Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) in collaboration with Haryana (Panchkula) Police organized a sensitization meeting for police officials in relation to recent decriminalization of adult consensual same-sex relations. This event was attended by law enforcement officials, media, civil society organizations, Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society, community leaders and champions. The key message delivered in this event was that human rights are universal and it is applicable to each and every one in respect of one’s religion, caste, color, race, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity.
Mr. Vinod Kapoor, President, FPA India, Panchkula, gave the welcome address. Mr. Umesh Aradhya, National President, FPA India and Chairperson IPPF SAR gave introduction of FPA India. Mr. Mukul Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, delivered his special message that the India judiciary in the recent months has made several progressive judgements, including justice to the community of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people). Decriminalization of adult consensual same-sex relations (repeal of Section-377) has promoted the security and rights of LGBT community.
Mr. Varun Kumar Anand, Regional Director (Acting) IPPF SAR, said that repeal of Section 377 has provided justice to LGBT community. He said that sexuality is one’s natural orientation and one’s dignity need to be protected, and concluded his speech that we must, “Love and show Love to all humans”.
Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, FPA India, delivered a key note on adult consensual same-sex relations and the police should support people who are marginalized and being discriminated for who they are.
The respected chief guest Mrs. Charu Bali IPS, Commissioner of Police delivered her precious words that that in our society it is important how we must treat all people with dignity. Police should not have stereotyped views on marginalized communities, including sexual and gender minorities.
Ms. Amita Dhanu, ASG- Programs FPA India, said that India is the 125th country that have laws that protect the rights of adult same-sex attracted people.
Dr. Venkatesan Chakrapani, Senior fellow, PGIMER, provided background information about same-sex attracted people and transgender people. During his talk, based on the scientific evidence, emphasized that “same-sex sexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality”. He also provided evidence from research studies in India on stigma and discrimination faced by same-sex attracted people and transgender people from family, society, health care providers and law enforcement personnel.
Ms. Mohini, transgender activist, a founder member of Mansa Foundation shared her views that transgender people should be provided opportunities in all spheres of life so that they can achieve their full potential and be part of and contribute to the society.
Mr. Madan, Secretary, Manasa Foundation Society, shared a few highlights of 2018 supreme court verdict on Section-377. He also spoke regarding few petitions and the judges who contributed towards decriminalization of Section-377. He shared his views regarding the scope for further rights like one can now challenge discrimination in various settings such as housing, health, relationships property, employment and education.
Ms. Anita Batra invited the panelists for the panel discussion – “Towards creating a stigma and discrimination-free environment”. Ms. Bindiya Nimla, Director Advocacy FPA India and Dr. Venkatesan Chakrapani were the moderators for panel discussion. Panelists were: Dr. Vanita Gupta, Project Director, CSACS; Mr. Saurabh Mago, Assistant Advocate General, Haryana; Ms. Mohini and Mr. Madan from Manasa Foundation Welfare Society; and Aman Kumar, member of Saksham Trust. During the session the panelists highlighted stigma and discrimination faced by same-sex attracted people and trans people, and pointed out that legal change should be followed by social change. And they pointed out the need for similar sensitization meetings with all ranks of police, as well as campaigns to promote family acceptance. Panelists called for steps to be taken to remove discrimination in schools/colleges, workplace, family, health care settings and from law enforcement personnel.
Finally, this event was concluded with heartfelt thanks given by Mr. Manoj Kumar, General Manager, FPA India, Panchkula