Social Attitude To The LGBTQ Community In India

LGBTQ is a community known around the world who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. These individuals are entitled to and should be given the same rights and freedoms as heterosexual people. LGBTQ young people have had to deal with many homophobic challenges in communities and within their own cultures that have also come into conflict with ones rights and freedoms. The LGBTQ community in India, as recently as only a month ago, has finally had same sex relationships legalized. Before this, same sex relationships were taboo. In India, almost all of their laws went hand in hand with their religious beliefs, including laws regarding same sex relationships.

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The law banning this, created by the British in 1861, said that sex between people of the same sex was against the order of nature. Now almost 200 years later in India, five Supreme Court justices has unanimously “ruled that the law was a weapon used to harass members of India’s gay community and resulted in discrimination” (Sharma). Although the LGBTQ community recognizes that they still have a long way to go until they are fully accepted in India, and around the world, they danced and waved flagged outside the courtroom to celebrate this important milestone. A sociologist who may examine this social issue would look at the influences the Indian government had when deciding whether or not they should decriminalize same sex relationships and would look at why and how the opinion of the Indian society changed. For a long time the society viewed same sex relationships as criminal, so a sociologist would examine the different influences the society encountered that changed their views. Enough people in India must have been influenced to want to make this change, and in turn advocated for the government to strike down the law criminalizing same sex relationships. One influence a sociologist might look at is the affect of other countries, who already decriminalized same sex relationships, had on India. India’s laws and the government system still heavily reflected and was influenced by their religious values and belief, including, until recently, the thoughts regarding same sex relationships.

The Indian religion strictly prohibited same sex relationships and because of this, they believed their laws should reflect this. As a result, the process of decriminalizing same sex relationships was hindered, due to the fact that the Indian government did not want to go against it’s religion. Other countries, like Canada and the Unites States, became a secular government system early on, making the decision to decriminalize same sex relationships easier as their religious beliefs did not dictate the laws they put into place. A sociologist could argue that this could have influenced Indias decision to decriminalize same sex relationships as many other countries have already done it so India though they should to. A research method sociologists in India could use are surveys. The sociologist conducting the survey would be able to collect a diverse range of people’s opinions, attitudes, and beliefs towards same sex relationships India, in a time efficient way. The school of thought that relates and could more readily apply to issue of same sex relationships being legalized in India is Conflict Theory. Conflict theory is school of thought with a diverse range of theories that place a emphasis on social division rather than unity. This theory believes that society is divided into a variety of different social classes with different resources, the ones with power and the ones without power, that are in a constant state of struggle with one another (Sociology, Samson Sept 2018). A conflict theorist would say that the Indian government represents/has the power, while the LGBTQ community represents/has no power. The Indian government used their power to define what they believed should be social norms, based on their own religion and beliefs, criminalizing the things that they felt did not meet the social expectations that had been put in place. As a result of the power being used by the Indian government, people in the LGBTQ community were being denied rights that heterosexual couples benefited from. A conflict theorist would argue that heterosexuals have more powerful positions within society, believing the LGBT community is inferior to heterosexuals (Credo Reference).

As a result, heterosexuals will create laws that reflect their opinion. The Indian government was most likely composed of heterosexuals, who criminalized same sex relationships to benefit themselves and to eliminate the LGBT community, as homosexuality was frowned upon by Indian religion and the majority of the society. A conflict theorists would say the solution to solving the problems in regards to the LGBTQ+ community and their rights, or the next steps to this, would be to stop the harassment and discrimination exhibited towards the LGBTQ+ community. To do this, the government can use their power to create laws that criminalize the discrimination against LGBTQ people. A short prison sentence can be given to someone guilty of homophobia and transphobia. Switzerland, ranked 22 out of 49 European nations on ILGA Europe’s ranking of LGBTQ friendly countries, just recently passed the law criminalizing anti-LGBTQ actions. “Decisions like Switzerland’s are exciting [as] they follow on the heels of landmark pro-LGBTQ decisions in India, Australia, Trinidad, Tobago and the EU, but show the world’s slow crawl of progress” (Goldfine). Adding laws against the discrimination of LGBTQ people, protect them against religious abuse. They will ensure that religions cannot coerce anyone in LGBTQ community to do conversion therapy. This forces religions to accept LGBTQ people, instead of trying to change them into something they are not.

15 April 2020

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