31 January 2016

Decoding 377, and why we need to convince the Judiciary that it makes no sense.


With my short stint as a Queer Expressionist-Activist, I have realized one thing, Heteronormativity and section 377 of the Indian Penal Code disturbs not only the Queer Community, but every other human being who decides to love another human being in a way that is different from a penile-vaginal carnal intercourse ‘validated by nature’, in the country.

So, the fight is not just for ‘Gay Rights’, but the fight is basically to gain the right of two (or more) mutually consenting adults having a freedom in their bedroom and the society. A condom is rendered criminal by the section, because it stands ‘unnatural’. So is fellatio and anal intercourse between any two individuals, irrespective of their sex or gender. So, virtually more than half of India’s population should be grinding stones in jail, and they dare to call it a miniscule ‘minority’.

While BishalDey says that he has been continuing to do in his bedroom what he pleases without invoking the judiciary, and hence the government or judiciary does not matter, we would like to understand that detangling the judiciary from our bedrooms involves convincing or forcing it to detangle itself. This is where the fight lies, to understand why the government has no say in the space owned by mutually consenting adults, and to make the government understand that. Bishal also points out that ‘government ke kichhu bojhate hobe na, nije bojho’ (you do not need to explain anything to the government, understand it yourself). Jia resonates the concerns, saying that the government owns no right to interfere in the personal sex life of two mutually consenting adults. She makes a slogan out it, screaming, “straight or gay or anything else...my sex life is none of their business.”

Image result for section 377 
While we scream this out, we need to consciously understand that scrapping the section would do little. We need to amend it, looking at the points where we need it, and like Jia rightly points out, it is the next fight. Primarily, we as social beings cannot isolate our existences from the society. So while some may be comfortable by being invisible and non-existent in eyes of the society, some of us might claim an iota of acceptance and visibility. So if this social change needs to be executed through a change in the law, which definitely provides more security to the members of the queer community, then so be it.

The country is erupting in demonstrations and explanations of multiple viewpoints around the Section 377. So, if you stand somewhere close to one such demonstration, do attend it. If not, start one yourself. We stand here with our future in our hands. Let us make what we can out of it.

If you are in Kolkata, then pay a visit to the Academy of Fine Arts, on the first of February, at 6:00 PM. Show the Supreme Court that you care, and we are not a miniscule minority.

(The views of all the people involved in this article, including the author, are personal. The author’s interpretation is so, too.)


Sayantan is an active queer expressionist studying Biological Sciences in Presidency University. He is the editor-in-chief of ExPress Magazine, and also writes various columns for various other reputed magazines and blogs. Some of his other articles are as follows :- 

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