On December 12 last year, after the Supreme Court set aside a High Court order decriminalising gay sex between consenting adults, activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, reaching out to members of the LGBT community, said they may be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender but they were Indians first.
On Saturday, as Jantar Mantar saw a splash of rainbow again, Laxmi took the stage and said, “Jai Hind, because the country now belongs to us as well.”
The transgender community gathered to celebrate the Supreme Court’s judgment earlier this week recognising them as the third gender. “We are grateful to the Supreme Court for this judgment,” Laxmi told a cheering crowd.
But the recognition of the third gender has raised other questions.
“We are happy with the recognition of transgenders but what of lesbians, gays and bisexuals?” Ashwin Mehra, a member of the gay community, said.
Activists working with the transgender community said though the verdict was a recognition of the rights of transgenders, it was “incomplete justice”.
“It is a fantastic judgment, but it is incomplete because we are still vulnerable. It is a recognition of one gender minority while retaining the indifference towards the other gender minorities,” Akkai Padmashali, a transgender, said.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court had directed the government to treat transgenders as a socially and educationally backward class, entitled to quota similar to those enjoyed by the OBCs in educational institutions and government jobs.
The transgender community is now planning celebrations in all states and to spread awareness about the movement in its struggle to gain recognition for all sexual minorities.
“The government needs to decide if it supports non-discrimination of the LGBT community as a whole or not. The current situation leaves the community a bit stranded and confused,” Shaleen Rakesh, who manages the ‘207 against 377 campaign’ at HIV/AIDS Alliance, said.
The curative petition against Section 377 filed by the Naz Foundation (India) Trust is listed for hearing on April 22 in the Supreme Court.