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No longer criminals, but what about equality and other basic rights?

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Homosexuality in India has been a subject of discussion since ancient times and still continue to be even in the modern times.
On 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality. The historic verdict led to euphoric celebrations across the country as the colonial-era law was finally consigned to the rubbish bin of history, and the LGBTQ+ community were finally legal.
But the landmark judgement was just the beginning of a longer battle for truly equal citizenship.
Homosexuality in India is not about unicorns and rainbows. Being homosexual itself is considered to be a bane in the orthodox Indian society.
Many criminal law provisions such as Section 375 (rape) of the Indian penal code do not account for LGBTQ+ relationships at all. Sexual harassment and rape laws currently only apply to ‘male-female’ binary. It is more like only a male can be the perpetrator and only a female can be the victim.
Not only IPC section 375 but also laws pertaining to sexual harassment (section 354 A), assault or use of criminal force to women with intent to disrobe (section 354 B), voyeurism (section 354 C), stalking (section 354 D) all operate in the male-female binary.
After a battling for years, homosexuality was finally decriminalized, yet heterosexual people persecuted people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community.
They are still looked upon as criminals. Not only by citizens but also by the government.

The Supreme Court dismissed a review plea, seeking civil rights for homosexual couples, with regard to marriage, adoption and surrogacy.
Last year, a bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with respect to surrogacy. According to this bill, only a man and woman who are married and haven’t been able to conceive for five years can opt for surrogacy. However, it makes surrogacy illegal for parents from the LGBTQ+ community.

Heterosexual marriage is seen as the foundation of many other rights such as maintenance, guardianship, inheritance, adoption and custody. So denial of marriage rights will also mean denial of all these other rights.

Even within the LGBTQ+ community, the transgenders face a significantly higher degree of persecution and discrimination.
They are often looked down upon, called out names, humiliated.
This issue had been discussed by many legal experts. According to them, besides facing social persecution, they are often unfairly targeted by law enforcement agencies.

The Supreme Court’s decision of striking down section 377 of the Indian penal code was a progressive judgement, but it only decriminalized consensual sex. But what about those rights that make us citizens? What about equality, in the family, in public spaces, in the offices? What about the violence that happens with the community? When will there be equality? When will justice be delivered?