Balbir Krishan (Artist)
This is not the time to sleep. It is when we need to and should wake up. I am based in Albany, USA, with my partner, and we were up around 2 am when the Supreme Court in Delhi announced its verdict and read down Section 377. It’s a historic verdict. It gives strength to the community, and also reverses the mistake made by the Supreme Court a few years ago. It will allow us to live with dignity and acknowledges our rights. Nothing can be worse than living in constant fear that even your feelings of love are considered criminal. As a homosexual artist, I faced the wrath of the moral police in 2012 when my exhibition at Delhi’s Lalit Kala Akademi was vandalised because some works depicted homosexual themes. Belonging to Baghpat district in western Uttar Pradesh, I was disowned by my family after I came out. They refused to talk to me, but things have become slightly better over the years. A verdict like this should improve things further, though a change in the mindset of society at large will be more gradual. It’s still a long journey ahead. The acceptance won’t be immediate.
Wendell Rodricks (Fashion Designer)
I am delighted at the wisdom of the Supreme Court. This decision will make India look progressive in the
eyes of the world. I am also happy that this was a unanimous decision by all the judges. After years of protesting Section 377, it is heartwarming for me as we were fighting for future generations to enjoy this freedom.
Suneet Varma (Fashion Designer)
My faith in the judiciary has been restored. As a proud Indian, I feel very gratified, for the true health of a nation can be judged by the safety and security of all its citizens. The freedom of choice, to love and live as we please, should be for everybody. India, as a nation, has been built on the philosophy of tolerance and ‘live and let live’, and that can be seen in our history and literature. Then to discriminate against a small section of our citizens and have a Section 377 is just abnormal. Today, we have gotten rid of one of the most archaic laws that the British put in place — maybe 71 years too late — but it’s a heartening and proud moment.
Inder Salim (Performance Artist)
The verdict is a big reason to celebrate, though it should have come long back. Also, it is important to understand that the emancipatory verdict is not a majoritarian view. Nevertheless, it is a welcome step. It will open up a debate for the youngsters and, hopefully, the older generation will also be more accepting. It will give individuals the freedom to better understand who they are.
Ayushmann Khurrana (Actor)
It is a very proud moment for us as Indians. Now, it’s established that we are part of a progressive judicial system. We still have to fight with a lot of regressive minds. There is a huge section of the society that may not agree with this. We need to fight against it and educate people. I also believe that we live in a country that’s more complex. A large chunk of India lives in rural areas and smaller cities. We should involve them in this huge change as well. We have more battles to fight.
Vasudhendra (Kannada writer)
I am very happy, but this is not the finishing line. This is the starting line for us. We must now see how we can use this change to ensure LGBTQ rights. One of the first things we should do is make it a part of our education system. There should be at least one chapter in our textbooks that tells children about sexuality, that it is possible for sexual identity to take many forms. If teachers do not know how to talk to children about this, people in the gay community should train them to do so. More celebrities should now come out of the closet and talk about their lives. And then, of course, other things will have to come — the right to live together, to marry. In all of this, of course, I think of all those who came before us, all those who suffered before us. We have been lucky. This law has been in existence for 150 years, and so many people have suffered. We owe them an apology, and we will carry that guilt with us.
Aruni Kashyap (Writer and Assistant Professor, Creative Writing, University of Georgia, Athens, USA)
This is no doubt a historic day for India and an emotional day for many. But I don’t want to forget that this is a huge step for a much longer struggle. We need marriage equality. We need LGBTQ people feeling safe on the street. We need to ensure easy adoption of children in a country where there are millions of orphaned children who need a good, loving home.
Mandeep Raikhy (Choreographer)
During this time of extreme intolerance and injustice, the Supreme Court verdict on Section 377 reminds us that no oppression can last forever.