A day has gone by since I wrote about the 377 decision of the Delhi High Court, and a lot of things are beginning to crystallize. First of all, the terms of the decision are clearer, to me at least. The court has NOT thrown out 377, merely read it down to exclude criminal tag for CONSENSUAL sexual activity between adults of all kinds….gay, straight, whatever. So people who fear that scrapping 377 will leave no protection (protection! That’s a good joke!) for men, women, or children who are forced into sex, abused, or molested, can breathe easy. Rape and molestation are still criminal acts.
What the court has done, is merely to point out the unconstitutionality of criminalizing any PRIVATE SEXUAL ACTIVITY between consenting adults, and to recommend that the law be amended to exclude this, while maintaining the criminal status of violence and molestation and rape. This is a very very small step really, and a huge lot depends on whether the UPA government will have the guts to follow the directive (which I doubt) and whether the law will finally be amended (which still needs a parliamentary act). There is still some confusion as to whether the ruling applies pan-India, or only in Delhi, although most experts are leaning towards the pan-India interpretation.
And, as I predicted in my last blog post, the backlash has started….and HOW!!!! This one decision has managed to do what has NEVER BEFORE happened in the entire history of India! It has united the conservative, fanatical elements of every single religious community into a unanimous uproar! Bigoted, uninformed, and narrow minded citizens are making statements such as “how do I explain to my kid what gay means” (the same way you avoid explaining what sex means, you dolt!) and “what if this makes my kid turn gay?” (Does open practice of Islam make all Hindu and Christian and Sikh kids turn Muslim? Or the open presence of women make all your sons go for a sex change? What nonsense!!!) A truly straight person could not TURN gay if they tried! As a gay person cannot TURN straight!
The media too is showing the full range. From “trying to be neutral and politically correct but failing” attempts at analysis and reportage (“kya adhunikta zyada nahi ho rahi?” “par humein to isis samaaj me rehena hai” being some examples) to out and out tasteless and disgusting (a male RJ “humorously” quipping “mujhe to meri izzat khatre me lag rahi hai” as is all gay men do is rape straight men). Much worse will happen in the near and the far future, and I am waiting to see how it goes. I have no faith in the UPA government where upholding civil rights is concerned (as I think is obvious from my posts) so I expect some major events in the next few weeks or months.
We will see what we shall see.