If Love Knows No Boundary, Then Laws Shouldn’t Discriminate Either
While people and the press around the world have not stopped talking about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, came and went a few days ago, 17 May to be precise– not with a bang, perhaps not so much as even with a whimper.
There’s an article in one of the leading Indian newspapers that talk about how the royal family has finally acceded to the idea that love knows no boundary. Meanwhile, a woman in Northern Ireland is brutally assaulted with a drill and left fighting for her life, in what’s being claimed as a homophobic attack.
Harry and Meghan’s wedding can be looked at as a trope that we’ve all grown up watching and reading about since we were kids—a charming prince who will sweep us off our feet and lead us from the cinders to a happily ever after. Of course, our shoes have become fashionable, some of us choose to go for pixie haircuts and the worst thing that we wake up from is a hangover.
Anyway, despite her mixed-race background, her acting career, being divorced in the past and a colourful family who come with their own set of drama, Meghan is a woman, who is keeping the heteronormative structure alive by getting married and hopefully, by bearing Harry children in the future to keep the lineage going.
Now imagine if Meghan was a man. I am hazarding a guess but love would have been locked away in the closet. And homosexuality is legal in the UK.
‘Love knows no boundary…but conditions apply’- is a problem that needs to be addressed to prevent abuse of certain members of society. According to a study, there are 72 countries in the world, where homosexuality is punishable by death. When the Indian High Court decriminalised section 377 in 2009, it was heralded as the beginning of a change that was overdue. But it took only a few years for that decision to be revoked.
Recently, two women from Uttar Pradesh were able to briefly deceive their families and get married to each other in a mass wedding ceremony. But since their relationship has no legal status, I wonder how much protection these women will get from the state if either of them is in any kind of danger. While the media talked about the wedding as it provided some amount of sensationalism and perhaps even humour, does anyone know how these women are doing now? Are they still together? Have the families come around?
The fate of section 377 now rests with the Supreme Court, as of January 2018, it declared it would ‘re-examine the ban on Section 377’. If the ban is indeed lifted, I don’t think it would lead to immediate legal rights for the LGBTQ community, but it would go a long way in alleviating the stigma and the fear we experience being on the other side of the fence. Almost 400 words, and it’s only now that I say ‘us’.
When I fill a form in the UK, I check the ‘bisexual’ box next to the ‘sexual orientation’ question. I’d be scared to do that in India.
When I fill a form in the UK, I check the ‘bisexual’ box next to the ‘sexual orientation’ question. I’d be scared to do that in India and here’s the clincher—we don’t even have a sexual orientation box on our forms. After years of activism, we finally have a ‘third gender’ option. So, I am hopeful for my country and I hope the lawmakers won’t let us down.
PS: I have always wondered that Section 377 of the Indian Penal code states that carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal is a punishable offence. Does that mean that our male lovers aching to have anal sex with us are offenders too? If love knows no boundary, then laws shouldn’t discriminate either, right?
Shyama Laxman works in London as a sales professional. She eats dal chawal and breathes Bollywood. The views expressed are author’s own.
Picture Credit: Delish.com
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