Earlier this week, India’s Supreme Court made a historic declaration that a person’s sexual orientation is protected by India’s Right to Privacy law. Therefore, the country’s LGBTQ citizens are now free to openly express their sexual orientation. The decision reads:
“Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy,” the decision reads. “Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”
Though present-day Indian laws criminalizing same-sex relationships were not overturned by this event, the language used in the written decision signals hope and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. Furthermore, this sets precedent for advocate organizations fighting discrimination in the courts.
Section 377 is an oppressive law limiting an Indian citizen’s right to express their gender identity or sexual orientation in consensual relationships. The nation’s traditional culture is certainly an obstacle to coming out. India’s first openly gay member of the monarchy Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil (who came out in 2006) started “Free Gay India” in 2014 to campaign for LGBTQ rights. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Keeping Up With The Kardashians to publicize the fight.
Despite the conservative resistance to accept all sexual orientations, the ethical and progressive language in Thursday’s declaration will eventually make Section 377 difficult to uphold in India.