'Arrest Me, Because I Will Continue to be a Gay Indian'

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By Harish Iyer | December 14, 2013 4:44 PM EST

At 10 am on 11 December 2013, I was all excited. The Supreme Court of India was supposed to issue a verdict on Section 377.

We had won this freedom after a period of continuous struggle. On 2 July 2009, the Delhi high court ruled that sex between adults with consent in private is legal. Besides the right to make love, the Delhi High Court recognised me as an equal voice. We were hopeful  of something positive.

When the verdict came, I was giving an interview to a TV channel. I heard the verdict patiently. The verdict was not in our favour. The Supreme Court went back to the colonial law of Section 377, which criminalised carnal intercourse against the order of nature with a penalty attracting imprisonment ranging from 10 years to life. It didn't attempt to define what "order of nature" was. So in effect, sex that's not penal-vaginal was against the order of nature. I screamed in a fit of rage - ARREST ME.

"Arrest me, because I will continue to be gay.
Arrest me for I will undoubtedly continue having sex with individuals of my own gender. 
Arrest me because being gay is a part of the complete me and I refuse to hide in the veil of heterosexuality to fit in a "society".
Arrest me because I will not marry a woman to appear normal - as you define it. Arrest me because I rebel. I rebel against the fact that you can be so judgmental about me.
Arrest me because the unrest that I feel right now within, of being treated as a second class citizen in what is touted as the biggest democracy, will not be put to rest until I get my freedom to be me.
Arrest me, because I would rather be in jail for being myself, than look at the mirror and see a face that I don't recognise.
Arrest me, arrest me because you now have the right to do so. You have the right to peep into my bedroom and see that I make love.
Arrest me because now that you know that I am gay. And you know that I will be so, I am breaking a law. Though it is not illegal to be gay still, the ruling by the court says that, I can't be a "practicing" homosexual.

Arrest me. Arrest me because I am being referred to as a "minuscule minority" in the judgment that was issued, and I admit, I am just a number, a small number that has no right to desires.
Arrest me, so that you could keep an eye on me in the prison cell, for if let loose, I could have sex with members of my own gender.
Arrest me because I continue to live in a country that has failed me by denying me my basic democratic right to privacy, to a life of dignity.
Arrest me for I would rather be in the prison than watch my young homosexual-bisexual-transgender friends who attempt to peep out of the closet being pushed deep inside the black hole of discrimination, making it difficult for them to confirm and affirm their sexuality.
Arrest me for I don't want to be a witness to the number of forced marriages that my friends would be subjected to, and forced into a life long imprisonment with a lie that they will live.
Arrest me simply because my body, my conscience and science as a whole doesn't allow me to follow the diktat that you have imposed on me.
Arrest me for I feel ashamed that I live in a country where marital rape is legal, and consensual sex with an adult of my own gender is a crime that attracts a punishment that rapists attract.

Arrest me for I will continue my struggle, I will not give up my fight.
Arrest me because I will see that I rise up from the shame and be regain my right to dignity  that the constitution of my country  grants me.
Arrest me, because I may be a minuscule minority in your eyes, but this minuscule minority is a formidable voice that refuses to  be lost in the sound of hate.

Arrest me. For I am gay. I am a gay Indian. And I will be gay. I will make love to men. I am not gay because I don't have any other way to be, I am gay, simply because I am gay.

(Harish Iyer is a prominent equal rights activist in India. He is the only Indian featuring in the world pride powerlist at #71, a list of the 100 most influential LGBT persons in the world. The opinions expressed here are his own.)

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