India: The Indian gay community is seeking to tell its story of marginalization, repression, stigma and discrimination to help inform the public and help lawmakers decide on repealing a law that criminalizes same-sex relations for being “unnatural.”
Members of the community have formed “The Gaysi Family” platform in an attempt to gather stories of their struggle in India.
Their latest video titled ‘Darr : A True Story’, brings together some extremely brave voices who share their fears of what it means to be a gay, lesbian or bisexual in India.
The video which in English means “Fear” puts together some prominent, as well as some not so prominent LGBT activists of India, emulating the trials of a community that most of country isn’t even comfortable talking about, according to dnaindia.com.
India has a British-era colonial Section 377 law that criminalizes consensual adult same-sex relations for being ”unnatural” and that can be punished with life imprisonment.
Besides legal censure, same-sex relations are seen as a social taboo and gay people face stigma in India, where hugging, kissing and any form of public display of affection by even straight couples is strongly frowned upon.
“This video is about the man, the woman, the transperson who is in the closets for so long that their silences are deafeningly loud. And, in many cases, it is not even their choice that they are in the closet. It is the wide spread prejudice that put them there,” says LGBT activist Harish Iyer who features in the video.
“It stems from patriarchy and our nature of ‘othering’ everyone who is different. We think the ones who are effeminate, like females, should be subjugated. We think that different is abnormal. That’s the mindset,” Iyer said explaining the persistent discrimination in Indian society.
He expressed the hope that the video “By speaking up and speaking for the ones who are invisible; by creating an ecosystem that fosters love and equality.
Indian gay rights activists are waging a legal battle to do away with the Section 377 law that the Supreme Court past December upheld, reversing the 2009 Delhi’s high court ruling that decriminalized it and gave the gay community broad protections and rights.
Currently, a new Supreme Court bench has agreed to re-examine that decision.
Indian federal Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijijuhas told parliament recently that his government says it has no plans to amend Section 377 law criminalizing same-sex relations till the issue is settled by the Supreme Court.
You may watch the video here: