Love comes in many forms. However, in India love comes with a lot of taboos-Like religion, caste, creed, class, and gender. And, yet we love, although it ain’t any easy to tread this oft thorny path. To be in love in India, one has to pay a hefty price, in terms of self respect, dignity, safety and security, money and many a time, life too. Yet, brave souls take a plunge in love. Some sustain, some perish. Those who perish mostly belong to different a religion. caste and class. They are silenced in the name of what is called as honour killing.
To be in love has neither been any smooth on the LGBTQ community of the country. In the year 2018, India took a big leap ahead by scrapping section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), thus legalising adult consensual sex. For the LGBTQ community in India, this came as a big relief. Yet for it too, the road ahead is difficult to traverse.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), between the year 2014-2016, India witnessed 288 honour killings in the country. Honour killings are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family. The reasons could be many, but in India, it is largely because of choosing to love out of a community, caste or class. The obsession of restoring the pride and stature of the family runs so high in the opponents of love, that no amount of punishment to criminals of honour killing can prevent more such crimes from taking place.
The Supreme Court judgement of September 2018 which has decriminalised consensual sex between adults has undoubtedly awarded a sense of liberation to the choked LGBTQ community in India. “The Supreme Court is our real Valentine this year,” says Harish Iyer, LGBTQ activist, as he speaks about the difference in celebrating Valentine’s day today as compared to years prior to the SC ruling. And while the community is still basking in the glory of the judgement, Harish knows, they have a long way to go as far as fighting for bringing amendments in laws such as the Special Marriages Act, Child Adoption Act are concerned. He however sees a welcome change in the approach of the law enforcement agencies towards the LGBTQ in specific, and the society in general. “We cannot expect a sudden change. Total acceptance looks far fetched, but not impossible. We know will reach there someday, even if it takes longer than usual,” he hopes.