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The Decriminalization of Section 377 was historic. India had previously criminalized sex between two people of the same gender, but now it’s not counted in Section 377. Although it was very historic and many queer people gained more confidence, there was one thing which didn’t change: The heteronormative attitudes of the people of India. India still hasn’t legalised gay marriage so this comes as a blow for queer people.
There are lots of support for gay men but no so much for gay women or transgender and non binary people. They face many struggles especially in our country for being queer.
Firstly, they get told by the people around them that their attraction towards people of the same sex is just a phase. They also get told that they’re not queer because they are attracted to both genders. Women are queer if they have are attracted to the same sex. They are not any less if they’re part of the lgbtq+ community.
They are also not given any support by their parents. It is rare to see an Indian parent who is pro lgbtq+. They often get insulted and scolded, thinking that this something unnatural and that it’s an evil thought. They are disowned and they often have nowhere to go. Some families even partake in corrective rapes and honor killings because they cannot handle the fact that they have a queer child.
I found a quote from Parmesh Shahani, the head of Godrej India Culture Lab which I think should be followed by all parents:
“You are not doing your child a favour by accepting her or him. You are just fulfilling your responsibility. By accepting your child you are also helping create a better society that values diversity and accepts the uniqueness of people as they are.”
Queer woman themselves go through many struggles: they do not think they’re normal and the disapproval from family and friends contributes to mental health issues. Many people think that queer people are less in number but that is a wrong assumption. Many haven’t been true to others and are still struggling.
I hope that one day, we can live in a society where heteronormativity isn’t the default. What we can do as allies is to listen and be there for them, and not speak over them because you think something they said is wrong.