Paper 2 – Chapter 7 – Challenges of Social Transformation
(a) Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.
(b) Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.
(c) Violence against women.
(d) Caste conflicts.
(e) Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.
(f) Illiteracy and disparities in education.
WHAT IS LGBTQIA+?
LGBTQIA+ is an inclusive term that includes people of all genders and sexualities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and allies. While each letter in LGBTQIA+ stands for a specific group of people, the term encompasses the entire spectrum of gender fluidity and sexual identities.
SOCIOLOGICAL RELEVANCE OF THE TOPIC
Discriminatory laws and socio-cultural norms continue to marginalize and exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender-diverse persons from education, health care, housing, employment and occupation, and other sectors. This environment of exclusion lends itself to violence and discrimination. Exclusion also leads to inequality of opportunity and of access to resources.
THE INDIAN CONTEXT
In the Indian case, the LGBTQ+ community also includes a specific social group, part religious cult and part caste : the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as “neither men nor women” or as men who become women by adopting women’s dress and behavior. Hijras are devotees of Buhuchara Mata, a version of the Indian mother goddess (a Hindu goddess representing chastity and fertility).
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE COMMUNITY
LGBTQ community faces problems like lack of educational facilities, threat to life and personal liberty, violation of right to livelihood, violation of right to speech and expression and most importantly right to equality and to live with dignity and other rights. Personality disorders and other mental health issues like loneliness, anxiety, stress, and depression are commonplace in people of the LGBTQ community. The rate of suicides among the LGBTQ community in India has increased over the last few years as people started coming out openly about their sexual orientation.
RECENT SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENTS
In the Suresh Kumar Koushal and another v. NAZ Foundation and others case in 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the Delhi High Court Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi case and reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
In late 2015, MP Shashi Tharoor introduced a bill to decriminalise homosexuality but it was rejected by the Lok Sabha.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution in the landmark Puttuswamy judgement. This gave renewed hope to LGBT activists.
On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Section 377 was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex”.
WHAT CAN STATES DO FOR THE COMMUNITY ?
Social inclusion requires dismantling all legislation that criminalizes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, and that negates a person’s identity. It also requires urgent measures to dismantle the systems of repression that enforce the idea that diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity is somehow harmful to society, that LGBT people are somehow disordered, or that their identities are criminal.
Data is needed to shed light on the nature and extent of violence and discrimination against LGBT people, dispel myths and stereotypes that feed stigma and discrimination, and aid in the formulation of state measures that incorporate relevant communities.