My posts have become so infrequent that I imagine I am the only person reading them. My laziness (busy-ness, you choose…) isinexcusable.
But folks, yesterday the Delhi High Court read down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the section used to harass, imprison, and blackmail (if usually not prosecute) the various members of India’s queer community: gays, lesbians, kothis, hijras….
The ruling was beautiful: all 105 pages of it. In conclusion:
“We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The provisions of Section 377 IPC will continue to govern non-consensual penile non-vaginal sex andpenile non-vaginal sex involving minors. By ‘adult’ we mean everyone who is 18 years of age and above. A person below 18 would be presumed not to be able to consent to a sexual act. This clarification will hold till, of course, Parliament chooses toamend the law to effectuate the recommendation of the Law Commission of India in its 172nd Report which we believe removes a great deal of confusion. Secondly, we clarify that our judgment will not result in the re-opening of criminal cases involving Section 377 IPC that have already attained finality.”
I can’t even begin to understand what this must feel like. Growing up in the US – the child of liberal hippie parents, white, middle class, a citizen – I have absolutely no idea what it feels like to be fundamentally “illegal,” to be seen as deviant, immoral…. I watched my friends scream, cry, hug, laugh, scream some more. I hugged them and screamed with them. It was beautiful to watch. To participate in. All the while knowing that I’m privileged enough to “not get it.” I can tell them how exciting this is (the lull before the backlash storm…). I can say “congratulations” and smile when they say it back. But I watch it all from outside andI feel deeply thankful to be excluded from this euphoria. Even as I crave it.