Published on February 27, 2014
Section 377: Homosexuality Au naturel The fiasco concerning the reinstatement of section 377 is a grim reminder of how archaic Indian society is in certain aspects. I am not going to argue against the overturning of the 2009 High Court verdict. From a legal point of view, it was a perfectly logical move. However, the issue lies with the fact that, in an age when India is launching interplanetary missions, this 19th century, discriminatory law is still being brought into the limelight. It’s not like the Indian legal system has a dearth of cases. With a plethora of corrupted politicians, accused rapists and their representatives frequenting the courts for unnecessarily extended periods of time, it’s easy enough to stay busy in the maze that is
the Indian penal structure. Citizens represent a country and it is appalling to find many such individuals who are applauding this decision, ignorant of how it affects them. Even before trying to analyse the situation from the point of view of the LGBT community, it is obvious that this restricts all of our personal lives. The article criminalizes all sexual acts, which are against the ‘order of nature’. It is ironic that the largest democracy in the world, a country that was once defined by the phrase, ‘unity in diversity’, a country in which sexual freedom was celebrated and treated as art, is now so replete with derogation of fundamental rights, xenophobia and sexual repression. We naturally fear things we don’t understand. It helped our ancestors survive, maintained tribal societies and may have led to civilization as we know it. But, we have passed that stage a long time ago. We are no longer entirely constrained by the hiccups of nature. We enhance our food using hybridization, selectively breed animals to make ideal pets, build skyscrapers and reach other planets. Then why are some people so keen on continuing to pursue obsolete standards? The breach of human rights seems alarming when you realize that the people who brought up this issue are educated people, responsible for passing judgment on society. Where are we headed? A world where people’s sex lives are controlled and confined by the government? Based on what? Ignorance and double-standards? It is fairly obvious that the law and the excuses being used to defend it are nothing but pseudointellectual posturing and pretentious hogwash. After all, what is natural? One may argue that anything that exists is natural. But, there is also a definition which states that anything caused by humankind is not natural. Let’s take the second one for the purpose of this exercise. Is homosexuality natural? Yes! Homosexuality has been witnessed in hundreds of different species, devoid of human influences. In fact, there are scientific explanations for the persistence of homosexuality through natural selection, from increased fertility in females to increased reproductive success during gender imbalances. The reasons aren’t even important, given the prevalence of homosexuality in nature. Then why is homosexuality tagged as ‘unnatural’? It is the same reason why the emancipation of blacks was
considered ‘unnatural’. It is the same reason why a woman’s wish to educate herself was considered ‘unnatural’ before the Middle Ages. It is the same reason why strong-willed women in the Dark Ages were called ‘witches’ and burned for engaging in activities, which were, according to the status quo, against the order of nature. Let’s come to the more general criticism of the law. Apparently, sexual acts, which are deemed ‘unnatural’, even between consenting adults, is banned. Biologists identify at least ten types of sexual activities, from procreation sex, to pair-formation sex to exploratory sex; and this is visible in many species. By that line of reasoning, sex isn’t only about procreation. Then, why are some people concerned about which orifice other people use for coitus? Even if we baselessly assume that all forms of fornication other than simple penetration is ‘unnatural’, we must also consider the fact that the lifestyle of modern humans is almost completely ‘unnatural’. From wearing clothes to using toothbrushes, we indulge in ‘unnatural’ activities every single moment of our lives. Where do we draw a line and why? How does the use of inconsistent, fallacious arguments justify this stance? Again, we come back to the hegemony. People, who are uncomfortable about other’s ways of life, think they have the right to make everyone else follow their delusions. How can anyone accept this in a democratic country, where freedom is considered to be a constitutional right? We can have all the education and technological developments in the world, but, a nation is also judged by how its inhabitants are treated, however outnumbered they are; and we have failed miserably in this regard. The unfortunate situation is that, in a country with widespread poverty, extensive female infanticide, corruption and debilitating superstitions, people are more concerned about how people have sex. They irrationally criticize consensual sex, while a myriad of rape cases remain unreported and ignored. Why are these incompetent arbiters drawing arbitrary lines to dictate what the citizens can or cannot do even when it doesn’t affect anyone in a negative way? I look around me and, as a citizen of this country, I dread the future. The issue of the in-born nature of homosexuality has been the subject of a lot of debate. Though it has been
proved quite convincingly that sexual orientation is mostly genetic, I would like to assume the opposite for my concluding statement. Even if I choose to be a homosexual, I don’t see how that is anyone’s concern. Even if I choose to engage in ‘unnatural’ sexual acts, I don’t see how that is anyone’s concern. As long as the individuals are consenting adults, the government, or anybody else, has no right to tell them what they can or cannot do. To do so is a disgrace to the idea of a democracy and a butchering of the constitution on which this country was founded. -Tirthankar Chakraborty
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Tirthankar Chakraborty, Actor: Bye Bye Bangkok. Tirthankar Chakraborty is an actor, known for Bye Bye Bangkok (2011).
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