Keya Roy Ghosh, one of the signatories of the parents’ petition to Supreme Court supporting the reading down of Section 377, passed away in October 2013. Ms. Ghosh was a lawyer in Kolkata High Court, and mother of a gay son.
Says Debjyoti, her son “When I came out to my family, I started with my mother. In the beginning she was petrified about how society would react to me, for I had no intention of remaining in the closet. That is when I started seeing her in a different light with her inner strength and her ability to accept and embrace me and my fellows. She became a safe haven and surrogate mother for many of my queer friends, some of whom are still struggling in the closet.
“However, being a supportive mother was not enough for her – when the opportunity came to support the queer community at the Supreme Court of India, she participated with full gusto. By petitioning with other parents of queer children, she extended her solidarity even further. Being a lawyer herself, she knew what Section 377 (Indian Penal Code) and its reading down meant for the community at large. From being a proud mother who went around introducing her son’s partner as her son-in-law, to speaking in public on queer issues, she inspired many people and gave hope where some felt there was none”.
In a 2011 interview with Gaysfamily, Ms. Ghosh said “Our constitution has guaranteed equality to all. If it has to live up to such guarantees, our legal system had better see to it that these rights are met.” She went on to say “It is HIGH time that we let go of archaic Victorian laws, which Victoria’s own land has already let go!”
Let us hope the Supreme Court pays heed to the words of Ms. Ghosh and other supportive parents. Section 377, in criminalizing adult consensual same-sex relationships, is indeed a blot on all the Indian constitution stands for.
- Summary of the parents’ petition to Supreme Court, Orinam, Feb 7, 2011
- Full text of written submissions in Supreme Court of India by parents of LGBT children, 2009
- Indian Express profile of parents who petitioned the Supreme Court in support of the Naz Foundation judgement.Shruti Ravindran, published Feb 20, 2011
- Gaysifamily interview with Ms. Keya Ghosh, published Aug 25, 2011
- Orinam’s collection of personal stories by parents and siblings of LGBT youth
- Frequently asked questions parents have about their LGBT children, in English and Tamil