Nagpur’s LGBT community hails SC’s verdict decriminalising homosexuality

    Report by: Anuja Parate, Sharvari Vaidya and Tejaswini Thote

    Edited by: Amar Ashok Jajoo

    Sep 6, 2018 18:08
    Nagpur’s LGBT community reacts to Supreme Court of India's historic decision of decriminalising homosexuality in the country.
    File Photo: Kartik Thakur/Nation Next

    Today (September 6) is a historic day in India. The Supreme Court of India, in a landmark decision today decriminalised homosexuality, which was earlier an offence under section 377. The SC’s decision of decriminalising homosexuality has brought joy to India’s LGBT community, which has been striving and fighting for years for their legal and social rights in world’s largest democracy. Against the backdrop of the historic judgement by SC, Nation Next spoke to some of the members of LGBT community in Nagpur to know how exactly they feel after the judgement…

    Anand Chandrani, 44, Founder, Sarathi Trust

    “I cannot stop crying out of happiness! It feels so amazing when a SC judge while reading the judgement says ‘I’m what I’m!’ His statement resonates with what I have felt my entire life – I’m a man and I love a man, that’s all! The LGBT community is really overwhelmed with joy today. We have strived hard for years for this judgement. I am so happy to realise that the future generation won’t have to face the problems we faced and they will be able to live their lives freely. It’ll indeed take some time to overcome the stigma in society but I think even that’ll happen for sure.”

    Vidya Kamble, 31, India’s first transgender Lok Adalat member

    “The entire LGBT community is very happy today as we finally got freedom! It is truly a historic judgment by the Supreme Court of India. SC’s verdict has made us a part of the society. People have always looked down upon us. We have even been suppressed by our families. There have been instances where LGBT community members have been threatened with slapping section 377, blackmailed and intimidated by the police. It is a great day for us and we’ll be celebrating it.”

    Nikunj Joshi, 31, CEO, Sarathi Trust

    “Today is a very happy day for me. I feel as if we have gotten independence today! We couldn’t sleep last night as we were really anxious to know about the decision, which has been taken today. This is indeed a remarkable judgment by SC. Section 377 was introduced in India more than 150 years back by the Britishers. The law was abolished long way back in Britain, but it was still enforceable in India. Section 377 has been misused by a lot of people in India to harass the LGBT community. I am really overwhelmed today as we’ve been protesting against the law since the last 13 years. Having said this, I feel, we still have a long way to go. Things like marriage, adoption, etc, among the LGBT community are still not achievable. Also, there’s a need to sensitise the general population about LGBT community rights.”

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    Imran Khan, 29, Fashion Choreographer

    “I have now gotten wings and I can fly freely! I cannot stop crying! Now, there is no need to hide things and I can be myself. I’m so happy that SC has finally decriminalised homosexuality. From now onwards, we won’t have to pretend to be someone we are not. We won’t have to be ashamed of what we are. If two consenting individuals engage in any kind of sexual activity, it is their prerogative and no one should have a say in it! Today, thanks to SC, we have gotten the basic rights, which should have been given to us long way back. I still cannot believe it and every time I think of this historic decision, I get goosebumps.”

    Subodh Kanade, 26, Designer and Stylist

    “I was in my office when I got to know about SC’s verdict. I am very happy and I’m on the top of the world right now! Finally, after a lot of struggle by the LGBT community, we have got what should have been given to us long way back. Fortunately, my family has always been supportive towards my orientation.  My parents did not change me; instead, they changed themselves for me. I think, today’s decision, will encourage parents to accept their kids the way they are.”

    Kunal Maind, 30

    “I am really happy with SC’s verdict. This decision should have been made long way back but better later than never! I think because of this landmark judgement, a lot of closeted members of the community will now be able to embrace their individuality without any fear. But I feel, that a lot more needs to be done. There’s still a stigma in the society pertaining to LGBT community. That stigma needs to be dealt with.”