Human Rights of LGBTQ and Role of NGOs in India
Human Rights of LGBTQ and Role of NGOs in India
Written By: Khwahish Khurana
When we take away someone else’s rights, our own rights are in question because we have taken a step towards giving the government the “okay” to tell us what to do with our personal choices. It isn’t about being heterosexual or homosexual, it’s about why and how on the basis of sexual orientation is someone deprived of their basic rights which include equal employment opportunities, living with dignity in society, exploitation, etc. It isn’t about “LGBTQ rights”, it’s about rights in general.
LGBTQ and Human Rights
International human rights focus on providing dignity and equality to each and every person irrespective of their gender, caste, race, etc. Article 1 of UDHR states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Article 2 of UDHR prevents discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. But these rights aren’t provided to homosexual people in real life and are only limited to books. They are eliminated from
society as soon as they expose their sexuality. They are looked down upon and are suppressed by society. Leave about respect, homosexual people aren’t even accepted by society. They are deprived of their basic rights. Unemployment is a very common issue with homosexual people as they aren’t given enough employment opportunities by the government.
Employment is a basic right that every person requires to earn a livelihood. Article 25 of UDHR covers a wide range of rights such as unemployment. Sushant Divgikar, Mr. gay India 2014 and also associated with a lot of LGBTQ organizations spoke in an interview about the constant fear of homosexual people that they no longer would be able to live a normal life
and would be thrown out of their homes. They either would have to beg on the streets or indulge in the skin trade. These are the only two jobs that are associated with the 3rd gender in India. Things have changed a lot from what they were back in the days but a lot more has to be done in order to protect such minorities.
Role of NGOs in India
Standing for one deep yearning of yours, knowing that the whole world is against you is not everyone’s piece of cake. Homosexual people often face humiliation and are bullied by society because of which they end up taking their own lives. Some homosexual people do not even accept their sexuality due to society and fear that their own parents would disown them.
Though international human rights mention giving all these basic human rights to every person, it becomes hard to attain it in real life. But the NGOs for LGBTQ in India are striving to provide the 3rd gender with all the basic rights that any other heterosexual person is given. Amongst the many LGBTQ NGOs, there are a few which made headlines and have made a change in society. Naz Foundation, the trust which fights against discrimination in
2001, filed PIL for decriminalizing sec 377 of IPC. Later, in Navtej Singh Johar V. Union of India in 2018, the supreme court decriminalized consensual sex among adults including homosexual sex. Likewise, Laxmi Naryan Tripathi, the 1st transgender rights activist to represent Asia Pacific in UN 2008 was one of the petitioners for recognition of 3rd gender in India and also is associated with many LGBTQ NGOs. She is also fighting for other LGBTQ rights including equal employment opportunities for them.
Homosexuality as purely a “Western Creation” ?
Homosexuality or 3rd gender is in existence from time immemorial. Mythologies like Ramayana and Mahabharata give deep insights and provide evidence of 3rd gender. Lord shiva itself is called Ardhanareeswara which means the lord whose half is a woman. There are numerous scriptures that manifest the same but still, people are seen arguing that homosexuality is against our culture and is entirely a “western concept”.
The hatred against gay people is massive and needless. They are criticized and have to face violence because of their sexuality. People do not realize that sexuality can’t be chosen. It is something that we are born with and can’t be changed according to our will. Indian comedian Abhishek upmanyu once joked
about how his mother would believe in the existence of ghosts but not in homosexual people which is pretty much how the minds of Indian society works. People think it is some psychological defect and can be treated with some medicine or treatment.
Society does not provide the same amount of respect that they would otherwise give to a heterosexual person. It is contradictory to see that on one hand people take religious and cultural defence for such cruel behaviour with homosexual people and on the other themselves disrespect the god by disrespecting his creation.
Homosexual people often struggle to accept their sexuality as they fear society’s cruel behaviour towards such people. While we only talk about equality with men and women, transgender should also be included in that discussion. NGOs are helping a lot to strive for a change in the existing laws and they have been successful up to some extent as well. People voicing out, are making a huge impact not only on society but also on the lives of homosexual people who fear society.
We see on social media platforms like youtube where there are a lot of educational videos and real-life stories of homosexual people who are appreciated for their braveness for fighting against the odds which is also a step forward towards change in society. After all, Someone’s sexuality shouldn’t define who they are. We naturally accept heterosexuality without pointing any fingers, then why on homosexuality such questions are imposed. It’s all a matter of choice and every choice must be respected as long as it isn’t harming someone.
The change is slow but what matters is that there is a change and in about a few years we can accept a lot of revolutionary things happening which will, in turn, remove all the barriers and no person would be deprived of his/her rights irrespective of anything.