Homosexuality A Reality - contd
by Mehak Reejonia
(New Delhi, India)
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The last century witnessed major changes in the conception of homosexuality. Since 1974, homosexuality ceased to be considered an abnormal behavior and was removed from the classification of mental disorder. Since then homosexuality has been de-criminalized in different countries. There are various states across the globe that enacted anti-discriminatory or equal opportunity laws and policies to protect the rights of gays and lesbians. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, progress towards and bans of same-sex marriage created a topic of debate all over the world. Currently, same-sex marriages are recognized nationwide in countries like Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom. The state of Massachusetts in the United States also recognizes same-sex unions (although these marriages have no legal recognition at the federal level in the US). With this an estimated 155 million people worldwide, or approximately 2.5% of the world's total population, will live in places where same-sex marriage exists. That is civil unions and other forms of legal recognition for same-sex couples, which offer most if not all the rights accorded in a civil marriage, exist in Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Regions of Australia and additional territories in the United States offer some rights and responsibilities as civil unions. Same-sex marriage is not explicitly prohibited under Indian law and at least one couple has had their marriage recognized by the courts. In April
2014, Medha Patkar of the Aam Aadmi Party stated that her party supports the legalization of same-sex marriage. As of 2017, a draft of a Uniform Civil Code that would legalize same-sex marriage has been proposed.
Events such as Mardi Gras in Sydney, Midsumma in Melbourne, Gay and Lesbian Pride in Johannesburg, Women’s Celebration Week in Greece, and the Gay and the Lesbian Film Festival in Lisbon express the essence of being homosexual. So, world over many countries has given social and legal recognition to homosexual marriages. A number of cities and larger towns, such as Karnataka, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Patna, Lucknow, Akola, Trichi and Gulbarga, had a number of resources for gays, lesbians and transgender communities that include - help-lines, publications/newsletters, health resources, social spaces and drop-in centers.
In recent past the homosexual community of Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi also hosted the gay pride march. All the above instances show that the homosexual community in India is visible and is gradually becoming vocal in their demand and the recent decision regarding Section 377 is appreciated even though it took over 150 years to repeal it.
Invalidation and stigmatization of certain section of people have been practiced for thousands of years and the atrocities faced by homosexuals are not surprising but is still disheartening. This struggle is far from being complete as there are many minds to mend but the process has not been in a vain. As a member of the so-called civilized society, we should often remind ourselves that attaching labels to identities will in time lead to disorder and chaos. ***