It was on 6th September 2018, when Section 377 (sexual activities against the order of nature illegal) was decriminalized by the Supreme Court of India.
To celebrate this landmark judgement, the Nation witnessed what is called a “Pride March”. With tears of joy imprinting on the faces and emotions expressed through outfits donned on the body, the streets were filled with love and optimism. However, amongst all the feeling of love, rose an unexplained hatred and biases towards the Bharatiya Janata Party, where the leaders of the party were labelled as “homophobic” and “regressive”. What could have been perceived as anti-government criticism, one cannot sideline how the “pride march” turned into “anti-Hindu” activism, where slogans such as “Rainbow over Saffron” and “Mandir Raj Nahi Chalega”, were on a huge display.
But what is the reason behind such intense feelings of loathing and hostility towards the Modi Government; moreover, towards Hinduism? Is it ignorance or a prejudiced mindset? To shatter the hate-filled minds of the so-called liberals of our country here is breaking down a few things that the BJP Government has done for the LGBTQ community in their 7 years of tenure.
– On 26th November 2019, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill was passed by the Parliament. The bill grants protection to people of the transgender community from facing unjust discrimination in employment, education, housing, healthcare, and several other services.
– On 21st August 2020, the Central Government constituted a National Council for Transgender Persons, which will be governed by The Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment (Chairperson) and the Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment(vice-chairperson). Under this legislation, the council will have mainly five functions to perform, as stated in the press release:
(a) to advise the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons;
(b) to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons;
(c) to review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of Government and other Governmental and non-Governmental Organisations which are dealing with matters relating to transgender persons;
(d) to redress the grievances of transgender persons; and
(e) to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
– Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, who is often presumed as a “conservative, saffron-clad”, has recognised and empowered the rights of the LGBTQ community in every realm.
- What can be seen as a major step towards the reformation of the LGBTQ community, Yogi Adityanath has dedicated an entire metro station that comes under Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) to the transgender community. The metro station will employ members of the transgender community. Moreover, to honour the pride community, the pillars of the station have been painted in the shades of the rainbow.
- Yogi Aditynath has also announced establishing a first-ever University exclusively for transgender in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh. Along with this, the UP Government has also made amendments in the law that will provide members of the Transgender community with equal rights to inherit ancestral agricultural land.
- In addition to all of this, the UP Government also aims to promote business ventures of transgenders and women, along with providing them with subsidiaries and institutional support under the new UP Startup Policy 2020.
– The Ministry Of Personnel has made it mandatory for all ministries and departments to include ‘trans’ as a separate gender identity for all Central Government jobs. Furthermore, the Ministry of Home Affairs has sought guidance from Paramilitary on the inclusion of transgender in the forces.
– At a Conference organised by business chamber body Assocham on diversity and inclusion, Union Minister of state for social justice and empowerment Rattan Lal Kataria, openly stated that organisations need to promote the representation of the LGBTQ community, along with creating a supportive work environment for them. He said,” I urge the corporate sector to strengthen the participation of weaker sections of our society, which is also part of the government’s agenda.”
Even before Section 377 was decriminalized, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other BJP leaders have openly supported the rights of the LGBTQ community, stating,” We are for decriminalizing homosexuality.” What the LGBTQ community should know is that their rights will not only be protected but will also be empowered under the Modi Government. The various reforms that have been passed and will be in the future can be seen as a “ray of hope” for the LGBTQ community all across India.