‘Will our children now be seen as criminals?’
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In 2011, filmmaker Chitra Palekar was among 19 parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who came together and filed a petition in the Supreme Court to lend their support to the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexuality.
On Wednesday, when the Supreme Court set aside that verdict, the Palekars struggled to come to terms with the new reality.
"My daughter Shalmalee, who is a professor of post-colonial literature at University of Western Australia, wrote to me saying that the fight will continue," said Chitra. "She said the Supreme Court has dealt a huge blow to progression of human rights in the country. It is an opportunity lost and I am both sad and furious."
Amol Palekar said the verdict was disturbing and not just for personal reasons. "The Supreme Court's verdict is deeply saddening and a regressive step in human relationships. It's clearly about majority and minority, a game of numbers and how 'their' choices are different from 'ours'. It is not just about being parents to a homosexual child but something that threatens the core of human existence. I sincerely hope that we not just learn to accept differences and offer pity but see it with empathy," he said.
"There was such immense scope for a positive verdict, especially with other countries passing same sex marriage laws. How is it that the Supreme Court did not take cognisance of what's happening across the world? Does this now mean our children will be considered criminals?" Chitra asked.
Meanwhile in Kolkata, at a protest meet held in front of Kolkata's historic Academy of Fine Arts, parents joined their children. "I am worried about my son now again. What if he lands up behind bars now?"asked Subarana Chanda, a 67-year-old housewife who attended the protest meet with her son Moloy Guha, a Kolkata-based make-up artist.