Sexolve 119: ‘Sec 377 Verdict Aside, Why This Loud Show of Love?’
“Visibility makes it possible for people to believe in a parallel world where all kinds of love is celebrated.”
Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any problems, doubts or queries regarding sex, sexuality or your relationship, which you can’t seem to deal with, or need some advice, answers or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop in a mail to email@example.com.
This week’s Q&As below:
‘Sec 377 Verdict is Fine But Such Loud Display of Affection?’
I am a 25-year-old man in India. My parents are deeply conservative and do not understand modern sexualities. The verdict on Section 377 was out on every channel. My parents do make an effort to understand though, but such loud display of affection of something so private and innate - is that even needed? It seriously pisses my parents off that we queer people are painting the world rainbow.
Dear Why Man,
I understand where your parents are coming from. But I guess you need to understand too where queer activism is coming from. We have been working really hard for many years.
Invisibility is a shame. Visibility fosters familarity. And while over familiarity could breed contempt in some cases, in most cases it also makes it possible for people to believe in a parallel world where all kinds of love is celebrated. Discovery of sexuality or gender could be traumatic if you know no one else who is queer. I know of several queer individuals who believed that there is no one like them. I wish no one has to experience the feeling of being so lonely. That’s where visibility helps.
Regarding your parents, I guess with time they will realise that this is more of a reinforcement that we exist and we cannot be ignored, and is not merely a celebration of colours. If your parents would like to meet other parents, please visit www.fb.com/SweekarTheRainbowParents.
Hope I answered your question. Please reach out if I could be helpful anytime.
P.S. Raise a toast. Raise your rainbows.
Congratulations. You are finally free. I cannot speak for others, but I am elated. Some of my friends made a very valid point. They asked me “is this homosexuality thing the most important thing in today’s world? There are more important issues in this world and it pisses me off that everyone is only speaking about LGBTQI and their freedom to have sex. There are kids dying and children getting raped”.
Thank you for your good wishes. It is all just sinking in now. We have been oppressed for so long that even this success seems like an illusion. Of course there are other important issues.
But why does this issue have to become unimportant for other issues to become important? Why do we engage in whatabouttery? This is a serious issue, as much as other issues.
We were not just asking for the freedom to have sex, we were asking for the state to stop peeping into our bedrooms. Section 377 had far reaching consequences. There were people committing suicide because of extortion. There were and are people living in the closet and living constantly in the fear of being busted. All this is happening. How is this less important?
Visibility fosters inclusion.
Yes, there are other important issues. LGBT people also believe so. There are several LGBT people who work for important causes without making the queer cause less important than the other. Veganism, feminism, dalit rights, environmental awareness, political reforms – we are in every field. Speaking about my city, Mumbai, Gaysifamily.com a proactive LGBTIQ group, celebrated the verdict by partying for a fee and donating money to a children’s home in Chembur called Bal Anand.
We all do our bit. Some do it for one cause, some do it for another.
Though some causes are more dear to us than others, we ought to believe that every cause is important and we should be happy that someone is trying to do something good for someone in this world by standing up for something in a world where materialism is so rampant that no one has the time for standing up for anything.
Together, each of us, in our individual capacities, makes the whole world better.
P.S. The work on LGBT rights has just begun. We will be louder now.
My girlfriend and I have been in a relationship for eight years. We have been wanting to get married officially. We dream of a big fat wedding, just as heterosexual weddings. I want to be my girlfriend’s sister’s lesbian-in-law. Does this verdict mean that people can get married? Will we be arrested if we get married?
Hahah. That’s a witty way of putting it – lesbian-in-law. But come on, not every in-law is a straight in law. I mean, in a world where heterosexuality is seen as the norm and other sexualities an exception – they are only straight until they come out. :)
What the Section 377 verdict has done is very simple – they have said that the law will not interfere with the private lives of consenting adults. It doesn’t make gay marriage legal. However, the well worded judgement also leaves scope for further laws to be formed. This is only the first step of a long journey towards equality. Also, while gay marriages do not have any legal standing at the moment, it is not illegal to have a ceremony and call it “marriage”. It will just not be recognised as marriage in the eyes of the law. Legal marriage/ civil partnerships will take some time.
But let that not be a damper. Go, print your wedding cards.
P.S. Hello! Mujhe bhi invite karna.
(The text and the location has been edited to protect the identity of the people. You can send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)
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