Published: 06th September 2018
Life beyond Section 377: And we finally saw the sun
History owes an apology to LGBT persons for ostracisation, discrimination, noted the judgment stating that this judgment has to be considered in all pending prosecutions
Last night as my train chugged along the coast of Kerala en route Mangalore, something caught my attention. It hadn’t yet been a month since the terrible floods had brought life in this picturesque state to a complete standstill. Yet, here were people smiling, laughing, being ever gracious and oozing with that Malayali charm that we all are so fond of. What was their secret, I wondered? How was it that people who lost so much, seemed so unfettered by the destruction all around them?
“We’re always waiting for the sun behind those clouds. We knew that it would come back, and even if we couldn’t see it – it was there, waiting for us, with arms wide open,” explained an elderly co-passenger.
Today’s verdict against IPC 377 was very similar. Yes, it was a landmark judgment and yes, we’ve waited for it, forever! But was it a surprise? Not really. The timing, maybe?
For those of us who have treasured our constitution, this incredible injustice being meted out to the LGBTQIA+ community was absolutely illegal all along. We were always aghast at courts repeatedly failing to recognise the unconstitutionality of this particular section.
Section 377 was a wakeup call for many of us in India. I remember rejoicing at the first decriminalisation in 2009. It coincided with the first anniversary of my coming out. The joy, the exhilaration and rabid happiness that I experienced, will always be a part of me. This time around, I was older and far more composed. And even with that rationalising, I broke into tears of joy.
Were these tears of joy or were these tears of a struggle finally ending? Yes, the movement will continue, but the struggle against IPC Section 377 is finally over!
I am yet to receive copies of the final judgements as I send this in for publication – but believe me, we will study them like our lives depend on it. Never before has a court echoed so many sentiments and emotions shared by a community that was pleading for its life and basic dignity. The courts have finally done us justice and now we will ensure justice from society too. Maybe that, after all, is the only way forward.