Manipur: Transgender activist oppose India’s stand at UN Human Rights Council


In what may be termed as a historic decision, the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 1st created a first ever LGBT rights watchdog that may be termed as a major victory for LGBT equality advocates.The new "independent expert" will monitor "violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

But it may be worth acknowledging as to how well has India received this decision of the UN.It may be noted that India has abstained at the UN Human Rights Council voting in a 23-18 vote that accounted for 6 abstentions, the Human Rights Council with 47 members called for the creation of a three-year position for an independent expert to look into wrongdoings against gays, lesbians and transgender people.

Speaking to TNT-The Northeast Today from Manipur, Santa Khurai, General Secretary of All Manipur Nupi Manbi Association (AMaNA) expressed her dissatisfaction at India's stand. However, she also mentioned that as long as the ideologies of people in the society are not changed, it does not really matter whether India votes for or against the decision.

She added, "It is very important to have a special orientation and Gender Rights in place.More stress must be laid on proper measures to address the grievances of the transgender people which India does not have in place".

She also goes on to say that even if India votes for the UN's decision, the LGBT community will still remain ignored as long as the orthodox people are unwilling to give up their stereotypical mindset.

As per our External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, India took the decision regarding legal reality in the nation. He also added that the LGBT issue is being considered by the Supreme Court who is yet to pronounce a decision on this.

It is worthwhile to mention that the decision to create an LGBT watchdog comes weeks after Afghan-origin Omar Mateen massacred 49 people at a gay bar at Orlando in Florida.The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first people to condemn the incident based on their gender. The PM though seems to have lost a firm stand in this regard as his silence on this matter raises many eye brows.

Why does India not wish to be part of the historic decision?

India has been clinging on to the archaic British Law that has been preserved under Section 377 of the IPC that criminalises 'unnatural sex'. This has apparently made India a homophobic country.

However, the Indian Supreme Court has now granted recognition to the transgender community. Our laws now protect the 'T' of the LGBT from ill-treatment and guarantee them fundamental rights.

As for Section 377, the SC, earlier this year, appointed a five-judge bench to look into the law, thereby promising a possible change in our laws. A promise that makes LGBT Indians hopeful enough to not give up. In fact, just two days ago, LGBT celebrities filed a petition for Section 377 to be revoked.

The fact that India has abstained from taking a firm stand in the issue clearly states one thing, our nation does not think this issue is worth its time and efforts.

With transgenders fighting day-in-and out to prove their individuality and make the world more embracing towards them, this is how our Nation supports the LGBT community, by not acknowledging them.

By Shweta Raj Kanwar

(Image used only for the purpose of representation)

(The views reflected in this piece are that of the author and need not necessarily be that of TNT-The Northeast Today)