Delhi Queer Pride 2015

Indian Supreme Hears Petition To Decriminalize LGBT Sex

Today the Indian Supreme Court heard a petition challenging Section 377 of the Indian penal code, an anti-sodomy law that’s been on the books since 1860. Considering arguments that sexual equality was a matter of “far-reaching constitutional importance,”  judges referred the petition to a five-judge bench for closer scrutiny. The move is being heralded as step ahead in the legal battle for LGBT rights in India.

The petition, called a “curative” petition, was the final appeal of LGBT activists and the Naz foundation, a gay rights and HIV advocacy NGO, to the Indian government in a case that’s been going on for years.

Criminalizing all forms of non-heterosexual, p-in-v penetrative intercourse — including, in case you were wondering, penis-thigh sex — Section 377 is most commonly used by the police and individuals to harass and intimidate LGBT people. Working class and impoverished queer people, queer people who experience caste discrimination, and trans people are particularly vulnerable to harassment under Section 377.

The law was struck down by the Delhi high court in 2009, and then reinstituted by the Indian Supreme Court in December 2013. An appeal in 2014 met with the same result. The Court claimed that LGBT Indians represented a “miniscule” minority, while conservative politicians and commentators insisted — and continue to insist — that homosexuality was unnatural and a result of Westernization — ignoring, of course, the long history of gender and sexual diversity on the subcontinent.

On Sunday, LGBT groups and supporters gathered in solidarity across the country to broadcast their support. Today’s judgement is a step forward.

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing her masters.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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