LGBTQ students in Delhi open up to Oneindia, recall their experiences
As India embraced the victory of women empowerment with the Supreme Court's verdict which struck down instant triple talaq on Aug 22, 2017, the LGBTQ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community in the country is also waiting for justice.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises same sex relationships; hence, such couples in the country are unable to have legal marriages or live a socially acceptable life. They are considered the sexual minorities, for their population.
While programmes have been held in the past to sensitize the society on the various sexual orientations that exist apart from heterosexuals, and the community itself has raised its voice for their rights, clearly not enough has been done.
Meghna Mehra, Student of Delhi University in SPM College speaks to OneIndia about her struggle and her efforts to get recognition as she belongs to a group of sexual minority, which people are not aware of.
Meghna, who is asexual, thinks that there is not much awareness surrounding her sexual orientation, due to which she is often misinterpreted or misunderstood.
When asked if her campus in Delhi University is aware and sensitive about the causes of the sexual minorities, she said, "Although DU is a University which has always supported LGBTQIA Community, DU also has sections of the country which lack knowledge about us and sometimes even deny our existence. DU is providing us platform to discuss and share our stories along with few elements of denial. DU gives both power and struggle to the LGBTQIA community"
Meghna is also politically active and will be contesting the elections in Shyama Prasad Mukherji College from All India Students Association (AISA).
When asked if Meghna has told her parents about her sexual orientation, she said, "I have not yet opened up about it to my parents, but I will let them know soon after the college elections."
Meghna has always been a rebel and has convinced her father, who previously had a fundamentalist approach, to see and understand her perspective.
Raj Saxena, Organiser of two Asexual meets in New Delhi explained, "Asexuals do feel romantic, platonic, emotional, sensual etc and are Attracted towards opposite, same, both gender. Mostly asexual men and women who fall under the category of Homo-romantics calls themselves as Gay or Lesbian (Homosexual) because of lack of awareness or knowledge about Asexuality. People are now talking about Asexuality and there are several pages or group of Asexuals on National and International level."
When asked if he would like the Government to contribute to the cause, here's a few demands he made:
Raj said, "According to me these are few points which Government needs to include in education:-
1. Talking about Asexual in Sex Education.
2. Marriage and relationship without sex is okay.
3. Asexuals are natural, they don't choose to be like this.
4. Asexuality is not Celibacy (they are naturally not into sex).
5. Asexuality is not a medical dysfunction."
Oneindia also reached out to some more students belonging from the group and here's what they have to say about their apprehensions and their demands from the Government:
Rishi, Student, AISN: LGBT community itself is a minuscule minority and on top of that people don't come out of closet due to fear of repression whether it is DU or any educational institute, therefore we need to sensitize the situation and make people more aware about sexual and gender minorities.
When asked about the role that the Government can play in bringing about a change, here's what he had to say, "Government should change its conservative approach towards the progress of new India where inclusion of LGBT community is really important. They should openly debate on LGBT rights in Parliament because the current stand of BJP on such issues contradicts its own slogan of 'Sabka sath sabka vikas',"
Adil, Ex-student of Jamia Milia Islamia opened up to us about the ways he was tortured for his sexual orientation. He said, "It has always been difficult for me to prove myself as a human being because of my sexual orientation. It was difficult for me to talk to anybody in college as I would be in constant fear of bullying. Not only students, even professors were a part of this torture."
He further said, "Love knows no gender, and there is nothing unnatural about being homosexual, there are so many cases of same gender rapes, but no action is taken, instead, 377 is used against us, to punish us."
Though India is working hard to achieve equality and protection against discrimination for all its citizens, the country is yet to champion the cause of the LGBTQ community, and clearly, the Government alone can't make it happen, without the support of the citizens of the country.