Illustration Credits: Anshul Gupta & Abhishek Verma
HISTORY OF LGBTQIA+ MOVEMENT- INDIA
If one traces the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement, there are certain episodes our country has witnessed that need to be highlighted.
The first known protest for LGBTQ+ rights was held on Aug. 11, 1992. An organization called AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA) organised a campaign in Delhi, and in 1994, ABVA activists filed a (PIL) in Delhi High Court challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This was the first attempt to legalize homosexuality in India.
In 1999, Kolkata witnessed India’s first ever Gay Pride Parade. The parade, with only 15 attendees, was called the Calcutta Rainbow Pride and sent the long-awaited message to the whole country i.e., being queer and being proud.
The same year, a Delhi-based organization called CALERI (Campaign for Lesbian Rights) released a manifesto titled ‘Lesbian Emergence’ which attempted to break the silence around the lives of queer women, who according to CALERI, were even more invisible than queer men.
The Naz Foundation (Trust) India and the Lawyers Collective filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2001 against Section 377, which then brought a desired & overdue but short-lived verdict on July 2, 2009, decriminalizing homosexuality.
Eight years of battle by the Naz Foundation and the Lawyers Collective were finally dismissed by the Supreme Court on Dec. 11, 2013, when the apex court in Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation, overturned the Delhi High Court verdict, citing that Section 377 was not unconstitutional.
Many Indian activists consider the post-2013 period as a vital phase in the history of the LGBTQ movement in India.
In 2015, Shashi Tharoor prepared a private bill to amend Section 377, but it was clamped down before it could be presented in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the parliament.
On Sept. 6, 2018, the Supreme Court in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India ruled that Section 377 was unconstitutional "in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex".
While the battle against Section 377 has ended but the bigger battle for equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community continues, and it is our duty, as citizens, to contribute to this cause.
ORGANISATIONS WORKING FOR THE UPLIFTMENT OF LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY IN INDIA
Please note that this list is only suggestive in nature and does not intend to discredit or ignore the tireless efforts of countless other organisations working day & night across the country for the LGBTQIA+ Community in India.
For a comprehensive list of such organisations and other similar resources, please do visit - https://lgbtqindiaresource.wordpress.com/
THE PRESENT SITUATION
The LGBTQIA+ community (“The community”) is in a precarious position in India. Despite the landmark judgement of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, which decriminalized homosexuality, the community at large continues to remain vulnerable, as the absence of good protective and enablement legislations leaves the community susceptible to discrimination, oppression and societal stigmas.
Indeed, the Government has tried to make good legislation for the Transgender community, post the NALSA v. Union of India Judgement in the form of ‘The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019’. However, the Act cannot be construed as a positive change for the advancement of the transgenders as it fails to embody the NALSA Judgement on several grounds.
Similarly, two years have passed since the Navtej Singh Johar and there is no indication of the Government’s intent to follow & embody the landmark judgement of 2018. This has had an adverse impact on the present situation of the community in India. However, various NGOs, Pride Collectives, members of the community and other supporters are standing strong in the face of this calamity and are constantly trying to fight for the rights of their community. Our Initiative also wishes to contribute to this fight through meaningful and effective research.