Around 3 years ago, the Supreme Court in India made a ruling that overturned a colonial era British law that mandated up to 10 years in prison for “unnatural offences”. It was Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and it made homosexual acts illegal. Well, some groups are (still) not happy with this ruling and are asking the Supreme Court of India to re-examine their decision:
On the second day of hearing on 16 petitions challenging the Delhi high court verdict decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, a bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukopadhya said homosexuality should be viewed in the context of changing society.
It seems doubtful that the Supreme Court would overturn their decision, especially given the tone the Justices took with respects to the issue. But this is still something to watch out for.
Part of what is interesting about this battle however, is that it really is true that anti-gay attitudes were (to some extent) exported from Europe to colonies during the age of colonialism. We saw this take place in Africa perhaps more visibly than anywhere else. Before European colonists carved up the continent and imposed their values on natives, there wasn’t much in the way of rampant anti-gay bigotry in many areas of Africa. That’s not to say every African society viewed homosexuality the same way, but the imposition of harsh, cruel punishments in legal codes and the wave of homophobia that has gripped parts of that continent are remnants of colonialism just the same as the part of the Penal Code in India that was struck down was a remnant of British colonialism; imposed on India’s native population to “Christianize” them. This is just one of the many horrific legacies that still clings on in many places as a result of the European Colonial legacy.