There has to be justice outside the court, too

Oct 05, 2018, 07:55 IST | mid-day online desk

Closer home, news reports talked about how a young man decided to speak out about harassment at his former workplace after Section 377 was struck down by the Indian Supreme Court

There has to be justice outside the court, too

A gay deputy headmaster of a boys' school in Zimbabwe has resigned after death threats and pressure from parents. Reports on international websites stated that the deputy headmaster, who worked in a college in Harhare, faced threats from parents after he revealed his sexual orientation to his students at an assembly. Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe.

Closer home, news reports talked about how a young man decided to speak out about harassment at his former workplace after Section 377 was struck down by the Indian Supreme Court. After the account surfaced in newspapers, a training executive at the company was sacked. The young man called out his former boss for her bigotry and detailed how he suffered because he was gay.

These stories should resonate with us, given that tomorrow we mark one month of the SC striking down Section 377, which criminalised consensual same-sex relations between adults. We only hope that things on the ground have changed for the community here.

These accounts are sobering reminders of the challenges gay men and women continue to face in society. We want to see real change in their lives in India. Legal change is part of necessary reform. But it has to be accompanied by societal reform to really touch the lives of people here.

The message needs to percolate down to families, employers, landlords and relatives to have wide ranging effect on the community. If there is a same-sex couple who says that their life has changed in small ways — like making it easier to rent a home perhaps, then that means this judgment has really changed things. One month down the line is enough time to gauge if there is even a smidgeon of change on the ground. Let us hope real transformation has taken wing, and justice is not just on paper.

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