India’s largest and oldest community-based organisation The Humsafar Trust (Estd 1994) has launched an online petition for civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community in India, which will be submitted to the Government of India.
The petition was launched by Humsafar through a Zoom webinar as a part of the closing ceremony of pride month celebrations. Pride Month is celebrated globally to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969.
The petition demands for the following rights:
1) Recognition of same-sex marriages
2) Adoption rights for LGBTQ community
3) Inheritance rights for LGBTQ persons who are cohabiting with their partners but cannot inherit their same-sex spouse’s property
4) Right to jointly own property, take housing loans, insurance, and employment benefits to the same-sex spouse
5) Gender-neutral rape laws that recognize sexual violence on gay men, and transgender persons equally
6) Anti-Discrimination Law
Within a week of its launch, the petition has already garnered around 1,200 signatures.
Suhail Abbasi, chairperson and co-founder of The Humsafar Trust said: "The Supreme Court had delivered two historic judgements for the LGBTQ+ communities – the 2014 NALSA judgement affirmed the fundamental rights of the Transgender community and in 2018 the apex court decriminalised same-sex relations. LGBTQ+ communities in India are still deprived of basic civil rights that are available to all citizens. This petition is an urgent call for justice and equality."
Vivek Anand, CEO, The Humsafar Trust said: “In the last two years since decriminalization and reading down of Section 377, our experience shows that the number of reported instances of violence against LGBTQ+ has gone up. Many young LGBTQ+ have come out openly and that has increased their vulnerability to extortion, bullying and violence. It is imperative that our civil rights be given to us and a struggle for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ should be the way forward after the progressive judgment on Section 377 pronounced by the Supreme Court of India on 6th September 2018.”
Sowmya Gupta, Director, The Humsafar Trust said: “India is moving towards 75 glorious years of independence, and it is important to make it remarkable for all the citizens of the country by providing equal rights, which were clearly framed in Article 14 of the Constitution of India; especially for the transgender persons who have faced a lot of stigma and discrimination for a long time. I humbly urge all the policymakers to implement the NALSA judgment recommendations of the honourable Supreme Court of India by developing a constructive action plan in the framework of social acceptance, education, empowerment, employment, the welfare; to make the transgender community self-reliant in the country and allow the transgender community to contribute in the self-reliant India.”
The Humsafar Trust's international pride month celebrations had kicked off on June 5, with a virtual opening ceremony broadcast on its YouTube channel. On every weekend of June, online sessions were conducted that dealt with various subjects, including mental health, LBT perspectives, mainstreaming of LGBTQ inclusion, queer storytelling, and strengthening civil rights for LGBTQ. The videos have since reached over 1 lakh unique viewers on various platforms. The sessions garnered over 1500 registrations, while approximately 700 people participated.
The panel discussion “Strengthening Civil Rights for LGBTQ+ communities: The Way Forward” was moderated by CEO of The Humsafar Trust Vivek Anand. The esteemed panellists were co- founder and chairperson of The Humsafar Trust Suhail Abbasi, senior advocate and director of Lawyer’s Collective Anand Grover, founding trustee of Varta Trust Pawan Dhall, co-chair of Tweet Foundation Shaman Gupta, and founder of India’s first modelling agency ‘BOLD’ Rudrani Chettri.
You can sign the petition on https://www.change.org/WeTheLGBTQPeopleOfIndia