Today is a sunny day and I know why it’s because the Supreme Court restored some of my lost faith in India today. I want to go out on a limb and say that all of humanity hasn’t yet been lost. I don’t know whether I’ll wake up tomorrow and have to retract that declaration but for now, I’ll let it be. Homosexuality is no more a crime in India, and if that’s not something to celebrate I don’t know what is.
I grew up in the midst of a society that considered ‘gay’ a bad word. As a kid who used to go through the dictionary for fun which said the meaning of ‘gay’ was ‘happy’ I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. But I heard kids teasing each other using the word as an insult, it didn’t make any sense to me. I have never had to fight to be allowed to love and fight to have my love acknowledged by society as ‘normal’. I have never had to justify it and hide it. I can only imagine how claustrophobic it would have been for those who had to because of the law.
When countries around the world eventually started legalising it, Indian politicians were still unable to comprehend the concept. It took them long enough, I honestly don’t know why society is so afraid of love, we’re afraid to fall in love, we’re afraid to admit it, talk about it and we give up on it just as easily. None of us who’ve stood on the sidelines can take credit for this victory. I know I can’t. I didn’t fight that battle because I didn’t know how to. If my contribution was anything, it was to try and fight for it in everyday conversations and support it without being afraid or hesitant to do so.
I am just happy that those who want to love don’t have to be afraid of the law now. It’s one less battle love must fight. I wouldn’t say that they are protected from society. We’re still trying to convince parents and families that loving outside your community is not a sin. Society still has a long way to go, but now with the court on love’s side, it gives the confidence to the people who are afraid.
I take it as a good sign for the future, now I only want to see the reactions. I want to see how those who opposed it either keep mum or burst from anger. As much as I hate the debates on news channels, I want to see politicians hesitate to take sides, I want to watch them fumble and get caught in their own web of regressive opinions and try and find the right words. I want to see them flip sides like pancakes and acknowledge the decision by the Supreme Court.
I want to see how those who always write the longest posts on protecting ‘Indian culture’ and on ‘nationalism’ on Facebook suddenly disappear from my timeline with nothing to say on this matter. I am curious to see some dinner-time conversations between relatives on whether or not it should have been legalised, they had the backing of the law previously to be conservative now they won’t even have the excuse of it being illegal to defend their biases. It brings a smile to my face to imagine their expressions.
When I was a teenager and was struggling with my own sexual identity I hesitated to even ask myself whether I could be gay, it didn’t even seem like an option. When I aired the question to my mother, she said she knew her daughter and that she knew I wasn’t. It turned out later that I wasn’t once I was sure. I wonder if classmates didn’t treat ‘gay’ as an insult, if it was legal and if my mother said it was up to me to decide and that it was a possibility would it have changed something? I don’t know, now I feel like it wouldn’t have but maybe for some teenager out there struggling with admitting it to themselves this bit of news that it’s legal will make a huge difference to them, to a kid who knows they’re gay and can’t admit it? I wouldn’t know, but I hope it helps.
I think we talk about love like it’s easy, we’re told when we’re toddlers that we’ll one day grow up and fall in love. We hope we find our Romeo or Juliet forgetting that in the end, they both died. We watch movies hoping we find a guy or girl like that, we hope we have a love story to tell one day forgetting that they all had to struggle, gain acceptance, run for their lives, and convince the world once they convinced themselves. The abolition of Sec 377 might be a small victory for love but it’s a huge victory for lovers.