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Why Section 377 must be amended to end discrimination and violence against the LGBT community?
- Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is a draconian section introduced by the British colonialists which criminalizes homosexuality even among consenting adults calling it against “the order of nature.” The punishment for such acts may extend to ten years in jail. Thus a homosexual who is a law abiding citizen, pays his/her taxes, contributes to the nation, is forced to live with the pain that in the eyes of the law he/she is regarded as a criminal.
- The statute originated in 1860 well before the development of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences. It continues today despite associations of psychiatrists and psychologists around the world including India categorically stating that homosexuality is not a disorder. It is as natural as heterosexuality.
- The statute violates the constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality.
- The statute denies consenting adults rights over their own bodies.
- Britain which had such a statute struck it down from its own law books in 1967. This year in March, Britain even went one step further. It legalized same sex marriages in England and Wales, while here in India we still continue to oppress our own citizens with a colonial law.
- Section 377 must be opposed not just by gays, lesbians and transgenders but also by heterosexuals. Gays are born to heterosexual parents. Just as some children are born left handed, some children are born gay. Which parent would like his or her son/daughter to be criminalized if he/she is born with an alternative sexual orientation?
- In no developed country does such a barbaric law exist. Countries in Europe, the US, even China have decriminalized homosexuality. Our neighbour Nepal too has done it. In more than 18 countries same sex marriages have been made legal and this number is growing every year.
- We must demand that Parliament or the Supreme Court amend this section and it will only do so if hundreds of millions of voices speak out against section 377.
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