Earlier this week, there were a couple of stories floating around about how India was going to maybe, perhaps, actually, in the realm of possibility, could be considering, repealing a 148-year-old British Raj law that criminalizes gay sex. This was mainly because gay activists got sick and tired of waiting for the government to do something and decided to nudge matters a little by moving the court.
Gay sex is immmoral and a reflection of a perverse (rpt perverse) mind and its decriminalisation would lead to moral degradation of society…”Homosexuality is a social vice and the state has the power to contain it,” the government contended. “It (decriminalising homosexuality) may create breach of peace. If it is allowed then evils of AIDS and HIV would further spread and harm the people. It would lead to big health hazard. It would degrade moral values of society,” Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra contended.
Please. Hold your shock and awe. Anybody who didn’t see this coming a mile off (including all those media people who were all “OMG, this is the Change We’ve Been Waiting For”) were either seriously delusional or must have taken a few too many hits of the bong.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry, under the one man anti-smoking brigade known as Anbumani Ramadoss, feels differently:
Enforcement of Section 377 can adversely contribute to pushing the persons suffering from HIV underground which would make such risky sexual practices go unnoticed,” said an affidavit filed by the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), which comes under the health ministry.
Well, isn’t that nice of the Health Ministry to point out. But I guess taking a stand against the Congress’ favorite Oldie Mouldie in a Safari Suit a.k.a. Shivraj Patil, is quite different from kicking out recalcitrant AIIMS directors and harassing movie stars.
On the other hand, we have people like Ashley tellis who outlines exactly what’s at stake here:
Section 377 does not actively name gay sex; nor is it only about gayness. It is an abstractly worded section speaking about “acts against the order of nature”, (which can also cover oral sex between heterosexual partners, for example) and, in practice, is used in all sorts of cases, including child-sex abuse. Child sexual abuse clearly deserves its own law, mainly to distinguish paedophilia from homosexuality. The two phenomena are totally different, but are conflated in the popular imagination as well as the illiterate Indian State’s imagination, seen recently in the official response to Health Minister Ramadoss’ recent call for the repeal of Section 377, which was met with alarmist references to “sick” practices like child sexual abuse going unpunished if 377 was removed. Homosexuality is alive and well as a sickness in the popular imagination.
Obviously, with views like that, Tellis is not an elected official of any kind and does not work for a government agency. He is simply your average tax payer who could be sent to jail because the Home and Law Ministries are disinclined to do their given job and draft a law that would specifically target crime because it’s so much easier to let things stand after all the work the British have put in on our behalf.
But the gays! The gays are gonna get your childruns! In some mysterious way! (To be decided upon by the Indian State as and when convenient.) So now you know.