By Melissa Fernandes
Do you turn your back to people who are gay/lesbian or are appalled by their sexual orientation? Does sexual orientation to a similar sex form a criterion for you to pick and choose friends? Do you laugh at couples of the same-sex and make it a running joke among your friends? Or Are you comfortable with the thought that every person has a right to choose their life partner, may it be of the same-sex? Our reactions to gay/lesbian couples may have changed over time but this took a couple of years, 8 years to be precise, before the Delhi High Court could give its judgement. In a historic judgement, on July 2, 2009 the law that criminalizes adult homosexual relations was annulled by the Delhi High Court. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which treats homosexuality as a punishable offence was struck down by this judgement. This brought smiles to the faces that were struggling for rights to choose their life partner. Homosexuality was not just considered illegal but also known to be against nature as gays/lesbians were looked down upon and were not accepted by the society. There was also a time when they were blackmailed, harassed and discriminated but this law gave them the support of the court and hence they can live freely as their rights are now recognized. The government has put in special efforts to recognize their existence by categorizing them in the census 2011 list. Apart from male and female, there will also be space for the third gender. Although, some eunuchs are not happy as the third option says ‘others’ which according to them is a vague term and does not convey the individuality of a person but implies that they are unwanted. They have already faced the worst in their lives and its time we give them back their rights and let them live peacefully. Even now, they are laughed at or mocked due to their sexual preference. Our perspectives on them should be broadened as these sexual minorities are as normal as ‘you’ and ‘me’. It’s the societal understanding and outlook that has to be changed as they define relationships to be productive and hence don’t accept gays/lesbians although some have. The annulment of Section 377 must’ve protected gay/lesbian rights legally but it is time we change our perspective and let them live equally in this society as we are no one to decide what is normal or against nature.