Thursday, July 02, 2009

The logically penurious Indian Penile Code

Criminalisation of homosexuality has no place in a thinking, empathetic, realistic society. It is about as illogical as criminalizing myopia or white hair. The fact that it is not observed in the majority of the population makes it uncommon, not unnatural. The stereotypes associated with homosexuality are appallingly inaccurate – promiscuity and unsafe sexual practices on the one hand, and inordinate levels of artistry and sensitivity (for male homosexuals) and coarseness and aggressiveness (for lesbians) on the other. These prejudices also conveniently ignore the prevalence of unsafe, immoral and exploitative behaviour among heterosexuals.

The most ironic fact about the criminalization of homosexuality in India is that our Penal Code, which has its origin in the British code, is steadfast in its adherence to an obsolete tenet, ignoring the spirit of the law (viz., prevention of exploitative homosexuality, as in child abuse), whereas the mother code has changed in response to fresh insights. Homosexuality is perfectly legal in Britain, and has been for a while now. Why did we dilly-dally? If it's stimulation from a western nation without which we cannot budge, what took us so long?

People who project homosexuality as a scourge of a healthy society should take a break from outdated, insubstantial moralising and contribute to the health of society themselves by demonstrating inclusiveness and embracing diversity. They should shift their activist focus to truly unhealthy social practices like corruption, sexual exploitation, discrimination against women and elderly persons, and environmental pollution, and leave people to express their sexuality – a/homo/hetero/bi – in peace, privacy, and free from pressure.