us are free until all of us are free!
About our writer: Aishwarya Shrivastav is a history graduate from University of Delhi. A spoken word poet, she likes to describe herself as a woman taking up more space than she was allotted by the society. Raging through words.