Bigger hearts; Positive step

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  • Published 12.09.18
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Bigger hearts

• Sir - It is disheartening to see the amount of money people are willing to splurge during festivals at a time when thousands of people are struggling with material losses owing to natural calamities that struck Kerala and Nagaland. While many people donate to the poor on festive occasions, this is often done with an ulterior motive: politicians often seek to gain popularity through charitable acts. This year, Durga Puja committees should donate a part of their funds to flood victims around the country. This will send out a humanitarian message.

Sarbani Banerjee,
Calcutta

Positive step

• Sir - Homosexuality has, for a long time, been censured on religious, moral and legal grounds. It was seen as something "unnatural", and homosexuals were considered mentally ill. Many eminent personalities in India still think this way. The politician, Subramanian Swamy, for instance, had said that homosexuals are "genetically handicapped", who need to be treated at hospitals.

However, the Supreme Court has finally decriminalized homosexuality; this is a milestone in the nation's progress. This is just the beginning of the battle for equal rights and opportunities for the LGBTQI community. Homosexuality might have been legalized, but society still views it as something that needs to be 'cured'. In order to truly develop as a nation, the Indian people have to broaden their mindset and learn to accept individuals as they are, and not force them to meet standards set by society.

Akshaya Pavanje,
Bangalore

• Sir - After a long fight against majoritarian taboos and norms, homosexuality has been decriminalized in India. The heteronormative discourse often obscures the fact that homosexuals are also human beings. It is this invisibility and the violence that is perpetrated on homosexual people with impunity as a result of it, that must now be brought into the limelight.

Such oppression takes various forms - physical as well as psychological. In terms of physicality, sexual minorities are often refused basic services, like treatment in hospitals. Then, transgender people do not have separate wards or beds reserved for them. Their access to healthcare needs to be ensured because they are at a high risk of succumbing to certain ailments. They could also be prone to developing psychological issues along with having diminished self-esteem and suicidal tendencies, owing to the social exclusion, discrimination and atrocities that they are subjected to.

In spite of these challenges, there is a growing acceptance of the LGBTQI community in India. The decriminalization of homosexuality is a major step in this regard. However, there is a need for impactful policies and practices that can effectively combat the inequalities and disadvantages that this community faces. This apex court verdict is just a start.

Ashna Mahanti,
Bangalore

• Sir - The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court that declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as partially unconstitutional must be lauded. One wonders why people lose their sleep over consenting adults, irrespective of their gender, engaging in sexual activities.

Same-sex relationships exist everywhere, but are kept under wraps as people are apprehensive about social stigma and abuse by the police. So far, they have been forced to live a life of harassment, exploitation and humiliation. One hopes that the ruling will help change the mindset of the orthodox Indian society so that persons from the LGBTQI community get the respect and acceptance due to them.

Hemant Kumar,
Ambala City, Haryana

• Sir - The 377 verdict of the apex court is heartening. Since it was delivered, there has been a flurry of posts on social media carrying more or less the same message: 'love is love'. But one must understand that the verdict pertains to a basic human right, that of choosing one's partner. It has little to do with love or the absence of it. The judgment should be celebrated for its impact on the rights of people rather than glorifying romantic notions.

Malvika Basu,
Calcutta

• Sir - The judgement of the Supreme Court made it clear that decriminalizing homosexuality is simply a matter of basic human rights. It was thus political agenda that delayed justice. The court must now address the matter of the right of the LGBTQI people to marry and have or adopt children.

A.S. Mehta,
Calcutta

• Sir - Some of the reactions after the apex court verdict on Section 377 show that individuals who were apparently not opposed to homosexuals, too, have a latent streak of homophobia. Equality is still a distant dream.

Pramit Deb,
Calcutta

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