#QueerQuestions: How homophobic or transphobic are we? [Watch Video]
We ran a social experiment within the office to ask behavioural questions to our colleagues in order to gauge how homophobic or transphobic are we.
Homosexuality is considered a taboo in the largely conservative Indian society that we all are a part of. In a society where homosexuality is considered to be against Indian culture, against nature and against science, homophobia and transphobia are a binary product that we cannot negate. Gender diversity is a naturally occurring phenomenon but is often frowned upon by those who think only a binary code has been fed into the world and can actually ensure the so-called “normal” functionality of the universe. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are all products of the general intolerance towards gender diversity. It also furthers the idea that people who fit gender stereotypes are somehow better than those who don’t.
InUth.com ran a social experiment within the contours of our office to ask behavioural questions to our colleagues in order to gauge how homophobic or transphobic are we.
The Delhi High Court had in July 2009 decriminalised consensual homosexual acts in private by declaring them as unconstitutional in a part of Section 377 of IPC that criminalises unnatural sex, saying “the section denies a gay person a right to full personhood…” But the Supreme Court of India chose to reverse the verdict in December 2013. In its landmark April 2014 verdict, the Supreme Court directed the government to declare transgenders a ‘third gender’ and include them in the OBC quota. Highlighting the need to bring them into the mainstream from the fringes it said that the transgender community should have all rights under the law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance. Legal experts frowned upon the judgement which puts transgender people in a strange situation: on the one hand, they are now legally recognised and protected under the Constitution, but on the other hand, they may be breaking the law if they indulged in consensual gay sex.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
Homosexuality is illegal in over 80 countries of the world, and even in countries where it is legal, there exists a fair amount of discrimination against the LGBT community in the form of negative social attitudes, harassment at the workplace, unsympathetic representation in the media and laws which deny them equal rights.
A study in 2016 by the National Institute of Epidemiology India among 60,000 transgender people across 17 states found that a large proportion of them receive no support from their biological family. In the absence of support from the state and families, the study noted that NGOs are forming a bridge between the transgender community. A study also suggests that the maximum number of harassment of members of the LGBT community has been done by police officials, with transwomen being more prone to the receiving end of such discrimination and violence.
The World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a sexual disorder on May 17th, 1990. To commemorate this day, The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) was started in 2004. The theme for 2017 is families, with a focus includes both the role of families in the well-being of their LGBTIQ members and respect for the rights of LGBTIQ families who are now called Rainbow Families. As opposed to a pride day, which celebrates the identity of the LGBT people, IDAHOT advocates for awareness against homophobia and transphobia.
Trans Murder Monitoring in an annual report published in 2016 stated that 2115 reported killings of trans and gender diverse people occurred in 65 countries worldwide between the 1st of January 2008 and the 30th of April 2016. There is a need for judicial activism against outdated notions about the transgender community, and to uphold their rights to a basic amenity such as their own toilets.