LGBTQ activists ponder future of community in the country
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