Dear Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals, Transgenders, Queer People, all 3.17 mil of you,
By now it’s clear that the country owes you an apology. We’ve read it, seen it, it was said in the Supreme court and beyond. However, today, in this letter, I want to tell you that I’m not sorry.
I’m ashamed that we didn’t only rob you off your right to love but also your right to privacy and therefore, your right to life. It caused innumerable deaths in the 158 years of practicing the ridiculous law called “Section 377” that the Britishers left us with.
I wonder why nobody said then – “Angrez chale gaye, ghulaami chor gaye.”
The highlight, however, of this cruelty is not just Section 377 but also the torture that came along with it. The act of giving you a ray of hope time and again, and then snatching it away in a jiffy. I cannot imagine how it would feel like to wake up one morning and feel free, and wake up another morning and feel like a “criminal”, a term coined suddenly because of a petition filed by people who were probably bored and needed a new adventure in life.
I’m ashamed that the bipolar society that we’re all a part of led to your freedom in 2009 and the opposite of that in 2013. I’m ashamed that you were stripped off your respect and dignity overnight when you put all your trust in a country that gave you your freedom in the first place, which for starters should never have been a question. Again, we failed you as a ‘so-called’ democracy and for that, a sorry is not enough.
While you’ve gifted the country that was drowning in saffron thinking, you gave this nation and the world a new progressive direction, and all we can offer is an apology. That makes me feel beyond helpless. I’m ashamed that years of torture, abuse and blackmail was gifted to you on a platter because the sex you have was considered “against the order of nature” even though it’s the biggest part of the Indian history and culture that we’re all oh-so-proud of.
I’m ashamed that although the British moved ahead, named streets after their LGBTQ communities, your own country, your people, decided to fight a battle against your right to equality and liberty.
I hang my head in shame, truly.
I’m ashamed that an emotion as beautiful as love came to you after such a long battle. I’m ashamed that an emotion as beautiful as that led to rapes, intimidation, abuse, blackmail and basically a long lost downhill for many of you. And I’m also aware that it must scare you that just like all other times, this freedom comes at a risk.
And here’s why I’m not sorry, I’m ashamed and today, all I can do to make up for the gone times is make a promise. A promise that this freedom is yours to keep and if ever it’s attacked again, we’ll take to the streets like nobody’s business.
Because you’re not ‘LGBTQ’, you’re me, him, her, and any other Indian. You’re free people of a functional democracy.
Your right is my right and if your freedom is under attack, so is mine.
With lots of love and pride,
One of you