Maharashtra is set to launch a state queer network for LGBTIQA, (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual community on May 17 on the occasion of International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
Bindumadhav Khire, Director, Bindu Queer Rights Foundation, is leading this initiative and perhaps this is the first network of its kind in the state.
In 2014 the Supreme Court gave the right of identification to transgenders as ‘third gender’. Since then, a progressive Transgender (Protection of Persons) Rights Act was enacted in 2019. In 2018, Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalised consensual intercourse ‘against the order of nature (non-procreative intercourse) between two adults, was declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This was a drawback in development for gay and transgender rights,
This network will support the movement in terms of advocacy and strengthening and expansion of rights as there some lacking in legal advocacy in Prohibition of Conversion Therapy, gay marriage, anti-discriminatory law for gays and bisexuals, adoption and surrogacy rights etc. Apart from that there is lack of inclusive education for police personnel, medical personnel and political leaders; inclusive policy in government departments, local bodies and corporates, etc. and empowering local social structures.
The network will engage in legal advocacy on issues like gay marriage and inclusive medical and health curriculum, empowering social structures and nurturing new LGBTIQA activists, groups, organisations etc. Special issues, including online registration of transgender for transgender ID and certificate and awareness and sensitization on various queer and non-binary identities, will also be undertaken by the network.