Hatred hurts just as much as hate crime December 26, 2008Posted by nitinkarani in English, Homophobia, LGBT.
While a 28-year-old, lesbian woman was assaulted and gang raped in an instance of hate crime in San Francisco, here in India, the lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT) community is still grappling to find acceptance.
Recently, many homosexuals have ‘come out’ but this has not reduced the homophobia in our society. “Anyone who is not in the mainstream is not accepted,” rues Shaina from Labia, an NGO working for lesbians.
She feels, the belief that LGBTs in our country are less traumatised than in the west is a myth. “Many women from this community undergo violence at home. They are also subjected to street harassment If the law in our country calls a person unnatural, then it is obviously difficult for that person to walk into a police station and report harassment.”
Nitin Karani, trustee, Humsafar Trust, an organisation working for LGBTs admits that incidents of harassing homosexuals are common and recurring. Citing the example of a student who committed suicide on being ousted and teased, Karani says, “It is not just harassment on the streets, but violence at home is also common. Many are beaten and locked up.”
Advocate Anand Grover feels hate crimes are not largely prevalent here but harassing LGBTs is not a rarity. “Any woman who is harassed, whether lesbian or straight, is protected under the same law. Our laws are very limited.”
While the gay pride parade held in August this year witnessed overwhelming participation from LGBTs, section 377 of the IPC still criminalises unnatural sex. And the discriminating attitude of people, combined with lewd comments and insensitive remarks, only adds to the community’s woes.
Geeta Kumana, chairperson, Aanchal Trust, says, “If a female does not look like a ‘typical girl’, she obviously becomes an easy target.”
Even as the LGBT community make efforts for equal rights, “The solution lies in tolerance and larger societal acceptance of the fact that people are different; we should take them for what they are,” concludes Shaina.