New Delhi: ‘Sweekar – The Rainbow Parents’, a support group for parents of LGBTQIA+, by parents of LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual) have written an open letter to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud appealing for “marriage equality”. The letter comes at a time when a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and Justices SK Kaul, Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha, is hearing a batch of 20 petitions seeking to legalise same sex marriage. The bench is hearing requests since April 18, something that the Centre is vehemently opposing.
In their letter, rainbow parents shared their aspirations and wrote,
We desire to see our children and our children-in-law find legal acceptance for their relationship under the Special Marriages Act in our country. We are certain that a nation as big as ours, which respects its diversity and stands for the value of inclusion, will open its legal gates of marriage equality to our children too.
The letter further hinted at the long fight of people from the LGBTQIA+ community and their families and read,
We are growing old. Some of us will touch 80 soon. We hope that we get to see the legal stamp on the rainbow marriages of our children in our lifetime.
The plea acknowledges the journey of ‘rainbow parents’ of unlearning and learning and accepting their children for who they are. It reads,
From knowing about gender and sexuality, to understanding the lives of our children, to finally accepting their sexuality and their loved one – we have gone through the whole gamut of emotions.
The group of parents empathised with those who are opposing marriage equality currently, “because some of us were there too.” What brought the change? Well, for rainbow parents, it was “education, debate and patience with LGBTQIA+ children to realise that their lives, their feelings and their desires are valid”.
The rainbow parents hope that those who oppose marriage equality will come around too. They wrote,
We have faith in the people of India, the constitution and the democracy of our nation.
On April 15, 2014, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court acknowledged a third gender that is neither male nor female and asked the government to ensure that transgenders get job quotas and facilities like passports and driving licenses. Four years later, in August 2018, the SC struck down IPC Section 377 which criminalised homosexuality.
Sharing their thoughts on decriminalising homosexuality, the rainbow parents stated,
On September 6, 2018, the honourable Supreme Court of India read down section 377 to decriminalise consensual sexual relationships, and in doing so, with its statements, ascertained that our children should be treated with dignity and acceptance.
The group of parents believe that as a result of this, gender and sexuality made it to election manifestos and corporate India has also begun opening up gradually to the idea of queer lives. They further add,
Society is a changing and evolving phenomenon. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the judgement by the honourable Supreme Court created a ripple effect on society and has helped move the needle from hate to tolerance to acceptance.
The parents have an earnest desire and hope for their plea to be accepted. The Supreme Court has been hearing the matter for five days now.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.