While the Supreme Court and Dr. Mohana Krishnaswamy (Open Page, Dec. 22) are free to express and voice their views, on homosexuality, I believe that “criminalizing” homosexuality is keeping the gates open for oppression of the LGBT community. Historically, Indian society has been very open-minded. However, over the years, our vision has narrowed and we have tried to uphold traditions, without sufficient proof to back our claims. Our historical texts are replete with descriptions and references to transgenders. There are even sculpture pieces and engravings at historic monuments that depict acts of homosexuality.
Though we have not had convictions for homosexuality, Section 377 of the IPC still leaves the possibility for the arrest and trial of people engaging in homosexuality. This is quite unfair to them, just because a section of society believes it is unnatural. Dr. Krishnaswamy has given the example of a person having six fingers. Do we call such a person a criminal? Why cannot we have such an opinion on homosexuality as well and leave it at that? The “against the order of nature” clause in Section 377 is open to so wide an interpretation that it is equally possible to bring under it a fairly large number of married men and women, and who are “natural and normal,” within the ambit of engaging in unnatural sexual practices. Calling homosexuality “unnatural” is itself questionable. There are instances of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, which have been documented. Finally, we do not have a gene for homosexuality as yet. But would the world accept homosexuality instantly if we found one tomorrow?
It is ironical that a person from the medical field finds enough and more reasons to substantiate the stand against decriminalising homosexuality. The good doctor compares the trait to terrorism, suicidal tendencies, people with six fingers, and so on. The theories of Darwin on evolution, natural selection and artificial selection have been used to support the theory of homosexuality as an acquired and unnatural trait. Honestly, comparing the “deviant trait” to the evolution of dogs from wolves thousands of years ago, and by the intervention of humans, was funny. Another controversial statement is that HIV/AIDS can be controlled by having curbs on homosexuals. Those who indulge in heterosexual relations share an equal responsibility for its spread. The article has only served to send shock waves especially as it is by a medical practitioner. The authorities should instead devote their energies to finding answers to abhorrent practices like rape and child molestation.
As a scientist, I was stunned to read the article. After objecting mildly to Hitlerian eugenics, the writer ends with an entirely eugenic proposal to “reduce if not eliminate undesirable traits over several generations.” It claims proof that a homosexual is “prone to AIDS,” as if that is a genetic predisposition, and then ludicrously suggests that retaining Section 377 will reduce that risk. It draws an unacceptable analogy between homosexuals and terrorists, and confuses crime, non-standard physical attributes and behaviour which the majority frowns upon.
The article is an insult to upright and outstanding Indians like Vikram Seth and Onir and millions of others who enrich our society. The computer I am writing this on owes its existence to Alan Turing and others.