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A Bad Day for Law and Love: writing 11-12-13

377

“It’s a great day for prejudice and inhumanity, and a bad day for law and love”, said celebrated writer Vikram Seth of the Supreme Court 377 judgement, pronounced on Dec 11, 2013.  The SC judgement set aside the Delhi High Court’s 2009 Naz Foundation ruling, and effectively recriminalized LGBT people and those heterosexuals whose physical expression of love was deemed to be ‘against the order of nature’. It was a travesty of justice and a blow to the constitutional rights that the highest court in the land is supposed to uphold. The SC verdict has provoked sharp criticism and worldwide protests.

What did you, as a lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning person, or heterosexual ally, parent, sibling, or friend, feel when you got news of this verdict? Send us a few or many lines, prose or poetry, on what that day and the succeeding ones were like for you and/or someone you know and love.

You may post as responses on this thread. You will still retain copyright and the freedom to publish on other blogs or print/online media, though we’d appreciate a reference to Orinam or a trackback to this link.

To get an idea of the kinds of responses we look forward to, check out the thread titled “Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales for the Queer Desi

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  1. 1. Twenty four hours as criminal and counting…

    It has been twenty four hours since the 2009 landmark Delhi High Court verdict on IPC Section 377 was overturned by the Supreme Court of India. The SC verdict turned me and millions of Indians into criminals, again.

    I am yet to come to terms with what had happened. I believe, I am not alone in this. It has been a roller coaster for the past twenty four hours. From shock to anger, agony to despair.

    I hear the same story everywhere – from friends, acquaintances and strangers. People in the office rushing to the restroom to weep, holing themselves up in their cabins, isolating themselves from meetings to prevent others see them break down, and so on. All these are grown up people with a strong will to fight.

    The impromptu meeting with a few of my friends from Orinam yesterday was intensely emotional. We could read each other’s minds. Most had to hold back our tears, to be strong for each other, to console each other. What was left unsaid needed no words. The gloom enveloped us, crept through our beings, in silence. We put on our bravest faces and started to discuss our future plans.

    As queer people. As citizens claiming our basic rights.

    The conversation must go on.

    We have to cry and console ourselves at the same time. We must carry on with our lives and carry on with our fight.

    We do not have the luxury to curl up on our bed and grieve.


    Written on Dec 12, cross-posted from the 377 blog

  2. 2. On Dec 11, 2013

    unidentifiable at work
    until the news trickles in
    and tears gush forth
    breaking down
    closet doors and walls

  3. 3. 11/12/13

    I was expecting it to be the perfect day to mark the progress of queer rights movement in India. As I was rushing back from class to check Orinam’s live ticker feed, my friend pinged, ‘Back to being criminals again’. It took some time for me to comprehend the gravity of SC’s decision. To be honest, I was more worried about consequences in my life than on the queer community at large. I have to be closeted at my workplace, brace up to face discrimination from neighbors and worse, be prepared to face life imprisonment. With the courts leaving it for the Parliament to decide, hope started to ebb. It did seem like the queer community had no allies.

    What followed was a series of furious posts on Facebook and an exhaustive outpour of emotions. It was so overwhelming that I had to de-activate my account for fear of acquiring a compulsive disorder to address every homophobic comment there is/was/will be. I guess it is now time for all members of LGBT community to yell, swell and heal.

    My friends and I were expecting the court to uphold citizens’ right to life, privacy and health. Well, probably the court felt that there wasn’t any space for India in a progressive world. This is evident not just from the case against 377 but also from the series of other events that have happened in the country; pointing to us that our near future wouldn’t be that of acceptance and love but of hatred and name-calling. When politicians and religious leaders interpret/instruct us on disjoint closets such as culture, history, tradition, morality, sin and crime etc., some of us are bound to hide in them indefinitely.

    At a moment when I felt dejected and hopeless, I sensed that the change wouldn’t take long to come. My hope finds its roots in the conservative majority that voiced out its opinion that they would never give room for queer politics. This yelp follows the support from the political left to create a more inclusive, acceptable society. This has confirmed that LGBT movement in India is not restricted to just courts and streets anymore. As of today, we have two groups; one supporting the cause of LGBT citizens and the other carefully choosing patriarchal references from history to deny space for any non-heterosexual expression of love. This issue has finally found a place in one of the greatest symbols of democracy; the parliament. It is just a matter of time for us to reclaim our rights; not just in terms of decriminalization but of civil rights and more.

    I rejoice believing that the day isn’t far. I feel grateful for the swelling support in favor of LGBT. I am happy that 377 was upheld for it broke both the silence and heteronormativity of India. I might die without any rights or even get culled for asking for them, but I will rest in peace asI know they will be restored someday.

  4. 4. A Hopeful Criminal

    The Nazis during their reign used several symbols to identify their “enemies”, in order to ease their extermination; amongst them were – a pink triangle for homosexuals, a green triangle for criminals and a red triangle for political prisoners.

    I woke up on the morning of the 11th to the pain of being branded with these triangles on my bare body: I am the homosexual; I am the criminal; I am an indian.

    I now stand at a point in time where I can truly understand the sentiments of Tilak when he said, “Swaraj (Freedom) is my birthright and I shall have it”. It serves to remind me, that freedom to be who I am is a HUMAN right. It is NOT a right that is granted to me by virtue of my citizenship to a country. It is a right that I inherit from the evolution of the conscience of men and women of my species. I inherit it simply on the grounds that I am human, before all things.

    Why then should I mourn this judgment?

    Because I live within a society where what is “right” and “wrong” is decided by its courts of law. Hence an appropriation and acknowledgement of my rights as a human, facilitates the attainment of ‘full personhood’ and nurtures the spirit of life. But on this day as the masks fall to reveal the sham and shameful minds of the lords and ladies in power, a sense of fear, alienation, betrayal and anger brims over.

    Maybe a time will come when I’m old and frail, when a movie will be made to tell the stories of the survivors of this holocaust of morals, dignity and identity. A filmmaker will then try to convey my struggles to a generation that will not understand. A nation will then stand half-heartedly with its head down in shame, at the tombstones of the love that it made its gay sons bury.

    But my sincere hope is that the personal and communal adversities that the judgment inflicts upon us, will serve to unite us more that ever before.

    The cries of the suffering mind are too inhuman to bear, without doing something about it. The world is turning too bad to stand high up in our ivory towers and pretend that we don’t care. It’s time to step down and do something about the governments that trod their citizens in the sludge of their bitter-twisted lies.

    Although the wounds of my prosecution and disenfranchisement now begin to bleed, my spirit remains unhindered. No court can confer my rights, it is a merely a medium that can confirm them; that they have failed to do so is simply a reflection of the infirmity of the lordships.
    We are a community that has always known that this fight will take time to be won; we stand together and we will walk the streets together. We are a community of men and women that cried in our youth when we learnt of the hatred that society spewed at us, and we survived. This is not a story of loss or death, but one of birth, of a revolution. Hope, resilience and fortitude will continue to survive as they always have.

    On looking skywards

    In this moment everything around me blurs
    I find that my hands and legs are tinted –
    In a strangeness that I’ve never seen before.
    A wave of freedom hugs the shores of my fears

    I look up to see that I stand in Rainbow shadows
    Forever will I be drunk in its possibility.
    I shall forever thrive on the memory of this glimpse
    And know that in this moment: i AM, I am, I AM – ALIVE.

  5. Love, today.
    His pride is hurt.
    She is angered.
    T is anxious.
    It is fearful.
    Love wishes to flee.
    Love wishes to stop being love.

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