From the Viewsroom

The law has changed, so must hearts

Preeti Mehra | Updated on September 16, 2018 Published on September 16, 2018

Section 377 is history, but LGBTQs are up against social prejudice

With the scrapping of Section 377 by the Supreme Court last week, same gender relationships have at last been decriminalised. This is after a long struggle by the LGBTQ community. And while there is a sigh of relief and celebration in the air, there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done before each and every gay person receives the acceptance he or she deserves.

Going forward, what is needed most is hard core advocacy that will change mindsets across the spectrum. First and foremost, the country’s police force needs to be sensitised, which in itself is a massive task. Till the other day members of the community were treated with suspicion, picked up without reason and subjected to humiliation and ridicule. This attitude may not change swiftly, but it is crucial that it does to pave the way for equality in other spheres.

Apart from being ostracised, today the LGBTQs face deep discrimination when they look for housing or apply for jobs. But for a few creative professions, the community is frowned upon and not welcomed. It is only when their sexual orientation does not come in the way of societal acceptance that they can be truly integrated with the mainstream.

Any landmark judgement which abolishes a well-entrenched and archaic law must be treated as work in progress. This has been the experience of western countries which have legalised homosexuality much before us. It is now for the various arms of governments as well as society at large to step in and follow up on the historic Supreme Court judgement. This is easier said than done. But let us not lose the opportunity to right the wrongs.

As celebrated musician Sir Elton John noted: “Changes in law don’t necessarily equate to changes of heart. While this is a momentous shift for the world’s second most populous country, it doesn’t mean that people’s minds or lives will be altered overnight.” Yes, much needs to be done but a beginning has been made.

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Published on September 16, 2018
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