Monday, September 18, 2006

Homosexuality is okay

This issue is going to hog quite a bit of limelight, if it has not already. A petition challenging the anti-gay law, Section 377, will come up before the Delhi high court soon. Meanwhile, over 100 prominent personalities have signed a letter demanding repeal of the law. Read about it in The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, Daily News and Analysis, International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

NDTV yesterday had a special edition of We the People, in which this issue was discussed. There were some very forthright and frank opinions and also narration of personal experiences by gays and lesbians of being shunned by members of their family after their sexual preferences were made known.

Some of the arguments in favour of a change in the law do make sense. One, this is a personal, private issue between two consenting adults. It’s not for other people, much less for the government, to make a judgement on the right or wrong of it, as long as there’s no public nuisance resulting out of the relationship.

Two, the origins of alternative sexuality are not recent, but it has existed from time immemorial. You can’t suppress that’s already there. When one is faced with reality, it’s much better to accept than to deny, or shove under cover.

There are two counter-arguments which don’t seem to make much sense. One, is that legalisation could convert this into some sort of a pop culture among the young. I don’t think something that is innate to one's nature can be influenced in such a manner. Even if so, why not? That's what social change and evolutions is all about.

The other point is that it’s “wrong” to have such a relationship, from the moral sense. If two people are comfortable and happy with such a relationship, then how could it be “wrong”? Is it wrong to feel good?

It is very sad to see conflicts in people’s minds over this. Teenage is the time when sexuality bursts out into a person’s consciousness. It’s natural for boys and girls to have crushes on other boys and girls. Everyone sorts that out gradually. And, if someone can’t, then that’s quite unfortunate, especially in this age.

Worse the discrimination and excommunication they have to suffer after they come out in the open with it. It’s very unfair. People need to be respected for the choices they make, as long as, of course, they don’t harm other people.

This issue is a major one and it needs to be in the public domain. As Soli Sorabjee suggested as a first step homosexuality needs to decriminalised, if not legalised.

With the stroke of a pen the law can be repealed. That’s just the legality of the issue. But far more challenging than that, is getting the mindset changed. It’sn’t going to happen overnight. But discussions and debates on this topic would definitely help clear the air.

Counselling centres have a major role to play. They need to address this issue too, especially for parents who would have to confront their children’s choices.

The whole world has moved on, why not India too?


  1. Quite tricky...this might open a Pandora's box...what about live-ins, etc?

  2. Kishore,
    Legalising could be quite tricky. But not so much if it's decriminalised. ... Make live-ins too legal.

  3. Legal and illegal are all derivatives of time. What's legal today may become illegal tomorrow. Example, Slavery. I accidentally noticed a few lines in Bible (Old Testament): "Slaves, obey your masters...” In a way it recognized slavery and it wanted slaves to obey their masters. I dont know what the New Testament says. But now, slavery is illegal. So, that's how it goes. :)

    Just imagine if you have a gay sitting by your side in your office next to you. If he pats or hugs or does things like that, won't you feel like he's accosting you (of course, could be by mistake) :)?

  4. Pradeep Sir,
    I applaud your for discussing this issue here. But I do not agree with your views.

    True, homosexuality is a personal, private issue between two consenting adults. But so are so many other issues - Like euthanasia for example.

    I would like for all gay and lesbian supporters to come to San Francisco and see the gay pride parade. You will be a changed person!

    My view is just plain and simple. We dont want our kids to see or be exposed to that kind of culture. There is something extremely grotesque to see two men kissing and making love. It is a different matter altogether if it is two wimmen :)

    For me homosexuality is mental perversion. That's just one man's opinion

  5. Mahen,

    True, legalities is just one small aspect. But individual mindsets and preferences are another.


    I think we both agree on the private aspect of the relationship. That's precisely the point of contention.

    What is done in public has different implications -- not just for gays, but for hetrosexuals as well.

    The rules of the game are different; and the concern that is being expressed is about the state telling people -- for example -- whom should they be friends with, and probably go to bed with.

    Of course, personally we all have likes and dislikes. They are just that: personal individual likes and dislikes.

    But then, we are in a world of "live and let live". Or at least a well developed and evolved society is one such, right?

    So, shouldn't there be an appreciation of the different likes and dislikes of people in a society?

  6. Dude,
    Why dont we legalise group orgies,hard core pronography, teenage sex(sex btween say 10-15- after all if the teenage girl enjoys it its ok right..and many men would be so very happy )....... (edited out by blogger)........ dont be a fool !

  7. anonymous,
    I appreciate your sentiments, even though I was constrained to edit out a segment of your comment. I know it's a sensitive subject.

    Just to clarify a couple of points. There is a lot of difference between making something legal, and decriminalising it. What's on the table up discussion is "decriminalisation" and not "legalisation".

    The second point here is that we are discussing a relationship between "two consenting adults".

  8. The point should not be confined to gay/ lsbian issue. There are many things which are private to a person, it could be the choice to live with one of the same sex, to take one's life, to have an orgy etc etc. The question here should be why the state should interfere in every private matter of individuals. After all we are speaking of globalisation and liberalisation all over the world.why shouldn't we let the same thing guide us in the personal and private affairs of every individual. We need to discuss further. Friends, there is no need to get panicky when someone speaks of something which was termed dark secret till yesterday, we need to discuss every aspect that concerns our life and the people around us. Like one of our friends here has put forth what happens when a declared gay hugs u in office and u take it that he is soliciting you? well its left to you to analyse further and find more deeper meaning s to such actions. Can I ask you what would it have meant if he was not a known or declared gay and if the action ended with just the action and nothing beyond?

    love suresh

  9. Suresh,

    Thanks a lot Suresh, for understanding my point of view, and in fact, going a bit further to make it clearer. Like I said with this world shrinking, we have to adapt better to a condition of "live and let live".