#377: Psychologically Fit or Not?

“A five-judge Supreme Court Constitution bench on Thursday, 6th September 2018 unanimously decriminalised consensual gay sex. The apex court termed part of IPC’s Section 377, which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary. The court also partly struck down Section 377 as violative of the right to equality.

The historic judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs.

The Centre had said that the other aspects of the statute dealing with any kind of sexual activity with minors and animals shall remain a penal offence under Section 377 of the IPC.

Section 377 of IPC was a weapon to harass members of LGBT community, resulting in discrimination. However, the apex court said that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of freedom of speech and expression. It said that the homosexual community has the same rights as everyone else.

All the 5 judges on the constitution bench, led by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, concurred on the matter.

Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

The field of psychology has extensively studied homosexuality as a human sexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a disorder in the DSM-I in 1952. However, as a result of this scientific research, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM-II in 1973.

The World Health Organization, which listed homosexuality in the ICD-9 in 1977, removed homosexuality from the ICD-10 which was endorsed by the 43rd World Health Assembly on 17 May 1990.

In India according to the post in 2014,“Based on existing scientific evidence and good practice guidelines from the field of psychiatry, Indian Psychiatric Society would like to state that there is no evidence to substantiate the belief that homosexuality is a mental illness or a disease. IPS will issue a more detailed statement in due course of time”.

#377: psychologically fit or not

It is one struggle (albeit extremely paramount) to decriminalize and accept different sexualities as a norm legally and a completely different and far more difficult battle for an individual to accept their own sexuality and to come out.

The process of accepting one’s sexuality, for some people, has been described as an emotional rollercoaster.

This rollercoaster is characterized with periods of highs filled with confidence and a desire to come out of the closet, followed by periods of lows filled with confusion and fear.

You are not alone in this process. It can help to speak with someone who has gone through the stages of coming out before and understands your feelings.

Accepting our sexuality involves more than just the realization of feelings towards the same sex and generally, there are stages to coming out.

It often involves a period of denial, rejection of feelings, anxiety, anger, feelings of low Self- Worth and Self- Esteem, fear, feelings of being away from the norm, of being different, online counseling and maybe even a renewed religious commitment in order to overcome these feelings.

Hopefully, a period of acceptance will follow these feelings of stress and grief.

Telling Others You’re Sexuality

While coming out and talking about being homosexual, bisexual, transexual, asexual or even questioning your sexuality to others is a slow process, it generally starts with a close friend or family member.

Rejection by this person may cause a huge drop in the progress you have made towards the self-recognition stage of coming out (the coming out stage wherein you recognize your sexuality); however, acceptance by this person generally leads to an increase in self-esteem and confidence.

Socialization with Others

Socialization with others of the same sexuality or of a different sexuality who are more supportive as it gives a sense of inclusion to a new world, erasing feelings of loneliness.

Pride and self-esteem are built through acceptance, validation and support. Contact with positive role models especially ones who have been through same or similar struggles can be very influential and beneficial.

Positive Self-Identification

This stage of coming out is simply about seeking out other positive emotional relationships and finding a comfort level with oneself regarding your sexuality.

Integration and Acceptance

Even if you are quietly open regarding your sexuality, you can still be readily available to help support others with their struggles.

In general, at this stage of coming out, couples live happily and seek other couples to socialize with.

“Homosexuality is found in over 450 species, Homophobia is found in only one”

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