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                 HOMOSEXUALITY vs HUMAN RIGHTS


Do homosexuals really enjoy all the rights given to them as citizens  of the country and as human beings?

The GLBT movement i.e. gay lesbian bisexual transgender movement has gained popularity and public support in the last couple of years. Homosexual marriages have been legalised in a few countries like Canada. People now freely talk about homosexuality. There is now enough awareness about the rights of homosexuals which are now categorised as human rights.

The real question is, do homosexuals really enjoy all the rights given to them as citizens of the country and as human beings? The society still looks at people of different sexual orientation with disapproval. The family of a homosexual is scared of accepting and declaring this difference to the outside world. They have to either live a secret life or suppress their desires under the pressures of family and society.

 

 

Apart from this discrimination, the law of our country recognises homosexuality as an offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to this section, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal,” can invite a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and fine. This section punishes a person who indulges in unnatural sex and has been used to harass homosexuals in our country.

Why does the law of our country prevent two consensual adults to choose their partner?

 

According to Mr Asim Sarode, advocate and human rights activist in Pune, the section is not only archaic; its presence is in itself a violation of human rights. “By not accepting them, we are denying them the very fundamental right of expression, guaranteed by the constitution of the country.”

Mr Sarode is of the opinion that because homosexuality is banned, there is a high risk of rise in HIV/AIDS amongst the homosexuals especially in places like prisons, remand homes and slums. “In many prisons, the jail inmates take to homosexuality due to lack of choice of members of the opposite sex or even due to force. Due to unprotected sex, they face a high risk of HIV infection. We cannot distribute condoms in prisons as homosexuality is an offence.” Hence unless S 377 is deleted, there will be a rise HIV/AIDS in such places.

The discrimination even prevents homosexuals to avail of government health services, which again places them in a vulnerable position.

 

 

 

The homosexuals’ community is constantly at the receiving end. They are deprived of the right to property, right to adopt and right to marry publicly. There is always the component of fear which prevents them from declaring their sexuality.

Though the law has not been used to prosecute consensual adult homosexual sex, it has been used to harass and extort money and sexual favours from vulnerable sexual minorities like male sex workers, hijras and transgenders.

A PIL has been filed for the deletion of Section 377. The matter is still pending before the court.

The law will take its own course. Change will take place when the society accepts people with different sexual behaviour as equals, deserving love and respect.In the end, who should decide what is natural or unnatural? Can the government sit as a watchdog to something which is so personal? Shouldn’t the decision of with whom one wants to have sexual relationship left to individual choice?

These are the unanswered questions.