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Saturday, January 28, 2023

RSS Chief’s Mohan Bhagwat’s stand on ‘LGBTQ social inclusivity’ is a progressive and humane step

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“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community should have their own private and social space as they are humans and have the right to live as others.”

Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)

In his interview with the Organiser, Mohan Bhagwat further expressed, “People with such proclivities have always been there; for as long as humans have existed. This is biological, a mode of life. We want them to have their own private space and to feel that they, too, are a part of society. This is such a simple issue. We will have to promote this view because all other ways of resolving it will be futile.”

The stand of the RSS Chief coming out in support of the LGBT community in India will go a long way in ensuring equal rights to the LGBT community in India where for a long period of time being in an LGBT relationship was considered to be an act of criminality. This is an inclusive step on part of the RSS to provide private space and make them a part of society.

Inclusivity is a vital constituent of equality, and ideally, it should go without saying. Still, in a country that isn’t as kind and inclusive as it should be, constant reminders are necessary.

An individual’s sexual identity should not stunt them socially or in their career. Inviting an LGBTQ friend and their partner in events and activities just as one would any other spouse or significant other can help reduce the isolation that they often feel.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) rights in India have evolved in recent years. However, LGBTQ citizens still face certain social and legal difficulties as compared to people who do not belong to that community.

Even though the Supreme Court of India in the Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India judgment, 2018 stepped up by abolishing the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized acts of homosexuality, the Government and the public also failed to utilize the judgment to the fullest as even after nearly 30 Months of the passing of the landmark judgment, the situation with regard to LGBTQ Community has not improved much.

Some of the problems faced by the LGBTQ community are horrific and are a violation of their basic human rights. Hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals are still shockingly prevalent across the country.

It is crucial that we extend basic healthcare services, and provide fiscal, social, and psychological benefits to all members of society.

In some horrific tales faced by lesbians, refusal to marry brings more physical abuse. Even more, worse are stories of corrective rape being used as a cure for the curse of lesbians in some villages. According to statistics from the Crisis intervention team of the LGBT Collective in Telangana, there have been 15 instances of ‘corrective rapes’ have been reported in the group in the last five years. But the shocking fact is that it is all in the family the parents are in the know, the rapist is usually a relative that is handpicked by them, and it’s like a ‘disciplining project’ designed to ‘cure’ and ‘correct’ the homosexual kid.

In some parts of India, secret honor killings are planned so that the only way for a young gay man to survive is to run away under the cover of the night to some city, with no money or social support.

A recent study found that one of the major factors that result in the stigmatization of LGBT people is a parental reaction towards homosexuality. The study goes on to conclude that most LGBT people are acceptable to family only if they agree to behave like heterosexuals. LGBTQ individuals were sent to psychiatric wards when they came out to their families. Families that accept their identities put many restrictions on the way they choose to dress and interact with their partners.

Discrimination of LGBT persons in the workplace is a significant factor in the differences in socioeconomic status for LGBT persons. Gay and transgender individuals suffer from socioeconomic inequalities in large part due to discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination directly causes their job, stability, and its results in unemployment and poverty.

There is an imminent need to develop a central database with age and gender-disaggregated data to bring challenges of the members of the community into the mainstream narrative.

It is time India becomes an inclusive society for the LGBTQ community. RSS Chief’s support of the LGBTQ community should be considered progressive, humane, and timely. Being gay or lesbian or transgender or queer is not a sin and neither is it an illness, as a society, we must understand that they too are protected by the Constitution of India and must have their fundamental rights protected.

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