Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Even in countries that are supportive and protective of LGBTQ+ rights, coming out as LGBTQ+ isn’t really simple. Accepting oneself is the first step, followed by establishing one’s individuality to the rest of the world. Although judicial reform may provide a forum for people to speak out, social realities do not always move in lockstep.

Consensual sexual intercourse between same-sex persons was classified as a “unnatural offence” that is “against the order of nature” under Section 377 of the IPC. It stipulated a sentence of ten years in jail. The provision is a legislation from the Victorian period that has lasted until the twenty-first century. Surprisingly, homosexuality has never been criminalised or decriminalised in any of the world’s 123 countries.

The Delhi High Court heard a case in which the Naz Foundation (India) Trust challenged the validity of Article 377 under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21. Section 377, according to the Foundation, represents an outdated conception of sex’s purpose, primarily as a method of breeding, and has no place in a civilized society. And on September 6, 2018, a historical judgement was given by the five-judge bench who unanimously took down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised same-sex encounters between consenting adults. The judges found that Section 377 discriminates against people gender and sexuality and/or sexual orientation, in violation of the Constitution’s Articles 14 and 15. They also found that Section 377 breaches Article 21’s rights to life, dignity, and personal decision autonomy, Eventually, they observed that it obstructs an LGBTQ’s individual’s capacity to fully express their identity by breaching Article 19(1)(a).’s right to freedom of speech. So now, any  Individuals who identify as LGBTQ are now lawfully permitted to engage in consensual sexual intercourse.

Prior to the ruling, the LGBT community had been victimised in a variety of ways. Numerous incidents have highlighted the insecurity of LGBTQ+ Indians as a result of Section 377. Section 377 was used to arrest and harass gay couples who met in parks or public places. Men who are homosexual have been raped and used. They were viewed as offenders in the eyes of the law.

when the decision was made out in 2018. It was a turning point in national discussions on LGBTQ rights. The judges discussed the concept of love in society and made allusions to gay literature and art. Most importantly, they recognised that past wrongs against the LGBTQ community needed to be made right on a policy level. However, there is still more work to be done on a psychology basis. Although the ruling has aided transgender persons and others who have been harassed by the authorities, familial and societal acceptance remains a distant dream for many. It is still difficult to be upfront about one’s sexual orientation at work, and many people are being pushed into heterosexual marriages or alienated. Even after decriminalization of Section 377 , things aren’t looking good for gays in our country. They still have to deal with a lot of hatred and intolerance. Although the judgement allowed them to have legal intercourse with their partner,but it did not provide them with respect in society. Regardless of its political, economic, or cultural structures, the state has a legal duty to promote and defend its citizens’ human rights. Every day, they must strive for their rights. They don’t even get the minimal necessities that a heterosexual couple can acquire. They have to deal with the opinions of others in public areas.

Indians are still not willing to accept that two people of the same sex can form a relationship and spend their lives together, despite the fact that man has progressed to the point where he is capable of choosing his own partners and sexual identity. This is the twenty-first century, and man has evolved to the point where he is capable of choosing his own partners and sexual preferences. However, due to stereotypes, people in India are still not ready to accept that two people of the same gender can fall in love and spend their lives together.

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