'No more a criminal,' LGBT community erupts with cheer over Section 377 verdict

From today, I am not a criminal: Akkai Padmashali

Happy ties: Akkai Padmashali with her husband Vasudev in Bengaluru on Tuesday.  

Transgender Rights activist and the first transwoman in the State to register her marriage, Akkai Padmashali, has been at the forefront of campaign against Section 377. She was one of the petitioners before the Supreme Court, which gave a landmark judgment on Thursday. The Hindu spoke to Akkai about the trials and tribulations before the judgment and the future of the LGBTQ community.

This judgment is a huge victory for the community, isnt it?

Yes. It is a historic judgment by the Supreme Court Constitution bench. Not only does the judgment say that people from LGBTQ are not criminals, but also that the majority cannot decide for the minority. The only morality that should be practised is constitutional morality. It also puts the onus of taking the judgment forward on the government. From today, I am not a criminal and members of my community are not criminals.

You were one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court against Section 377. What made you go to court?

When the Delhi High Court gave a judgment decriminalising consensual sex among adult homosexual persons in 2009, it had a positive impact on the community. In fact, my parents accepted me only after the verdict. But then in 2013, the ruling was overruled. Vengeance was unleashed on members of the community after this. I felt I needed to do something. I decided to file a petition against the Section in the Supreme Court in May this year,.

What next?

We will be launching a nation-wide campaign to educate people about the recent verdict. Only when all institutions, including the government, understand and accept the verdict will it really make an impact on the community. The change has to start from the society.

We will be demanding the setting up of a commission for sexual minorities to ensure discrimination and persecution is eradicated. We also demand that political leaders make their stand clear on the verdict and work towards creating a just society.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 6:55:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/from-today-i-am-not-a-criminal-akkai-padmashali/article24890162.ece

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