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'Human rights shouldn't be matter of sexual preference'

October 18, 2023 14:29 IST

'Isn't it important to give to us the rights that have been denied to us for decades?'

IMAGE: A member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT community) holds the Pride flag while waiting to hear the judgment on same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court in New Delhi, October 17, 2023. Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

Onir is disappointed by the Supreme Court's verdict denying legal legitimacy to same-sex marriages.

The film director doesn't mince words while expressing his hurt and disappointment.

"Let me ask the courts what is important: That all are equal in democracy or to use technical obstacles to make some less equal than others? Isn't it important to give to us the rights that have been denied for decades? When our issues are put in Parliament, it basically means nothing," Onir tells Subhash K Jha.

"The Supreme Court used the same old arguments to upturn the right of same-sex marriages that they did when gay sex was decriminalised: That homosexuality is a Western concept, that it is not part of our culture, people are not ready for it... How much longer will it take for people to be ready?"


IMAGE: Members of the LGBTQIA+ community follow the live hearing of the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage on their smartphones at the courtyard of India's apex court, October 17, 2023. Photograph: Amit Sharma/ANI Photo

But the director is happy that some good has come out of the long struggle.

"Trans men and woman can marry one another because they do not threaten the man-woman notions of marriage."

Onir astutely points out the lack of gay support from the film industry: "Who besides me has spoken to you on Tuesday's judgment? The minute you speak on gay rights, you are considered a part of the community. Why should only the gay community speak about its rights?"

"Human rights and what is right and wrong should be every community's concern. Human rights should not be a matter of sexual preference. Why isn't my film fraternity speaking up for me? We, as the queer community, speak for all marginalised people. But why do we have to speak for ourselves?"