Model United Nations for starters is an academic activity where students learn about diplomacy and international relations by doing roleplay delegates and is usually held by colleges or high schools.
So I was one of the many students from our school who participated in that venerable event held in Delhi Public School, Bhopal. I was a bit tensed since it was for the first time that I was participating in an IIMUN conference. We were given a total of 12 Committees, out of which one was to be selected. It included UN Security Council, UN Women, UNESCO, Lok Sabha, UNDP, just to name a few. Soon I realised that the topic under each committee were as serious as this whole event was. I skimmed through the list and selected Lok Sabha Committee. Its Agenda: The Question of LGBT Rights in India with emphasis on the amendment to the Section 377. Boy , it required me to do an extensive research on the topic, which I did diligently. It was a 2 day event (barring the opening day where it was all dance and music). Now I was ready to voice my support for the LGBT group, but alas, that was not to be. I was unfortunately given a party which did not support the LGBT. I was thrown into a quandary straight away.
After much deliberations with my party members, I was convinced that I should do what my party demands me to do, even though it was completely opposite to my ideology. We also had an English test the very same day in our school which was to begin at 8.00 am till 10.00 am. Since the reporting time was 9.30 am at the IIMUN conference, we finished our test in an hour (I guess you can make out how my exam went) and left for the conference. I was a bit late, but gladly didn’t miss much. They apprised us of all the rules and regulation and the decorum which had to be maintained.
I looked around and saw around fifty members , all waiting eagerly for the debate to begin and step into it. Firstly, every member was given a chance to put up their views on the topic in 90 seconds and then had to answer the questions which others raised related to the speech. I paid a lot of attention to their speech and was impressed by both sides’ way of articulating their views. I was not given those 90 seconds on that day since the Chair decided to move swiftly on to the debates.
Now there was a girl, who was a member of the Congress party (which supports the sexual rights of the LGBT). I’d like to call her the ‘beast’. She was very vociferous, but at the same time made a strong impact. She would churn out some beautiful Hindi poems out of nowhere which would be enough to give a boost to the Congress members and provided them a good enough reason to bang the tables.
Now to put things into perspective for you all, the Supreme Court of India had upheld Section 377 of the Indian Constitution in the year 2013 which criminalizes the sexual intercourse of the LGBT saying that it goes against the order of the nature and is a punishable offense.
However, On 24 August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the Right to Privacy was a fundamental right, called for equality and condemned discrimination, stating that the protection of sexual orientation lies at the core of the fundamental rights and that the rights of the LGBT population are real and founded on constitutional doctrine
So I guess you could make out how serious the whole debate was. Now coming back, I tried to make some points from our side. Firstly, the nation arguably was not prepared to handle this radical change at such a short time period and it requires spreading awareness regarding this minuscule population and about their sexual orientation. Secondly, I objected the view that we were against the LGBT community and that too coming from a party which had ruled India for more than 60 years. Their whole argument could be summed up by the popular saying of Texas – All hats and no cattle.
Thirdly, Section 377 also criminalized paedophilia (sex with a child), necrophilia (sex with the dead) and bestiality (sex with an animal) which were very important clauses and should not be repealed.
I even presented the views of Mahatma Gandhi. He had once said that nurturing love towards the same gender is the worst form of doctrine to preach anywhere.
When some self-proclaimed god-men go to jail for their misdoings, cities often experience unrest because then their followers take law into their hands and indulge in violence, killings and cause great damage to public property, then how can we expect the large chunk of extremists and even conservatives to accept it without experiencing any turbulence.
Then, of course, there were counter arguments which we had to deal with. Apart from the ‘beast’, there was also a girl sitting at the last bench of the first row who unlike ‘beast’ was raising very pointed and valid points which even I appreciated (obviously not openly). She talked about how Section 377 was against Article 21 (Right to Life and Liberty), Article 14 (Equality before Law) and Article 15 (Prohibition of Discrimination on the basis of Caste, religion or gender).
She even asserted that giving LGBT its due rights will also increase the adoption rate in India, which is always a welcome sign. She said that Section 377 is the biggest impediment for LGBT community in having access to health services because of fear of prosecution under the law.
Though I had developed a bit of an animosity towards her, but I respect the fact that she used to dig deep into her reservoir and make some more potent remarks. Later, the ‘beast’ went on to create a big controversy in the room which according to me was avoidable.
To know what all happened there, stay tuned till my next blog post. Thank you for stopping by.
P.S. Please don’t judge me by the things I had said there. As I told you all, I strongly support them and my heart goes out to all those people who are still fighting for their rights. Thanks.