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Why India’s Stonewall may be just around the corner

Why India’s Stonewall may be just around the corner

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil

In my opinion, India has still not yet reached the stage of the Stonewall riots in the US.

In fact, we haven’t faced any significant violence in our fight for LGBTI rights. But, we will ultimately face it.

There is homophobia everywhere in India. That didn’t change just because the Supreme Court ruled to decriminalize gay sex.

What happens legally and what happens socially are two different things.

Society hasn’t yet come to terms with the reality of decriminalization. They have still not digested the news.

There will, I fear, definitely be a time when we, the LGBTI community, face protests and violence against us.

Great strides

India has made great progress in the last few years with regards to LGBTI rights.

Particularly, we have been leading the way on transgender rights. In 2014, the Supreme Court granted trans people their rights.

Now, we have a bill in Parliament to guarantee their rights. There may be some holes, but at least it is happening.

We also passed a HIV and Aids law.

In fact, much more has happened, in terms of laws and judgments, during India’s current, conservative government than during the previous, liberal one.

But, now it is up to Indian society as to whether we implement these into real change.

India’s Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is feeling optimistic about LGBTI equality. (Photo: Supplied)
India’s Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is feeling optimistic about LGBTI equality. (Photo: Supplied)

Planners, not implementers

People often say that Indians are very good planners but very bad implementers. I am concerned how society will digest these laws and whether they can accept what the court has ruled.

There is a saying in India that ‘laws are made to be broken’. There is often no checks on whether new laws or rulings are fully implemented.

Despite recent gains in the courts and in parliament, stigma and discrimination will continue.

That’s why, I believe, there will need to be a Stonewall-like social uprising in our country.

Stonewall—the bashing, the police, the fighting, the deaths, the injuries—that stage hasn’t come for India yet.

Unfortunately, someone had to die, someone had to be injured, for LGBTI Americans to get their freedom.


Quiet before the storm

Right now things are quiet for LGBTI people in India. But anything could happen. A lot of things happen in India because of political instigation.

That’s why I don’t push for marriage equality or adoption rights in India. It is too early for us.

India’s decriminalization was the end of a big law. It was full and final and totally irreversible.

But most people have not yet come to terms with it. There are growing concerns in India that we are becoming too ‘Westernized’. That we are swinging too far towards western values and forgetting

Someone, somewhere down the line, society is bound to feel hurt over this.

During that backlash, India may well have its own Stonewall.

Stonewall 50 Voices

Gay Star News will be marking this 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Riots. Our Stonewall 50 Voices series will bring you 50 guest writers from all around the world. They will focus on the diversity of our global LGBTI community. They will be discussing the past, present and future of our struggle for love and liberation.