Thiruvananthapuram: The session on whether decriminalization of homosexuality has indeed made a change in society at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2019 was an eye-opener in the sense that the panelists revealed that not much has changed in Kerala society as far as the queer community is concerned. TG activist Shyama S Prabha pointed out that although Malayalis are progressive in theory, when it comes to practice, they are far behind all others, and marginilisation and isolation of the LGBT community continues.
Advocate Maya Krishnan spoke about the constitutional aspects of the verdict; heteronormative men seem to think that as long as they get their rights, no one else’s matters, she said. This hypocritical attitude is the bane of the LGBT community, but luckily the Supreme Court has decided to look past that and tend to the rights of the most marginalized of communities, she added.
Gay rights activist Jijo Kuriakose observed that diversity should include the LGBT community as well, not just different castes and creeds. Even today, the court has not mentioned same sex marriage or possibilities of adoption, he observed. No political party or anyone in a position of power has made an effort to change the attitude towards the LGBT community either he added. As a gay person, he has to constantly remind others of his identity while a heterosexual person hardly needs to.
Shyama concurred, saying that a question she often faces is whether she can bear a child, being a trans woman. But aren’t those who do no bear a child for different reasons still considered women, she asked back, recalling her days in school when she could never reveal her feelings for a classmate of the same gender, although she felt like a girl inside in every way. “They expected me to be attracted to girls, but how can I, considering the fact that I was someone who had the same feelings as a girl, who wished to dress up more beautifully than the next girl?”
When questioned on the legal possibilities of a same sex marriage, Jijo replied that the only option would be to contest the obstacles and maybe wait for four or five years before they are overcome.