"Gay rights" is a sensitive topic and I wanted to write on this from a long time. But I was a little confused. Frankly I didn't know whether I completely support the scrapping of Article 377 or not. I admit that I supported the scrapping of the act because I was among those so-called "Modern People" who consider supporting anything that goes against the existing system. That system could be religion, politics or sexuality for that matter. A 22 year old, well educated and awakened citizen is expected to support everything that makes the society more free and open. Otherwise you are just an orthodox fundamentalist!
However, I wasn't sure about one thing-is homosexuality a mental disorder? Is it just a "state-of-mind" and can be treated? The reasons for such confusion were the opposing articles I had read and the counter arguments of the debates I had been a part of. I still wouldn't have known the answers to these questions but an article in TOI today has helped me make my final opinion on this issue.
Santosh Desai writes in his article titled "Fear of unnatural lurks in all of us" that-"Cultural institutions seek to modify natural intent in ways that are deemed beneficial to the majority of the human race. To argue for heterosexuality on grounds of naturalness is therefore strange, for culture almost by definition seeks to control what is natural. Culture routinely uses the body in ways not intended by nature. If we were meant to wear ear-rings, we should have been born with pierced earlobes, for instance. And certainly, nature did not mean for us to wear clothes; that is an act of culture alone. All technology, in any case, works single-mindedly towards improving the natural. We do not accept that humans were meant to travel only as fast as their legs can take them simply because that is the nature of our physical equipment, so why should we argue in this case?"
I agree with this gentleman. Those who oppose homosexuality are actually scared of it. They are the ones who are scared of everything that threatens to challenge the age-old practices of the society. They are simply terrified by CHANGE. They oppose the Women Reservation Bill, they attack the girls going to the pub, they oppose Valentines Day, they order the girls not to wear jeans and any western clothes and they question reality TV shows in which the anchor asks embarrassing questions from personal lives of the contestants. They are the self proclaimed flag bearers of the Indian Culture and can create chaos in the name to save it! "They" are not restricted to a particular region, religion or political party. "They" are omnipresent and are in power. If they oppose homosexuality as unnatural then why not oppose artificial insemination, artificial sperms, contraceptives, fertility clinics, cloning etc? Are they natural?
I see a lot of benefits in identifying gays as a part of the society. It will make them come out of the closet. It will end the years of pain, anguish and embarrassment they have faced due to the orthodox laws. Our constitution owes an apology to eunuchs already for making them miserable and not recognizing them as normal citizens with equal rights. It should not do the same with the homosexuals. The legal battle of homosexuals is out in open and in full public view. This will help the eunuchs too to wage a battle for their rights. This is an area where homosexuals have advantage over other less privileged people like the eunuchs. Gays have the support of some famous personalities and some famous people are gays too! It helps in getting attention a movement needs to reach the bedrooms of the common man. In the hindsight, a very big advantage of legalizing homosexual relations would be increased number of adoptions. Hundreds of orphans in India need a place which they can call "HOME". Since gays cannot reproduce, they need to adopt. If homosexuality becomes legal then adoption by gay couples will become easier and a lot of orphan babies may get parents, of a little different kind, but I guess they would settle for it!
Gays may win the battle legally but they have a war to win ahead. That is social acceptance. Our society has not accepted disorder of any kind easily and happily, be it mental, physical or sexual. Sex is a taboo topic in most household anyways. There are people who still consider mentally challenged or handicapped people as cursed and outcastes. How many of us use the phrase "Special Children" in place of the R-word? Very few, isn't it!
It's time to make a change-a change in society and a change in our constitution.
For some of us, it's time to be "Gay and Proud of It"!