H for History of LGBTQ community
It’s Pride month and not mentioning the history of the LGBTQ community would be stupid of us! The community has been through a lot and still struggling. Many people from the community still don’t feel safe enough to come out from the closet and unveil their experiences. Colonialism has led to so much sacrifice and removal by the strict code of sexual morality.
Historical references are important for any community and the community of India is no different. The world favors the heterosexual and cisgender ways of living and the LGBTQ folks have been through various phases of discrimination self-doubt. Let’s examine how history treated the LGBTQ community.
History of Homosexuality
The identification of homosexuality was around 3102 B.C. during the Vedic age. Homosexuality was recognized as Tritiya Prakriti (third nature) in research by the Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association.
In the ancient texts like Kamasutra, Manusmriti, Shikhandi, we can track down the existence of homosexuality. It was a part of our culture since Vedas’ time. It is a criminal offense in Arthashastra. Men and women indulging in same-sex intercourse paid some fine and got punishment.
Many sex temples like Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh represents same-sex people embracing each other and showing genitals to one another.
Koovgam festival in 3rd Century the festival was born. The festival celebrated the story of Shri Krishna taking over a form of a woman to marry Prince Aravan before the great battle of Mahabharat. the festival still continuous and it is the largest annual gathering of all the transgender people in India.
The term “Chapti” was used in Urdu poetry during the medieval period to refer to sex between the same gender people. Even our first Mughal emperor Babur had an infatuation with a teenage boy named Baburi.
During the Mughal period, there was a set of punishments for human sexuality which includes fifty lashes for a slave and a hundred for pagan or a death stoning for a Muslim person.
In 1867 British raj criminalize sexual activities which are against the order of nature which includes homosexuality. Under section 377 of the Penal Code of India homosexuality is illegal.
Gandhiji was not down for the same sex. During mid 20th century, the father of the nation wrote down against homosexuality.
In 1981 all India hijra conference was called and around 50,000 members of the community traveled to Uttar Pradesh to attend the community meeting. in 1977 Shakuntala Devi published a study on homosexuality in India.
The first lesbian movie fire was introduced to the public in 1988 and it sparks a lot of fire and caused Hindutva violence.
In December 2013, Delhi High Court decriminalize Homosexual acts and said that it is up to Parliament to legislate the issue. But sad for us, Parliament and the supreme court did not take any serious step towards it. So, in 2013 it’s a crime again.
But on 6 September 2018, Supreme Court invalidate Section 377 of the Indian penal code and said that homosexuality is legal in India.
Many of us are ok and support the community but there are still so many people who do not accept Homosexuality. So, it does mean that even if things are legal or illegal it does not really mean anything to most of the family and friends of homosexual people. Many community members are still not ready to come out of the closet because of the fear of society.
Legalization made many people happy in India and all over the world but India is not a developed country. And even if we celebrate it, the ground report is people are still suffering and struggling. So, we accept this but transphobia still exists. Legalizing it doesn’t make the life of a queer folk is easy now. In 2016, a trans social worker was murdered and there were so many protests after this. Well, most of the articles we read are very optimistic but sometimes things aren’t. But there are many people who are changing their views and accepting the community. So, yyeyeyeye! Vijayaraja Mallika (Trans-Activist) set up India’s first-ever school for transgender people.
It will take some more time for society to accept them and make them feel comfortable. What can we do? Respect them, make them feel comfortable, and love them. Kyonki pyaar toh pyaar hai!