World unites against India’s gay sex ban

Protesters view the return of Section 377 as a setback for LGBTI equality in India

World unites against India’s gay sex ban
16 December 2013

Gay activists and their allies, from Mumbai to New York, united for a global protest against India’s Supreme Court ruling that brought back a law banning gay sex.

‘This Judgment is not about any one community in any one country but about the hegemonic structures that oppress many across the world,’ according to the official Day of Rage Facebook page.

People in 40 cities expressed disapproval of the 11 December ruling that returned Section 377, a colonial era anti-sodomy law.

‘We wonder why the court felt it was outside its jurisdiction to interpret a colonial-era law within the purview of the Constitution that was written post-Independence,’ organizers of the Mumbai rally wrote on Facebook.

‘If we keep quiet then for sure nothing is going to change so we have to speak up,’ filmmaker Nandita Das said at the Mumbai rally, as reported by NDTV.

‘When people come in such large numbers and mark their protests, it definitely means that people are disturbed by this kind of a verdict,’ Das continued.

Multiple people on Twitter gave social media nods to Das’ sentiment.

‘It’s not just about a collective voice against Section 377,’ Kashish tweeted on 377 GlobalDayofRage. It’s also about showing the "minuscule" is a majority!’

‘When marginalized communities get together, we become a mainstream. The real Indian mainstream,’ Genderlog India tweeted on 377 GlobalDayofRage’s timeline.

Late last week Goolam E Vahanvati, India’s attorney general, wrote an opinion piece for the Times of India describing the background of the case. He pointed to the court’s history of striking ‘outmoded laws down.’

‘Unfortunately, they declined to give a similar treatment to Section 377. Therein lies the tragedy,’ Vahanvati wrote.

With the Supreme Court’s decision, it now falls on the Indian Parliament to act. Home Affairs Minister Sushilkumar Shinde suggested the government may take the case back to the courts instead of voting to legalize gay sex.

This tactic might not prove to be enough.

‘The Indian government has an obligation to protect its LGBT citizens from discrimination in the wake of the Supreme Court’s disgraceful ruling upholding the constitutionality of the colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex relations,’ Pauline Park, chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and executive director of Queens Pride House, said in an email to GSN.

‘Whether that comes through litigation or legislation, the government must act expeditiously to overturn this archaic and bigoted relic of the colonial era and put an end to institutionalized homophobia and transgenderphobia in India,’ Park continued.

Section 377

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