Photo: Jesse Rapczak / Flickr
Photo: Jesse Rapczak / Flickr

The 25-year-long battle against India’s anti-queer law

Many of us scattered across the globe know what it feels like when a long, quarter-century battle reaches a resolution. On 6 September 2018, the constitutional bench of India's Supreme Court partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalised "carnal intercourse against the order of nature", declaring "the decision in Kaushal today stands overruled." This is what keeps many of us veterans of long struggles going – small victories along the side as we tread the path toward living a life with the motto, "None of us are free till all of us are free."

Though decriminalisation of certain sexual acts is one necessary but far from sufficient step towards rights for queer people, it is a big victory. It signals the possibility of many more rights that can be demanded, including living without violence and discrimination, and with respect and dignity. Along with guaranteeing these rights to specific sections of society, it is also a huge step towards assurance in the solidity of the Constitution that India adopted in 1949, towards a belief that the Constitution is a dynamic document which has to be interpreted with the changing times, and a clear indication that the court's duty is to protect the rights of minorities, however minuscule they may be.

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