May 1st saw a riveting discussion take place on queer and trans rights and the kinds of violence that the queer community faces above and beyond the minutiae of Section 377. Feminism in India and Gaylaxy Magazine co-hosted a panel discussion.
Section 377 remains like a sword hanging on the LGBT community and remains the source of many police harassment and blackmail, but is that the only violence faced by the queer community? Much of the fight for queer rights in India has centred around Section 377, but is this law the only source of violence in their lives?
Queer people face violence not just in the hands of police, but much of it happens in family, friends, at workplace. From trying to “correct” the sexual or gender identity of their children through shock therapies, to the constant harassment at workplace or schools or colleges, homo/bi/trans/inter phobia goes beyond just Section 377.
Removal of 377 can be the first step, but not the only step at preventing this violence. On the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT), we discussed the kinds of violence faced by queer people, and what steps we can take to prevent it.
We spoke about access to resources like housing and healthcare, the divisions within the queer community itself, and the complicated nature of the law surrounding issues like property and succession for queer people.
Here’s a short video featuring snippets from the panel discussion, and photographs from the event.
A brief note about our panellists:
Dhrubo Jyoti is a queer activist and Delhi-based journalist. They work on questions of politics and society.
Anand Grover is a Senior Advocate practicing in the Supreme Court of India and the Director of the Lawyers Collective, which conceived of the challenge to S377 argued in the Delhi HC and the Supreme Court of India as well as the NASLSA case.
Rituparna Borah is the co-founder of Nazariya – A Queer Feminist Resource Group. She is a queer feminist activist and has been part of the women’s movement and the queer movement for more than a decade.
Simran Sheikh is a transgender activist and senior programme officer in Sexuality Gender and Rights with HIV/AIDS Alliance India. She unfortunately could not attend the panel due to an accident.