HUMSAFAR, A community-based organisation from Mumbai, on Thursday conducted a sensitisation programme on sexual minorities and the stigma attached to them. Through the daylong workshop, advocacy officers from Humsafar spread awareness about various issues concerning the LGBT community across India.
A discussion on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was also held, as the participants, who were members of Chandigarh’s LGBT community, spoke on the Supreme Court’s decision. Earlier this year, the SC had referred the decision over decriminalisation of Section 377 to a five-judge Constitution Bench, giving a ray of hope to the Indian LGBT community.
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Humsafar’s advocacy officer Tinesh Chopade said, “There is still a lot of stigma and misconception about the LGBT community. Through such programmes, we intend to help people in understanding this section of society better. For instance, generalisation of behaviours as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ is totally uncalled for. The idea that people’s sexual orientation is due to the so-called western influence is also incorrect, and a positive image needs to be created for the LGBT community.”
Chopade added that it was important for members of society to understand that being lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual is a lifestyle, and not merely a ‘trend’. During the workshop, the participants were informed about other misconception about sexual orientation, and the legal/medical aids that can be sought.
“People need to understand that it’s not wrong to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It’s what we are, and take pride in. It’s about time society stopped viewing our community with all the stigma,” a participant added.