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Do you consider yourself an expert in LGBTQIA+ awareness? Well here’s your chance to test your pride quotient and knowledge on the matter.
Today marks the 51 year anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion of 1969. It is largely believed to be the turning point in the LGBT liberation movement in America.
On the early morning of June 28th, 1969, violent protests erupted in Greenwich Village of New York after the patrons of the popular gay bar called as Stonewall Inn, were tired of raids and harassment from police. The following riots lasted five days and changed the course of LGBTQ+ history.
This was the first instance of mass resistance of LGBTQ+ community in America. We have come a long way since then, but there are still some interesting facts about the LGBTQ+ community that people have no idea about.
Today we have a list of 10 interesting pride facts that every aspiring ally should know.
The term ‘Homosexuality’ was coined by Karl Maria Kertbany in 1868. Even though it is a fairly new term, the act itself is not new. Greeks and Roman civilisation have evidence of homosexuality as a common occurrence and many well known figures through history have accounts of homosexual relationships.
The complete acronym of the LGBTQIA+ is actually, LGBTQQIP2SAA, which is Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, two-spirits (2S), Asexual and Androgynous.
This is yet to be accepted universally; the more popular term is LGBTQQIAAP which includes Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Androgynous and Pansexual. The + signs is used to denote the inclusivity of the term, and in case any further addition is made to the gender and sexuality spectrum. The terms keep evolving with time and relevance.
The 2S or two spirits in the above acronym is only used by Native Americans or members of indigenous tribes. It is similar to gender fluid and androgynous but it also includes cultural connotations and beliefs.
The original Pride flag was designed by American artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 and had 8 stripes which included hot pink, turquoise and Indigo along with the current six stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet/ Purple. Red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and violet/Purple for spirit.
The now abrogated section 377 of Indian Penal Code was introduced by the Britishers in 1861, and criminalised oral sex between a heterosexual married couple along with homosexual sexual activities. England itself decriminalised homosexuality in 1967 but a majority of its colonies still use the law to this day.
There have been only 9 convictions under section 377 In India but it was frequently used to intimidate, harass and blackmail people. The fear of “defamation” prevented a larger number of cases to go into trials.
In India, the first time the conversation around legalisation of homosexuality began in 1994 when the AIDS Bhedbahv Birodhi Andolan (ABVA) filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of the law. The petition got dismissed but it started the legal conversation around the state’s right to control personal freedom. The second attempt was made in 2001 which was dismissed as well.
Denmark was the first country to legalise homosexuality in 1989. It recognised same-sex unions but refused to use the term ‘marriage’ and prevented homosexual couples from adoption or getting married in churches. For this reason Netherlands is termed as the first country to legalise homosexual marriages in 2001 because it was the first country to legalise homosexual marriages and treat them equal to heterosexual marriages.
There has been over 20 countries where homosexuality was never a criminal offence and others even started decriminalisation in the 1800s itself but the taboo and social restrictions remained.
Currently (June 2020) there are 29 countries that legalise homosexual marriages; India is not one of them. Taiwan created history in 2019 by becoming Asia’s first country to legalise homosexual marriages. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48305708
In India gay sex is only legalised for civilians. The army, navy, police and air force still can punish its members for homosexuality. Secondly only gay sex has been legalised; homosexuality as an identity deserving same rights as heterosexuality is not recognised by the Indian law. And thirdly, we still do not have any legal protection for discrimination based on sexual identity.
In this case even though we no longer treat homosexual activity (sex) as illegal and punishable offence, we still haven’t granted legal status to homosexual marriages, adoption, surrogacy, joints loans, joint ownership of property and other rights that come under family law.
Legal protection is the next step, where the courts prevents discrimination based on sexuality, like LGBTQ+ people cannot be denied access to particular places even if they are of private ownership, or denied admission in hospitals, schools or jobs because of their sexuality like the recent verdict of US Supreme court.
Homosexuality and bisexuality is seen in many species of birds, insects, wild animals, cattle etc., and human beings are just another species of animal. Many of us believe that it is ‘against Indian culture’ but true Indian culture, the one not diluted by years of colonialisation approves of this and various ancient sites clearly depict people in various poses of sexual activity, inlcuding much of homosexual, bisexual and polyamorous activities.
India’s decriminalisation of homosexuality was a much needed step in the right direction. But we still have a long battle to ensure that the community gets the same legal rights and dignity as the rest of India’s citizens , here’s hoping that it happens soon.
Image source: unsplash
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Asefa writes about the lives of women in smaller towns of India. Her interest include
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