Bollywood Stars Speak Up Against the Return of Section 377- the Law that makes “Love” a Criminal Offence

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Bollywood has famously advocated loving fearlessly without any barriers and to facing any obstacles that appear.

For instance “Jab Pyar Kiya Tau Darna Kya” (Why be frightened if you are in love?) was evoked through Mughal-E-Azam(1960) .

Raj fearlessly pursued his Simran , regardless of having to face the fury of a traditional Indian father, from London to India in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995).

Karan Johar had introduced homosexuality on the Bollywood screen through Dostana(2008).

Although Dostana was set within a heterosexual framework, the film portrayed the message that sexuality is not a choice.

Dostana also depicted a traditional Indian mother accepting her gay son.

Just when it seemed that LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) rights in India were improving, the situation has extremely regressed.

On the 11th of December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court made the human right to love freely, subject and conditional to an archaic law: Section 377.

According to this law, homosexuality in India is once again, a “criminal offence”.

Implemented by the British in colonial India 1861, the law was finally decriminalised in 2009 following a seven year legal battle.

This victory for human rights had been described by gay rights organisations as “a landmark ruling”.

It is a shame that some have forgotten that love is a human right.

Love does not judge, have a gender, a religion or any rules. It just happens. Just as you don’t get to choose the colour of your skin, or what family you are born into, you do not get to choose your sexuality.

Being LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) and South Asian is challenging- even life threatening.

With the burden of family honour and shame, a prevalent factor within South Asian society worldwide, many LGBTQ persons choose never to embrace and explore who they truly are and many do so in frightened secrecy with real danger to their livelihood: many are “honour” killed for being LGBTQ and many commit suicide.

The return of Section 377 has marked not only what Human Rights Watch poignantly described as “a setback in human dignity”, but a serious obstacle for every Indian LGBTQ person and supporter.

Section 377’s return must be challenged and questioned.

Portraying their support for LGBTQ South Asians and their disgust at Section 377, many Bollywood celebrities expressed their thoughts at the reimplementation of Section 377 (following quoted from “Bollywood Life”):

Karan Johar: Section 377 is not just a violation of human rights but also makes democracy seem like a mirage in our country.

Reema Kagti : Love n support to all the people who woke up this morning to d news that they r criminals again. The Supreme Court verdict ABSOLUTELY SUCKS

Celina Jaitly: I cannot believe Supreme Court’s decision. I have been in shock since it came. Such a contradiction of democracy.

Madhur Bhandarkar: Just when we thought we are looking into the future, comes a judgment that treats us like we are in the stone age. The disappointment is justified.

Farhan Akhtar: The Supreme Court got it wrong today. #Sec377

Chetan Bhagat: What?! Consensual gay sex ruled illegal in 2014? Shows you how badly India needs new young leaders with a modern outlook.

Shruti Haasan: 11.12.13 a day that reminds us how blatant regressing and oppressing someone has become – plan b move bedroom to another planet and time.

Sudhir Mishra: The decision declaring gay consensual sex illegal betrays a primitive Victorian mind. It is certainly not Indian.

Kunal Kohli: On 11-12-13 Supreme Court goes back to the medieval ages with Section 377.

Anupam Kher: We obviously don’t believe in equal rights even in the times when we send Mangalayan to Mars.

Kalki Koechlin: Supreme Court’s job is to uphold the right and freedom of every individual, not to decide what is culturally acceptable or not. In this case they failed.

Shruti Seth: So while the world is trying to legalise gay marriage, here’s what we’re doing as a nation. Such a disgrace!

Riteish Deshmukh: Supreme Mis-judgement.

Nikhil Advani: Welcome to the medieval ages! It was only a matter of time.

Neha Dhupia: How can love be illegal?

Rahul Bose: So much for those believing the judiciary is ‘the last bastion of common sense’ in this country.

Vinay Pathak: Supreme Court – Straight or scared!

Milap Zaveri: Nothing supreme about the court’s decision. Shocked and disappointed at the anti-gay verdict.

Shirish Kunder: Personally, I’ve no problem with same-sex relationships, as long as it’s not compulsory.

Vir Das: Today is 11.12.13. Unless you work in our Supreme Court, in which case it’s the year 1826.

Sandhya Mridul: The courts are unfortunately only following the law of the land, which are as old as the dinosaurs. Blame the legislature more than Supreme Court!

Hansal Mehta: Does India not have a single gay judge? Or does being gay mean that you can only be unfairly judged?

Siddharth: India is a bigot nation. I pray that every person who tries to deny another person their rights gets IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). Bigots beware.

Richa Chadda: The Supreme Court criminalises love, again. Sad day.

Nachiket Barve: The problems of this world are because of what happens ‘without consent’ rather than what happens between ‘consenting adults’! wake up!

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