Late in the afternoon on an early spring day, the Supreme Court of India
began hearing the final arguments that would determine the legal status
of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in India. Earlier
that very week, I told my parents that I was a member of the litigation team
- and that I was gay. Without warning, I found arguments from a heated
family discussion reverberating in the chambers of a court of law.
These dialogues were inevitable: both the ones in the courtroom and
the ones with my parents. In 2009, the Indian LGBT community took its
first step towards equal sexual citizenship through the Delhi High Court's
judgment in the matter of Naz Foundation v. NCT of Delhi and Others The
Bench, comprising then Chief Justice of the High Court Justice A.P. Shah
and Justice Muralidhar, crafted a 105-page document that is considered a
landmark moment in Indian judicial history. The judgment not only empowered
a historically marginalized community, but it also laid the foundation
to strengthen other human rights struggles in the country with its expansive
reading of constitutional rights. Yet for all the revelry that
surrounded the judgment, there was an equally fierce backlash that played
out across Indian television screens as advocates for the movement faced
off with opponents from religious groups of all faiths and denominations. It
was inevitable then, that within two weeks of the decision, an appeal was
filed before the Supreme Court of India.
"The Road to Decriminalization: Litigating India's Anti-Sodomy Law,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal:
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol16/iss1/3