Law school's report says that LGBT people have ‘increased self-confidence’ since 2009's decriminalisation of gay sex.
A report from a top law school in India has found there's been greater societal acceptance and a decrease of police harassment of LGBT people since the decriminalisation of gay sex in 2009.
Delhi's Jindal Global Law School's report said: ‘There is a growing societal acceptance for Gay, MSM and Kothi [trans] men. Many respondents (LGBT members) stated that the societal perception of homosexuals is changing and people were treating them with respect’.
The report was compiled from face-to-face interviews with 32 LGBT people in Delhi from February to October 2011. ‘It is evident from the study that decriminalization of section 377 has led to increased self-confidence and self-acceptance amongst the respondents,’ the report said. ‘Some respondents also reported that they could now argue with the police since they know there is no section 377 in the law books any more’.
Under section 377 of the Indian penal code gay sex was punishable by up to life imprisonment but in 2009 the high court in Delhi decriminalised the act among consenting adults in private.
The decision is currently being debated in the supreme court in Delhi, where anti-gay rights groups have brought petitions challenging the 2009 verdict. The law school said that preliminary interviews from their report were submitted to the supreme court for the debate.
Professor Dipika Jain, the report's author, said: ‘It is evident from the study that there has been a positive impact on the LGBT community in Delhi and a country wide decriminalisation is bound to positively impact the lives of this community and their right to live with dignity.’
One of the aspects currently being debated in the supreme court is whether the 2009 ruling applies only to Delhi or to the whole country.
But Rajneesh Langer, project officer for Badlaav Samiti, an LGBT support and HIV awareness organisation in Indore in central India, says that a change in attitudes to gay people is only happening in big cities, not in comparatively small cities like Indore.
‘If you got to metros like Bombay, Delhi and big cities, the scene is entirely different,’ Langer told Gay Star News. ‘But small cities haven’t moved forward. One of my staff, whenever he goes out on the street people stare at him and make fun of him. They know that we are gay so they’ll make fun of us.’