mid day editorial: Fight for LGBT rights is far from over

By mid day online desk | Mumbai

Published: Sep 08, 2018, 07:00 IST

Yet, the decriminalisation of gay sex should not just be limited to a legal impact on the queer community

So much has been written about the Section 377 verdict, and the celebrations and ramifications, that there may be little left to dissect. Yet, the decriminalisation of gay sex should not just be limited to a legal impact on the queer community.

The ramifications of this judgment need to be felt in everyday life, too. While the legal judgment impacts sexual behaviour, it is societal attitudes that must march in sync with the verdict.

The community faces daily battles, systemic discrimination and isolation. These need to start disappearing, so words like historic, progressive, celebratory, equality acquire real meaning on the ground. Down with the slurs, and the casual discrimination. The off-hand remark, the deliberate gut punch, are best left behind in the Dark Ages.

Let real change begin within families. In India, it is not just the nuclear set-up, but the extended family, too, which is important. Families with LGBT members need to change if they are not accepting, or even if the acceptance is extremely grudging. This means change at the grassroots level. Other institutions will follow once this first step is accomplished, with more inclusivity in school, college and then at the workplace and, of course, social spaces.

While milestones like the one we had by the Supreme Court are important, they are just one of the markers that are part of the LGBT movement. There is little doubt that this judgment will be a launch pad for legal battles for other rights. Most experts are certain that the floodgates have opened; we want the floodgates of equality to open on all other fronts, too.

Like the wise say, life's most meaningful lessons are learnt outside the classroom. In the same vein, the gay community's most powerful and vital battles lie outside the courtroom too, and these are the fights that remain to be won.

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