I would like to thank the judges of the Delhi High Court who delivered the verdict legalising gay sex between consenting adults for erasing the stigma on those considered abnormal, immoral and unnatural by a majority. Thanks also to the Naz Foundation for its courage and persistence, and my greetings to the LGBT community. As for the view that the media have given a disproportionate coverage to the issue, I think we must thank the media for doing a meaningful job. If, today, the younger generation is comfortable discussing vital issues of sex, safe sex, and sexually-transmitted diseases, which were once considered taboo, it is due to the media’s efforts.
The possibility of a higher prevalence rate of HIV among homosexuals — contrary to what the conservatives argue — is all the more reason homosexuality should be legalised. Criminalisation will only lead to stigma, harassment and lesser awareness on the issue. Individuals are more likely to undergo testing and seek treatment when their sexual identity and behaviour are accepted or, at least, do not invite scorn. Both government and non-governmental agencies will find it easier to target campaigns and interventions when the high risk groups are easy to identify. Decriminalisation of gay sex between consenting adults is but a first step. The need of the hour is de-stigmatisation of not only homosexuals but also other harassed, exploited and HIV-vulnerable groups such as sex workers.
VelloreThe Delhi High Court judgment is yet another step in the continuous evolution of democracy in India. It is no doubt a landmark decision in the field of civil liberties and a victory long overdue. But the question is: where do we go from here? Shortly, we will see homosexuals sitting together and holding hands in restaurants and parks. Are we really ready for such a scenario?
Although the High Court’s decision to decriminalise gay sex between consenting adults is welcome, one cannot help thinking that such a step was unthinkable until a few years ago. I, for one, never thought it was possible in India.
Many have welcomed the judgment saying it is historic. But I feel it is another blow to Indian culture. One’s sexual orientation is by choice, not by chance. Therefore, engaging in any activity that is against the law of nature should be curbed, not encouraged.
The Delhi High Court verdict is unfortunate. Legalising gay sex will lead to social and cultural degradation. It is like importing cultural bankruptcy from the West. The government should appeal against the verdict in the interest of a healthy society and the future generations.
Besides being the largest democracy, India is home to many religions which are unanimously opposed to homosexuality. The government, indeed, has a challenging task ahead — of taking a decision that balances democracy with religious sentiments.