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SOC Students Celebrate Equality and Abolishment of Section 377 – The Manipal Journal
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SOC Students Celebrate Equality and Abolishment of Section 377

MANIPAL: The students of School of Communication (SOC) conducted an ally march starting from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) Edu building on October 16 to celebrate the decriminalisation of homosexuality under section 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), which had previously criminalised all sexual activities ‘against the order of nature’, including intercourse between people of the same sex, as a pre-event for their upcoming media fest called Article-19.

Article-19 is one of the oldest core communication fest in India organised by SOC, MAHE and focuses on the idea of freedom of speech with ‘Freedom Your Right’ as its slogan. In two consecutive years, Article-19 has organised three ally marches in support of the LGBTQ community.

The third edition of this ally march this year began with an address given by the guest, Sana Shree who is the face of LGBTQ activism in Karnataka. The speech was organised by the college itself to enlighten the students about the struggles in the life of the members of the LGBTQ community.

 

Sana Sri was one of the leading petitioners against section 377 in the Supreme Court. || Photograph Courtesy: Aditi Desai

 

Sana talked about her childhood, especially the physical and psychological abuse that she went through only because her parents were unable to accept her identity and thought that her behaviour was just a reaction to some bad omen. She asked the students a simple question- “Who is a transgender?” On receiving a long definition, she replied by saying that, “They are only humans and they do not need articulated words to describe them.” She spoke about September 6, 2018, the day section 377 was decriminalised, calling it as the Independence day for the LGBTQ community.

Post the talk, around 150 students from various colleges of MAHE gathered in front of the Edu building sporting bright colours and painted faces to reflect the colours of the pride flag. Unlike previous years when the ally march was organised in support of the LGBTQ community, this year it was organised to celebrate the victory with the community. Students were seen carrying the pride flag and posters with quotes supporting the LGBTQ community. They were joined by Sana Sri herself, and they marched for 1.5 kilo-meters till the parade reached School of Communication at the end. The ally march resonated with slogans like – “1234 open up your closet door, 5678 don’t assume your kids are straight” and “hey hey ho ho, homophobia gotta go.”

 

The students had come up with several strong slogans questioning the social stigma against the community. || Photograph Courtesy: Aradhika Jain

 

Saiyan Tomar, a third year student of Kasturba Medical College (KMC) said, “Now we have the constitution with us, so people should be more aware of the whole scenario and be loving and accepting of the people of LGBTQ community.”

“It’s a disappointment that Section 377 was removed only in 2018. It could have happened a lot sooner.” said Annapoorna Chakravarti, another third year student of KMC. She further added, “The fight is not over yet. There are still a lot of people who don’t know what the issue is,” referring to the stigma which is present in the society.

 

Feature Image Courtesy: Aradhika Jain

Edited by: Niharika Nambiar

Priyasha Anand

priyashaanandsmiles@gmail.com

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