‘We are finally free!’

Pranita Roy
Friday, 7 September 2018

Every individual from the community rejoiced and celebrated over the judgement. Social media was flooded with happy faces and posts, graphics and greetings of people. 

PUNE: In true sense, love was in the air on Thursday after the apex court pronounced the verdict in favour of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community.

The country reverberated with hailing slogans, drums and songs of freedom and love, as the Supreme Court delivered a historic verdict by decriminalising homosexuality and scrapping a part of the colonial era law under Section 377 which violated the rights of the community.

Every individual from the community rejoiced and celebrated over the judgement. Social media was flooded with happy faces and posts, graphics and greetings of people. 

“Finally, after a prolonged battle, the community sees a ray of hope and validate their existence in the society. The perception of the society has changed over the years and now, there will be acceptance of us and our sexuality. This one more step towards equality,” said LGBTQI activist Sonali Dalvi.

They are hopeful that with this progressive change, their situation in the society will get better. “Now, we will slowly get privileges of a citizen like others, of accommodation, access to toilets, health care, marriage and other aspects. Until now, our community feared to even approach the police. They will come out. Laws will be made equally for us,” she added.

Sarang Punekar, the first transgender studying at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) said, “Our future generation will not have to face abuse and humiliation which we went through during our growing up years while battling with ourselves and recognising the sexuality. Now, our opinions will be given importance in the society. There will be more acceptance at educational institutions, workplace and in the minds and hearts of people.”

“The immediate impact of this decision will be that now, extortion and blackmail under the cover of Section 377 will reduce. More and more people will come forward and seek police intervention,” said Bindumadhav Khire, Founder of Samapathik Trust.

He also added that in this line three parallel petitions should come up. “First should be on same sex marriages, second should be on adoption and surrogacy wherein, the same sex couple can have a family of themselves like any other couple. The third should be to counter direct and indirect discrimination against LGBTQI community, a law on anti-discrimination section should be formed. Those who mistreat or humiliate or don’t give job opportunities because of the gender can be penalised or punished,” said Khire.

LGBTQI Indians can finally enjoy equality before the law, freedom of expression, personal autonomy and right to dignity as enshrined in Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, read a note from The Humsafar Trust.

“We waited 18 years for this but it was worth every minute to be finally free of Section 377. Azaadi finally in Azaad India!” said Ashok Row Kavi, Founder Chairperson of The Humsafar Trust.

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