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377 Judgment, One Year On. Celebrations on July 2, 2010!

by Delhi Queer Pride Committee, 1 July 2010

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(Posted below is the text of a leaflet produced for distribution on 2nd July 2010 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi)

Delhi Queer Pride Committee

One year ago, on July 2nd 2009, the Delhi High Court gave a historic
judgement decriminalising adult consensual same-sex sexual activity in
private. The ruling overturned a 19th century British law, Section 377 of
the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised same-sex activity as being
“against the order of nature”! Under this law millions of people in India
suffered life-long harassment in schools, colleges, workspace, homes, the
streets etc. along with discrimination and blackmail simply for loving
someone of the same sex. This law, coupled with the homophobic mahaul in
society, led to forced marriages, suicides and continual violence faced by
lesbians, bisexuals, gay and transgender people.

On July 2nd, 2009, after nine long years of legal battle, the Delhi High
Court took a first step in restoring the dignity and rights of LGBTQI
(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgenger, Queer, Intersex) people in India.
Citing Dr. Ambedkar’s notion of “constitutional morality” and Pt. Nehru’s
idea of equality, the High Court recognized that: “If there is one
constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian
Constitution, it is that of ’inclusiveness’.” And further that, “It cannot
be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is
the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every
individual”.

While we celebrate this symbolic victory of the LGBTQI movement lets also
raise our voice against the violence and discrimination that people continue
to face. We have many challenges ahead of us. The struggle continues to
change not just the law but the practices of society and state institutions
as well as families and individuals so that they accept and respect our
realities, as queer people, while not assuming that any one form of gender
or sexuality is the norm.

Let’s get together on 2nd July 2010, demanding that:

  • The Supreme Court uphold the judgement of the Delhi High Court regarding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Legal measures be taken to ensure that people are not discriminated
    against on the basis of their sexual orientation at their work places,
    schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions.
  • The law should forbid surgical and psychiatric medical interventions to
    alter sex, gender or sexual orientation, unless the person’s complete legal
    consent is established.
  • Provisions be made so that Hijras, Transsexuals and Intersexed persons be able to record the gender category of their choice in the national Census of India and all government documents.

Bol, ki lab aazad hain tere
- Bol, zaban ab tak teri hai
- Tera sutwan jism hai tera
- Bol, ki jaan ab tak teri hai
— Faiz Ahmed Faiz