AIPC Delhi Presents Identity & Dignity Session

In a landmark decision, on Sept 06, the supreme court finally struck down a 19th century law criminalizing homosexuality in India. The decision follows a protracted struggle by activists and members of the community against the repressive Section 377. The struggle against Section 377, started way back as in 1991 with a document detailing the experiences of gay people in India, released by the AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA). The report called for the repeal of legislation that discriminated against members of the LGBTQ community, including section 377. But when the report was released at the Press Club of India, it met a cold response from the journalist present.

Since then many incidents happened, and many fights were fought the most important of them was in December 2001 by The Naz Foundation, a sexual health NGO working with gay men, which filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi high court, challenging the constitutionality of section 377 and calling for the legalisation of homosexuality. In Sep 2004, SC dismissed the case, and in 2006 Naz foundation filed a review petition.

In 2009, in a landmark judgement Delhi HC struck down the section 377. The LGBTQ community suffered a significant blow in 2013 when the supreme court overturned the Delhi high court’s judgment. A writ petition in 2016 by Navtej Singh Johar, an award-winning Bharatanatyam dancer, and others, then in Aug 2017 the passing of SC’s verdict on privacy which identified sexual orientation as an essential attribute of privacy, and then in Sep 2018, in a unanimous decision the section 377 was read down.

The struggle was long, and the reading down of the bill was just the start. The fight to LGBT rights had just begun. Judicial reform may create an enabling platform to come out, but social realities also need to change to create safer spaces for the community, and to build a more inclusive nation. And so the conversation needs to have wider platforms.

The All India Professional Congress (AIPC) Delhi, a professional arm of the Indian National Congress (INC), endeavors to further this dialogue. The AIPC has organised a webinar ‘Identity and Dignity: A Discussion On LGBTQ Rights And The Transgender (Protection Of Rights) Act’ on July 11, evening 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM.

The panelists for the webinar are

  • Manvendra Singh Gohil : A well-known activist for LGBTQ rights and the world’s first openly gay prince.
  • Anand Grover : Founder of Lawyers Collective ; UN Special Rapporteur on Right To Health (August 2008 to July 2014) ; Lead Counsel in the Supreme Court in the Naz Foundation Case (Sec. 377 Case)
  • Kalki Subramaniam : Transgender activist, artist, poet, actor and inspirational speaker. Kalki is the founder of Sahodari Foundation, an organization which works for Indian transgender population through its powerful art projects.
  • Paras Tomar : Indian television show personality, Model, director, and entrepreneur

The webinar will cover myriad of issues ranging from (and limited to) social norms and beliefs in our society, creating safer spaces for the community, the discrimination provisions as articulated in Article 15 of the Constitution, workplace harassment and discrimination, and the role media, arts and entertainment can play in encouraging dialogue on LGBT rights and sensitizing the society on LGBTs. The webinar will also have a special focus on the Trans Rights Act, which has been widely criticized by Trans activists, and see how the Act takes the conversation on inclusion of trans people forward, or stalls it.

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