31 Dec 2014

Call Against Patriarchy : Defying Edition 377

Route: Beside Academy Of Fine Arts

Time: 07 PM onwards

Kolkata, December 30, 2014: A diverse gathering of artists, academicians, activists and support forums working on women’s and child rights, rights of the disabled, youth concerns, queer rights, mental health and education issues will gather tomorrow evening 31st December (7-10 pm) outside the Academy of Fine Arts to “celebrate” even in the face of regressive laws like Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. In welcoming the New Year with hope and determination to carry on the fight for justice, they will also usher in what will hopefully catch on as an integrated and inclusive approach to activism around not just queer issues, but other human rights concerns as well – an approach based on greater mutual understanding, strategic collaboration and solidarity between different rights movements.
While Samrat Sengupta, Assistant Professor and Head of the Department – English, Kharagpur College and Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata will talk about the celebration of multiple identities to fight back patriarchy, fusion music band X-Raf will present Indian classical and folk music in a contemporary style. A fashion show that questions gender norms that inform the clothes we wear will be complemented by a freeze mob by Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival to protest Section 377, standup comedy by Trisha Roy and a skit by Amitie’ Trust. Representatives of Sruti Disability Rights Centre, feminist NGO Sanlaap, RAHI (which works with women survivors of incest and child sexual abuse) and Prantakatha (which focuses on youth development) are expected to speak on the occasion. There will be another Fashion show by a group called Love Triangle portraying the non-sensical aspect of IPC 377. Through trans pop music and a creative popped up choreography they will express the scars faced and the pride they have in being what they are and why 377 should be removed.
More than a year has gone by since the 11.12.13 verdict of the Supreme Court of India that overturned a Delhi High Court ruling of 2009 and reinstated Section 377. In this period, NGOs working on health and rights projects have documented hundreds of rights violations faced by queer individuals across the country. Many of these violations were connected to Section 377 or other regressive laws on vagrancy and public nuisance that criminalize queer communities, especially individuals who are seen to be transgressing gender norms. The matter of several hundred arrests under Section 377 in the last one year across India recently came up in the Parliament as well, though it is not clear how many of these are related to adult consensual sex.
The Supreme Court verdict did not just recriminalize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but it criminalized anyone, who irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation, practiced non penile-vaginal penetrative sex. Mutual consent between adults did not count, as also “miniscule numbers” of queer people in a verdict widely criticized for undermining India’s constitutional principles. These issues “connect” the matter of Section 377 to other forms of social oppression that stigmatize anyone who is non-normative, be it in terms of class, caste, race or religion. Therein lies the need for different movements to join forces for social change. 

Program Schedule Final

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