Section 377 Abolishment – Another Side of Story

Section 377 Abolishment
Image – Charlie Nguyen via Flickr

The abolishment of Section 377 has brought a wave of joy in the country. Queer community and their supporters have finally taken a breath of relief after fighting against this inhumane law since ages. Whilst the happiness has spread like a wildfire, I am somehow untouched with it.

I am a part of the community affected with the IPC Section 377 since a long time. I did realize how it feels to be free when Delhi High Court took the first milestone decision many years back. However, things have changed over the years, and so did my perception towards the entire issue.

Yes, today, I feel relieved that at least in the eye of law, we are not criminal. People can’t put me behind bars and there won’t be any intrusion to my personal life. My twisted mind sees it otherwise though. Law may not consider us an alien, but there is a large section of society for whom we still are one. Moreover, while we seek acceptance from the society, there is no acceptance within the community itself.

To briefly introduce myself, I have known about my sexuality since I was 12 years old. At that age, I decided to be with one partner and spend my entire life with him. My dreams where shattered when I visited Pune for my further studies in 2006. That’s when I realized that gays, for most people, are nothing but a substitute for women.

This disgusted me thoroughly and I was shocked to how society look at us. However, it was not all bad since that section of society is someone no one should not ever bother. The second shock came when I started finding discrimination within the queer community.

Indeed! By having been in a couple of queer social platforms, I have faced some of the hard-hitting reality that no one speaks about. Foremost, looks matter in the community. I am not sure if straights often care about that, but in queer community if you’re not handsome, you’re judged. People have failed to understand that your appearance or features are something not in your control, but your character and personality certainly is.

Secondly, most of the people are looking for physical connection. Most tops (active) are typically looking forward to getting laid. Bottom (passive), in most cases, make the most of it. Then there is a terminology that goes around is ‘straight-acting’. If you’re feminine or have a smallest trait of a female, there are chances you will be rejected. If not, then most men would not like to be seen with you in public.

Whilst I was in Pune, I realised that caste and stature play a major role as well. If you’re not from a high stature, there are high chances is that you won’t be welcomed. You may attend the event or gathering, but you would have to come up with your own group, else you should be comfortable being alone.

After meeting quite a few people and being on and off the social media platforms, I was still hopeful that may be I am not meeting the right kind of people. Since I am looking for a long-term relationship and these platforms are mostly used for otherwise, I decided to enrol myself with a marriage agency.

When you opt for such services, that too in a country where people are not open about their sexuality and avoid been noticed on awkward platforms, you hope you have hit a jackpot; but no. It’s not what is seems. Another side of the reality struck me, and I have lost all hopes.

It’s been more than a year and half and my profiles have always been rejected. It’s quite sad to experience such responses from people who are looking for something substantial. The reasons were far surprising. Rejection came because I have less hair, I am fat, I ‘may’ be feminine, and surprisingly, because I am a vegetarian. It’s hard to believe, right? But yes, these were the reasons for rejections.

So, today, when judgment came, I was not so enthusiastic about it. After looking at the society and community closely for me acceptance on paper is just a tiny part of the whole picture. For me what matters is if people are ready to accept me for who I am. The way, all queer wish to be accepted. The day, people will not judge me for how I look and what I eat, that will be a milestone for me.

The judgement is a relief as we have won a battle, a tiny won. Now, legally we are free, but we are still tied up with other stereotypes, like looks, physical appearance, and status. Let’s focus on that. Let’s accept our peers for who they’re. If we can do that, we will be able to make a huge difference.

A writer, who loves to see things differently. Born and brought up in a small town in Odisha, Anubhav moved to Pune for further studies and ended up being a writer. After working for a couple of esteemed organisation, he gave up job to work as freelance and pursue his dreams. He believes that one should always follow their heart.