It was a moment of great joy for many when the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality last year and upheld the freedom to love and the right to privacy. Although, it took more than 70 years of independence to get rid of the colonial era law, finally, a beginning has been made. However, people in many countries are not fortunate enough.
Early this year, Brunei caught international headlines when it introduced stoning to death for gay sex. Brunei later backtracked on this after international criticism but it raised some serious questions about freedom and privacy. The larger questions it has raised are- why do people need state’s consent before loving someone? Why can people not have sex with a person of their own sex? why is it that love is gender biased? And do people not have the freedom to choose their partners irrespective of their gender?
Probably, the answers to all these questions lie in social conditioning. From birth to death, one is taught how to behave, how to perceive and how to respond. You are taught what is natural and what is unnatural. If you try to go beyond the definitions the society has framed over the years then the backlash is inevitable. But it is interesting to see that when nature doesn’t set any boundaries, society has tied the individuals in the shackles of what is natural. For a long time, homosexuality has been considered unnatural.
This social conditioning has led to exploitation of those who don’t fit in the definition of what is natural. These people go through an extreme level of harassment on a daily basis. They are deprived of all the basic human rights like the right to live with dignity, the right to love and be loved. These people are often forced to become outlaws. It mainly happens because states often help in the stigmatization of people.
The state’s interference in the matters of individual liberty is the reason that social conditioning still prevails. If two individuals are having consensual sex then it is their private matter, they should have absolute right over their bodies. The state should have no business poking in someone’s private affair rather it should respect the right to privacy. The state shouldn’t tell the people whom you can marry and whom you cannot, it is an individual’s prerogative.
Homosexuality is still considered a taboo because society refuses to change. The state should take the lead in liberalizing the notions of freedom and privacy. Besides the state, we should also do our part. When you are a child you are taught how to differentiate between genders, you are not taught to see the person as a person but as a girl or a boy. This is the 21st century, let’s begin by changing our own thoughts first and contribute to the change in society.