LGBTQ ac­tivists pon­der fu­ture of com­mu­nity in the coun­try

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Anin­dita Sarker cor­re­spon­[email protected]­

New Delhi: The last evening of ARTH wit­nessed a panel dis­cus­sion on the gen­der prism of the so­ci­ety. Ti­tled ‘All is Fair in Love: LGBTIQA+ Com­mu­nity in the Tra­di­tion’, saw em­i­nent per­son­al­i­ties like Ashok Row Kavi, Gopi Shankar Madu­rai, Jerry John­son and Tarek Fatah share their thoughts on the sub­ject. The dis­cus­sion was mod­er­ated by Ku­nal Majumder.

The pan­el­lists de­bated on the sub­ject of ho­mo­pho­bia. Adding his opin­ion on the sub­ject, Ashok Row Kavi said that ho­mo­pho­bia was brought in to In­dia by the colo­nial rule, to a land which has had sa­cred texts on ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. Tarek Fatah claimed that it was Mughal in­flu­ence due to which ho­mo­pho­bia came to In­dia.

Jerry John­son who penned, ‘I’m di­vine. So are you’, on the strug­gle against rul­ing out of Sec­tion 377 said, that there wasn’t any ho­mo­pho­bia in the In­dian cul­ture. He added, while re­search­ing for the book, he found out that ear­li­est stud­ies about gen­der, body and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion are found in Jain­ism. The pan­el­lists en­gaged in the dis­cus­sion when ques­tioned on the way for­ward for the LGBTQIA+ com­mu­nity to seek re­dres­sal. Kavi sug­gested that the ju­di­cial route was the only op­tion, whereas Madu­rai opined that po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue was im­por­tant. John­son con­cluded the dis­cus­sion with a thought that so­ci­etal change was the only hope.

This was fol­lowed by an in­ter­ac­tive Q&A ses­sion. The au­di­ence raised ques­tions on the fu­ture course of ac­tion to di­ver­sify the ‘oth­ers’ gen­der; how the judge­ments in favour of ho­mo­sex­u­als is chal­lenged; how to change the ho­mo­pho­bic opin­ions of the so­ci­ety.

A file photo of the re­cently-held Pride Pa­rade in Mum­bai

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