Following the Indian Supreme Court’s December 11 decision to include gay sex under the purview of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, effectively re-criminalising such activity, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) community here held a series of candlelight rallies here to symbolically suggest that it “demonstrates the degree to which India is still in the dark.”
Most recently Khush DC, a South Asian LGBTQ social, support, and political community held a rally outside the Indian embassy here on Friday evening to protest the use of Section 377 to “harass, silence, and imprison the LGBTQ community in the country.”
Their action comes after the latest judicial decision effectively nullified the Delhi High Court’s view, expressed in 2009, that Section 377 was unconstitutional.
In a statement Khush DC President Sapna Pandya described the Supreme Court ruling as a “setback,” adding, “We stand in solidarity with the brave activists in South Asia and worldwide who have taken such huge leaps in recent years and know they will continue the fight for equality in spite of the disappointment we all feel...”
A broad swathe of South Asian LGBTQ groups in North America came together underscore this message on Friday, saying in a joint statement that where the Delhi Court’s ruling was “bold and powerful,” the Supreme Court’s decision was “heartbreakingly timid,” and “side-stepped many questions on the merits of the case, and provided superficial and incorrect assessments of the rest.”
The coalition of LGBTQ groups also said criticised the Supreme Court for “Ignoring history altogether, [claiming] that 377 does not discriminate against any group, but ‘merely identifies certain acts’ as illegal.” Further the bench also implied that protecting the rights of LGBTQ persons was not their job but that of the Indian Parliament, the coalition noted, saying “The Court is wrong,” in this course as the Indian Constitution empowers the judiciary and requires it to protect minority rights.