National Consultation on Interfaith Engagement with Human Sexuality and Gender Diversity
July 13-14, YMCA Tourist Hostel, New Delhi
While awaiting the judgement of the Honourable Supreme Court of India on Sec 377 of IPC — we the participants of the National Consultation on Interfaith Engagement with Human Gender, Sexes and Sexuality Diversities — organised by Aneka, Bangalore; and the National Council of Churches in India –ESHA, Nagpur; held in Delhi from 13th to 14thof July 2018; declare the following statement as an affirmation of our conviction — that human beings with diverse genders, sexes and sexuality minorities are God’s creation and are a part of natural order. This affirmation is done in the context of LGBTQHI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Hijada, Intersexual) phobia that attempts to criminalize gender, sexual and sexuality minorities in India.
We believe that love is the basis of all religions and hatred can have no place. However, historically there have been dominant interpretations that have been used to perpetuate oppressive systems against these minorities. As a result, gender, sexual and sexuality minorities are often rejected and alienated by many religious leaders and faith communities.
The insensitive response of different religious communities to the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict (to read down Indian Penal Code Section 377) is an example of the prevalent expressions of LGBTQHI+ phobia in the country. Such expressions, however, are often perceived as general expressions of the concerned faith communities, which is far from reality. We also witnessed the emergence of solidarity networks, inspired by religious faiths, upholding the rights of gender, sexual and sexuality minorities during this period. In a similar spirit, we commend the Honourable Supreme Court of India for furthering the rights to privacy as a fundamental right for every citizen, irrespective of gender, sexual and sexuality identities.
We see faith leaders and faith communities as allies and not as adversaries. We therefore recognise the need to understand and celebrate gender, sexual and sexuality identities within their respective faith perspectives. Through the deliberations of this consultation, we have come to recognise the innate ability of each faith community to understand, accept and celebrate gender, sexual and sexuality identities. We thereby recognise the presence of such identities within each faith community and encourage faith leaders to acknowledge, accept, nurture and continue conversations in the most inclusive manner.
It is to this endeavor and vision, we, the participants of this consultation, commit ourselves to demand for the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and also demand the scrapping of several state laws that are harmful to the gender, sexual and sexuality minorities; including the problematic Karnataka Police Act: Section 36 (A); and The Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Eunuchs Act, 1329 F; etc.
Participants of the Consultation