Individualism is getting increasingly popular in today’s environment. Individualism is defined as a “society in which the majority of people have the freedom to make their own decisions rather than being ruled by the government. “This brings our attention to Article 14 of our constitution (which states that all citizens of India should be treated equally) and Article 19 (which states that all citizens of India should have freedom of speech and expression).” People in India are increasingly acknowledging the rights of the LGBTQ community as the world changes. Now people in India are also accepting and allowed to celebrate pride month.
In 1862, British colonial rulers enacted section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which made homosexuality illegal. This law punishes persons who actively engage in sexual activity with any man or woman, and it is a barrier that we continue to encounter.
WHAT DOES LGBTQIA+ STAND FOR?
Even if you identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, understanding all seven characters of this acronym might be tough. It can be even more perplexing for individuals who are not LGBTQIA+. What does each letter stand for, exactly? And how can a few characters be used to define a whole community? In light of a recent study conducted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), that 12 per cent of the population identifies as LGBTQIA+, it’s more crucial than ever to understand the terminology around this growing community.
Since then, activists and members of the queer community have merged to form the abbreviation “LGBTQIA+.” This denotation provides room for persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (and in some cases, “questioning”), intersex, asexual (and sometimes “ally”), and a “+” for a variety of additional orientations and identities.
Following the challenges that the LGBTQ community has endured in the past. India took a significant step forward for the LGBTQ community in 2014. The Supreme Court acknowledged transgender people as the “third gender” in the case National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India. They were also no longer required to identify as “male” or “female.” Furthermore, they were guaranteed all of the rights enumerated in Part 3 of India’s Constitution (Fundamental Rights).
In the case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors., the Supreme Court of India took another significant step forward for India’s LGBTQ population. In this case, it was determined that Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution safeguard fundamental rights.
Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Ret.) and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors. also overturned the Supreme Court’s decision in Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation in 2013, in which judges upheld the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes anal sex a punishable offence, despite the fact that the LGBTQ community is in the minority.
On 6th September 2018, there came another significant milestone case in this legal war for the rights of the LGBTQ community, Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India. Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, 2018 in this case Supreme Court Struck down section 377 of IPC (this criminalizes voluntarily sexual intercourse between the same-sex people) and it legalised consensual intercourse activity between the same-sex people.
RECENT LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, was passed with the goal of protecting transgender people’s rights by outlawing discrimination in employment, education, healthcare, and access to government and private businesses. However, in the name of community empowerment, the bill exposes individuals to institutional oppression and dehumanizes them.
The Madras High Court has made important efforts to reduce the sharp edge of prejudice against the LGBTQIA+ community, three years after the Supreme Court knocked down a repressive rule that criminalised gay encounters as unconstitutional. In a comprehensive set of instructions based on the spirit of the 2018 Navtej Johar v Union of India and 2014 Nalsa v Union of India decisions, Justice N Anand Venkatesh outlawed the questionable practice of “conversion therapy,” which purports to convert queer people’s sexual orientation or “transgender people’s gender identity to cis-gender.” A constitutional court has issued a strong warning against pathologizing the lives of homosexual and gender-nonconforming people and “curing” them through traumatic procedures.
THE WAY FORWARD
We are in a position to appreciate how these judgements will impact the future of the LGBT rights movement in India after having such a comprehensive debate about the growth of the LGBT rights movement in India and appreciating the relevance of various court declarations.
As a result, it is critical to remember that the relevance of the NALSA and Navtej Singh Johar decisions goes beyond the acknowledgement of third gender identification and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. But these rulings are also progressive because, in addition to resolving the matter at hand, they set the framework for a slew of other fundamental rights. These civil rights include the right to marriage, right to adoption, right to surrogacy, right against discrimination, freedom from sexual assault etc.
The importance of educating people about LGBT rights cannot be overstated. Human rights are inviolable, eternal rights that are granted to everyone from the moment they are born. It is critical that people understand that homosexuals are not diseased, that they are not aliens, and that their sexual orientation is totally in line with nature’s dictates.
As a result, it is critical that the government shed its conservative nature and make tangible efforts to end the shame, prejudice, and abuse that LGBTQIA+ persons face. It is past time for the government to draught new laws or alter current ones regarding marriage, adoption, guardianship, inheritance, educational institutions, employment, and healthcare services, among other things.
Lastly, I will conclude this article by saying that until and unless the government gives the LGBTQIA+ people in India an equal status, a just and fair struggle for social recognition by LGBT+ will go on.