May 15, 2021 1:16:27 pm
Maharashtra is set to launch a state network for LGBTIQA, (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, on May 17 on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. This is perhaps the first network of its kind in the state.
Despite the legal and to some extent social developments happening on the LGTBIQA front, quite a few lacunae remain to be addressed, said Bindumadhav Khire, Director, Bindu Queer Rights Foundation, who is leading this initiative.
On the legal front, a major breakthrough in recognition of transgenders as a separate legal identity was achieved in 2014 when the Supreme Court gave the right of identification to transgenders as ‘third gender’. Since then, a progressive Transgender (Protection of Persons) Rights Act was enacted in 2019. In 2018, Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalised consensual intercourse ‘against the order of nature (non-procreative intercourse) between two adults, was declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This was a watershed development for gay and transgender rights, Khire told The Indian Express.
He, however, said that most of the current activities are related to service provision to individual members of the LGBTIQA community, for instance, ration support to transgenders and legal crisis support to gays and transgenders.
While the provision of services and support to individuals from the LGBTIQA community is very important, the lack of local level networks has stagnated the movement in terms of advocacy and strengthening and expansion of rights.
Khire said some of the areas in which these lacunae have been repeatedly noticed are legal advocacy in Prohibition of Conversion Therapy, gay marriage, anti-discriminatory law for gays and bisexuals, adoption and surrogacy rights etc. He added there is also a lack of inclusive education for police personnel, medical personnel and political leaders; inclusive policy in government departments, local bodies and corporates, etc. and empowering local social structures.
Initially, the members of the network will engage in legal advocacy on issues like gay marriage and inclusive medical and health curriculum, empowering social structures and nurturing new LGBTIQA activists, groups, organisations will be actively taken.
Special issues, including online registration of transgenders for transgender ID and certificate and awareness and sensitization on various queer and non-binary identities, will also be looked into by the networkok.
The network has also encouraged other organisations, groups or networks from India to collaborate with QMaN on issues of common interests.
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