Global Day of Rage NYC (Photo credit Abeer Hoque)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 17, 2013


Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA Chairperson,

Jeremy De Nieva, Co-Coordinator, BAYAN USA Queer Caucus,

GABRIELA-USA and the BAYAN USA Queer Caucus stand in solidarity with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) community of the Indian diaspora, as well as those who endlessly fight to preserve dignity and human rights for all people globally. Just one day following International Human Rights Day, the Supreme Court of India reinstated a law making homosexuality a criminal offense punishable up to a life-term.  Known as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the law overturns a Delhi high court verdict in 2009 that decriminalized consensual sex between same-sex adults. This ruling impacts everyone globally who value bodily safety, self-determination, liberation, are against colonialism, imperialism, and state repression.

GABRIELA-USA and the BAYAN USA Queer Caucus vehemently condemn this ruling as it violates private, consensual sexual conduct between adults, and enshrines gender discrimination.  This ruling is a significant setback to all the work that LGBTQI activists continually fight for. “It is imperative that we not only focus solely on the issue of marriage as a platform for addressing issues of basic human rights for the LGBTQI community as the mainstream LGBTQI movement has been emphasizing; rather, we should be addressing the root causes of injustice, as we are witnessing the backward undoing of civil rights gains – all due to short-sighted band aid solutions,” states Irma Bajar, Vice-Chair of International Relations of GABRIELA-USA.

BAYAN USA Queer Caucus Co-coordinator, Jeremy De Nieva, asserts, “The top court ruling that validates the Indian Penal Code Section 377 is a major threat to the humanity of LGBTQI communities and people all over the world. In connection to the United States and Philippines, the ruling is another cop-out justification for further mass incarceration to be added to the long laundry list of inhumane, political reasons for why one could be put in prison, which includes that of having different political beliefs, being a person of color, and immigration status among many others. The root of such policies and enforcement lies in the desire for capitalist profit that corporations and the state monopolize and gain from virtually free prison labor, which is rapidly proliferating.”

In addition to the criminalizing of consensual acts between adults, we anticipate the inevitable backlash from the broader community as a result of the overturning of Section 377, which legitimizes hate crime violence without any legal protection. Police violence, abuse, and harassment will be on the rise as they continue to target the Trans and Gender Non Conforming community, sex workers, and poor people. This reality goes beyond Section 377.

“If we are against the profit being made by the government in these prisons being funneled into the astronomical military budget rather than for education, health care, disaster preparedness and relief, and other social services, then we must also be against the colonial IPC Section 377. If we are against modern-day slavery, we must also rise up against the criminalization of LGBTQI communities,” concludes Bajar. GABRIELA USA and the BAYAN USA Queer Caucus demands justice and liberation for all LGBTQI people globally, and the basic human right to work, healthcare, safety, love with dignity without fearing for their lives. We demand an end to profiling, harassment, abuse, and brutality at the hands of the police and the state, and we stand in solidarity with the people in India who are rising up to demand that the Indian Penal Code Section 377 be overturned.