With the judgement of Section 377 still pending, and problematic bills that discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community being put forth by our lawmakers, the community needs more allies now more than ever. We have been subjected to years and years of systemic and structural oppression. While many people are under the impression that the scrapping of Section 377 will immediately lead to equality for the queer community, that is a naive understanding of how the law works in India. Even if Section 377 is scrapped, this doesn’t make the community any less vulnerable to violence and injustices. We have many laws that can be used to solely target queer individuals.
Allyship therefore should extend beyond just joining the fight for legislations, it needs to also translate into helping make change in the society that we live in. Allies can be of great help in de-stigmatizing the identities of LGBTQIA+ folks and normalise alternative sexualities and genders. As queer persons, we are often asked how people can be better allies and while my answer has always been “speak less and listen”, there are other ways one can be better ally as highlighted in this infographic.
As allies, you are advocating and supporting the rights of those who are marginalised and acknowledging that you have benefited from the privilege that has resulted from such marginalisations. This is to not say that you don’t have your own problems but that your sexual orientation or gender identity isn’t as much of a ‘hindrance’ to your life as compared to people who identify as LGBTQIA+. Thus, your allyship should be based on a genuine belief and understanding of the concept of equity and justice and not just egalitarianism. It is also important to understand that marginalised people do not owe you their niceness and that as an ally your job is to amplify, not to overshadow. Here’s a simple infographic to help you become a better ally to the Indian queer cause:
There are many other ways you can extend your allyship but these are the very basics that one must know when entering queer spaces.