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Shubhangini Shaktawat
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Decriminalization of Section 377 IPC
Section 377 IPC stated that any sort of ‘unnatural’ intercourse or intercourse with any man, woman, transgender or animal against the ‘law of nature’ would be legally offensive and a punishable crime, with a term that could extend up to 10 years and fine. On 6th September, 2018, this Section 377 was decriminalized and restored by the bench, stating that using the section of the IPC to victimize, assault or ostracize homosexuals was unconstitutional, hence a criminal act. Post this, consensual sexual activity between all genders was legalized. This was no doubt, a very big step towards achieving gender equality, justice and freeing the society of discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community. Yet, India seems to lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to acceptance and respect towards homosexuals, transgenders, etc. As they all ask, “What part of love don’t you understand?” Women all over India are already suffering from a lot of social issues in terms of respect, equality, justice, strata, position, etc. On top of that, if the woman concerned is a queer woman, life is even more miserable. Being a queer woman is a tough job in India; families would refuse to accept them, society would sideline them, they would remain to be discriminated against at every step no matter how much we say we have developed, they would always lack education and lose employment opportunities, they would never be respected for who they are and they would always be oppressed as their rights never mattered to the society. The decriminalization of Section 377 of the IPC has not turned out to be of great help to them. It was just the first stepping stone towards achieving full rights for them. They are fighting a battle against the entire nation here as the society refuses to accept them and give them the respect and status that they deserve to get. It is not questionable how they struggle even at the glass root level when their families make them undergo conversion therapy to rid them from their ‘disease’ or ‘mental disorder.’ The society needs to change its perception of queer women. It needs to accept them the way they are, without being afraid of the fact that they are ‘unnatural’ or ‘abnormal’ and they deserve to have a place in the society too. Love is love and there is no natural force stronger than it. Hence, they are absolutely natural and normal. We must understand that patriarchy and pro-men beliefs cannot prevail over our minds and the society as they are spoiling thousands of life all over the nation. We cannot afford to lose more lives. We must change and make a difference.
An ally and supporter,
Shubhangini Shaktawat