Impact and after effects on homosexual men after the reading down of the Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code related to human sexuality by Delhi High Court, India

Published: July 22, 2010

Impact and after effects on homosexual men after the reading down of the Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code related to human sexuality by Delhi High Court, India

R. Dhillon, A. Joshi

SPACE (Society for People’s Awareness, Care & Empowerment), Delhi, India

Issues: Homosexuality is considered a criminal activity in India. Years of efforts from leading organizations led to redefining the law to the extent that at least in the city of Delhi, private consensual sex between two adult people of the same sex is no longer a crime.

Description: To gauge the impact after the redefinition of the law a small intensive study was carried out. A sample study of 82 homosexual men was carried out in Delhi. The mean age of the respondents ranged from 18 to 29 years old. Out of the 82, 69% were Kothies’ who were into sex work, 12% identified as Gays, rest did not identify with any typology of MSM. Out of the 57 Kothies’ 89% said the new law had no effects on them. Being on streets, having sex in public places, toilets and parks the law doesn’t protect them. 78% responded that they still are regularly physically and financially harassed by Police and others. 82% believed that it is now legal for homosexuals to get married. 6% were actually planning to get into some legal marriage contract. 89% believed that the law hasn’t change society’s perceptions and attitudes towards them. 46% of the men were also planning to get married to a girl due to family pressures. Only 14% responded positively that now they feel secure and confident when being with their partners. 24% also reported that they have become more cautious as people have become more suspicious when seen with other men.

Lessons learned:

  • Inaccurate information is creating more myths and misconceptions.
  • Media have been too explicit without disseminating accurate meaning of the legal terms.

Next steps:

  • Legal literacy within the community is the need of the hour.
  • Myths and misconceptions related to the law need to be countered through group meetings and discussions

 

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