Last week, the Supreme Court of India re-criminalized homosexual sex under a Colonial-era law known as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The decision sparked outrage around both India and the world. To learn more about the impact of the ruling, we’ve compiled the following primer on the best opinion pieces, news stories, and photos that have been published since Wednesday’s ruling.
Analysis of the Court’s Ruling & Section 377
- Chanakya Sethi, a Yale Law grad student and former law clerk for Justice Dalveer Bhandari of the Supreme Court of India, explores how last week’s ruling in Suresh Kumar Kaushal & Another v. Naz Foundation & Others compares to the historical legacy of Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court’s path-breaking decision striking down state anti-sodomy laws. [Slate]
- In “The Dubious Arguments for India’s Gay Sex Ban” Shivam Vij discusses the court case itself, and the arguments of the prosecution and the defense, to uncover what could have led to such a shocking decision. [The New Yorker]
- Activist Siddharth Narrain breaks down various unsteady pieces of the Supreme Court judgment in detail in “We Dissent”. [Kafila]
- It just so happens that India’s Law Commission recommended scrapping Section 377 back in March 2000… and no one listened, obviously. [Times of India]
- To help matters along, it turns out that the National Crime Records Bureau has not kept any records of offences, arrests, or prosecutions under Section 377. [Times of India]
Reactions Around the World
- South Asian LGBTQ organizations in the US released a strong joint statement in solidarity against the ruling. [KhushDC]
- Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi released a statement urging Parliament to take action “soon.” Yay? [First Post]
- India’s up and coming Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was also quick to voice its disappointment with the decision. [Hindustan Times]
- Just in case we had any doubts about where they stood, after a few long days of silence from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), President Rajnath Singh said his party “unambiguously” endorsed the re-criminalization of gay sex. [First Post]
- Some Indian brands as well as Bollywood celebrities, voiced their support for the LGBT community/opposition to the decision. [Filmfare, Gaylaxy]
- The United Nations called the ruling a human rights violation. [UNAIDS]
- Don’t worry guys, yoga guru Baba Ramdev to the rescue! Not only can he heal us of homosexuality, but he has also pledged to lead protests if the law is amended. Phew. [DNA India]
- ….And for every Baba Ramdev, there are hundreds to speak out against him. Journalist Indrajit Hazra writes a light, humorous piece in response to Ramdev’s statements, whose title “Sick and Unnatural” is a direct dig at supporters of Section 377. [Hindustan Times]
- Amul, the largest food brand in India and known for its relevant social commentary cartoons, released the following image after the ruling:
- In a press conference mere hours after the decision was announced, activist Gautam Bhan gave a touching speech about not being afraid to stand up against the highest court and politicians in the country. [Got Stared]
- Mihir Sharma discusses the futility of seeking spiritual backing for acceptability of homosexuality. [Business Standard]
- A unique perspective on the effect of recriminalization on workplace environments for queer people. [First Post]
- In this brief radio interview, out author Sandip Roy speaks about reactions from the community-at-large, the lack of enforcement of 377, how this ruling may affect upcoming elections, as well as why the Supreme Court may have waited 21 months since the end of the court case to announce their verdict. [NPR]
Global Day of Rage: Multi-city Protests
With people in India and around the world angry about the the judgment, it inspired the “Global Day of Rage” on December 15 with over 38 cities participating to demonstrate, protest, rally, conduct candle light vigils, and more, to show solidarity against the decision as well as create a plan of action to get rid of Section 377 for good. Delhi, Mumbai, and NYC had hundreds of people in attendance.
New York City’s rally drew hundreds of South Asians and supporters. Speakers included Radhika Balakrishnan from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Journalist Aseem Chabbra, Sonia Cheruvellil from The South Asian Solidarity Initiative, Aseem Kulkarni and Tara Gonsalves from SALGA-NYC (South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association), and Irma Bajar from Gabriela USA. The event also saw performances by activist rapper Invincible Detroit and the South Asian queer spoken word duo Darkmatter. The large group of supporters shouted various chants such as, “Hey hey, ho ho, 377 Has got to go!” and “377 Murdabad, Queer Freedom Zindabad! (translation: ‘Down with 377, Long Live Queer Freedom!’)” The rally ended in a moving candlelight vigil with the group singing “We Shall Overcome” in both Hindi and English. [NYC Global Day of Rage Press Release]
BuzzFeed also compiled a list of 95 incredibly touching photos from the many rallies that took place on Sunday.
(Photos/Sabelo Narasimhan, Naryam Mikaniki)
Priya Arora is a graduate student at New York University, studying Human Development and Social Intervention with a research focus on mental health in LGBTQ youths. Born and raised in California, Priya has found a home in New York, and hopes to go on to become a mental health counselor. Follow her on Twitter at @thepriyaarora.