They say there is always some madness in love, this is one of the reasons why there are so many love stories that touch our hearts through every form of art and literature to our personal lives. Yet, this is not the narrative about some ordinary love between a man and a woman.
Rather, it is about the love shared between people of same sexes. Okay, it is a taboo, we learnt, we cannot write or talk about it, but, co-incidentally, the Supreme Court of India, declared that popular morality cannot dictate the personal preferences of people. The judgment touched the wide meanings of identity crises faced by transgenders and also the people who don’t fall in the normal categories of genders. Thereby, de-criminalising homosexual relations between consenting adults. It is a victory for all those who have been forced to live the lives of a rat, in the pseudo-modern society.
Yet, there are many arguments against the judgement, while there is just one argument in favour, aimed at ending the struggle faced by the people with different needs(I prefer to call them as, because is every aspect they are just like us), it is their right to live and lead normal lives in today’s materialistic society.
There has been a debate since the Naz foundation case came before the Delhi High Court,(though the debae is still continuing) and the Supreme Court struck down the verdict of de-criminalizing section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, stating that the society isn’t ready for such a thing then, while now Chief Justice Dipak Misra, simply reversed the ruling, and wrote a new chapter in the history of Indian society.
The arguments raised against the LGBT & Q people leading normal lives, raising families and contributing to the society are namely religio-moral, and psychological (after an objective analysis of the issues involved there exist only the above two classifications). By religio-moral it is meant to indicate that how religion comes into play to decide the ‘course of nature’ that defines the normal/moral way of life, because as said by Mr. Gopal Gandhi, India is a secular nation but a religious society.
Religions, be it Oriental or Abrahamic and even others don’t allow homosexual relations to be established in the society at all, and the transgenders a queers are bluntly treated as outcasts. There have been people who have been homosexuals and famous people of the past have been found to be bisexuals in their orientation. But, today we aren’t talking about the perversion, rather we are talking about several people who are just like us, who dream of having a home, love people of the same sex or transgenders or queers, and are judged because of their biological orientations and self identity. Religion in Indian society snubs all the scope of any humanitarian reasons to allow such people, or rather any person who is a non-conformist, to lead normal lives.
Psychological reasons, this remained one of the most profound beliefs that made Lord Macaulay incorporate the provision in the Code, because it was firmly believed by psychologists in the west (back then and even today) that homosexual behaviour and transgender behaviour is a direct outcome of psychological issues which may be counseled and cured. Though, most developed countries found it tough to do that given the robust healthcare systems in place. Besides this, the person who is observing LGBTQ people displays an obnoxious attitude towards these people, because of the stigma associated to such people which leads to public shaming and banishment from the society. This has been the order of the society, where several homosexuals, transgenders and queers have been shamed, or beaten up or simply exiled from their communities.
OUTCOME OF THE NORM PRIOR TO THE VERDICT:
Due to non-acceptance, these people are forced to live low lives, and the transgenders and queers don’t get employment, therefore they are forced to take up prostitution as a source of livelihood. Even homosexual people are exposed to shame and often have to leave their jobs and quit the places they live due to the taboo attached with their orientations, once it comes out in the public domain. These people face crises in their minds which kills them bit by bit, while they are alive.
Argument in favour:
India is a home to the world’s second largest population which naturally makes India home to the second largest population of homosexuals, transgenders, bisexuals and transgenders. The only reason that supports the right of such people with different needs is their right to live. The humiliation, exception and halts that they face in their social intercourse is not the one faced by us, but if we try putting ourselves in their shoes, none of us would be bold enough to accept ourselves, and live with our heads held in the least possible position that fits the description of dignity while we go out in the society.
Therefore on humanitarian grounds, the recognition by the SC verdict, that there are people with different needs, and they have a right to live life with dignity, get married, raise children and get employment, is commendable and a far-sighted decision. The clamour against the verdict is unwarranted yet there exist certain issues that the Supreme Court chose to neglect, this is based only on the pure logic that masses, not in the metro cities but far flung areas, need to be sensitised, to the cause of the LGBTQ, in the right perspective, it should have been taken up as a social reform with the Parliament and the Executive walking along with the Judges!
Issues Left Untouched:
Firstly, Indians as a people, are conservative, thus, without actually affording any sensitisation on the issue, specially given the rise in the crimes against women, the legal protection, makes the LGBTQ people more vulnerable, and our police is as outdated as ever, that needs to be checked.
Secondly society, still believes in honour, and there are honour killings, which the law enforcement has not been able to keep a tab on. So much so, special marriages, meaning marriages between people of differen genders belonging to different religious communities is not acceptable, though the law allows it, but the society condemns it.
Thirdly, the institution of marriage, which is governed by Personal Laws, will need to be changed, which means there is a need to implement some sort of uniform civil code, as no religion permits a union not ordained by the will of nature.
The fourth reason is one found on the very basic principles of the Constitutional democracy which we live in. Our Preamble reads as “We the people of India…”, thereby signifying that the authority of the State resides in the people, not with the organs of the State, when Justices remarked ‘popular morality’ will not decide the fate of the LGBTQ people, did it mean an outright rejection of the authority of the Parliament, which is the representative of the popular will of the masses? The issue involves the legislative machinery to address the wide ranging aspects of the issue, like marriage, adoption, succession, and divorce, and most important of all affording protection to the LGBTQ people in distress. The outright rejection of the popular will may lead to a conflict between the legislature and the judiciary, along side putting the rights again on the back burner.
There is still a debate going on in the society and Mr. Subramaniam Swamy is leading the ante-camp, yet there is only one reason against every logic, there is always some madness in love.