The biggest news in the LGBT sphere so far this year has been the Indian Supreme Court partially striking down Section 377 on the 6th of September. This ruling essentially decriminalises gay sex between adults.
Sarbat finds this of historic significance. One fifth of mankind has rightfully been told that consensual sex between two adults of the same gender is not a crime. Now it is up to the Indian government to implement the ruling.
We get many messages from LGBT people in India who tell us that they are afraid to be openly gay. That they are too scared to come out to their friends or families.
One of the biggest reasons for this was the fact that it was essentially illegal to be gay in India. This was too big an obstacle for many to overcome and they remained hidden. Many continue to live secret double lives and frequently marry a member of the opposite sex.
The ruling will have a major impact. It will encourage more LGBT people to come out. People holding homophobic views will no longer be able to use Section 377 as an excuse to hold such views.
It will impact the Indian community in the UK as it means the subject of being LGBT will be on the agenda and families across the country will be discussing it. This is highly significant as this subject is still very much taboo among Indian families, even in British society. This ruling will bring this debate to the forefront.
It is a huge milestone for LGBT rights. It is, however, only one step on the road to equality and acceptance. There is still a long way to go in changing the general attitudes in society.
There will be several ‘faith leaders’ sharing their views on this issue. One should remember that the universal goal of a Sikh is to have no hate or animosity to any person, regardless of factors like race, caste, colour, creed, gender or sexuality.
Equality is cornerstone to our identity.
On behalf of Sarbat.