Protection of LGBTQ+ Community from Police Harassment: A Requisite Step taken by the Tamil Nadu Government

May 12, 2022, 7:50 p.m.   n22saha  
Pens of Law students    

AUTHOR'S PROFILE: Nishka Kapoor is currently an undergraduate student at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. She is interested in Human Rights, Gender Studies, and Constitutional Law. The views expressed are personal.

The landmark judgment [i], which decriminalized homosexuality in India, was a significant step in promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. It ought to remove prejudices and stereotypes based on gender identity, and most sections of society welcomed the step. However, some more work still needs to be done to create awareness about gender equality in the country.

One of the most progressive states in the country in terms of providing equal rights to people belonging to the LGBTQ community, Tamil Nadu has taken some of the very essential and crucial steps to make the state inclusive, and very recently, it amended a provision to protect the LGBT+ people from police harassment, this law is a vital step in sensitizing the society towards the people now confining to the gender binary.

Birth of ‘Inclusive India’

In 2014, people belonging to the transgender community in the country were recognized as ‘third gender’ in NALSAR v. Union of India[ii]. This judgment is of paramount importance because it was one of the earliest steps to make the country more inclusive and create awareness about gender equality. This decision also laid down several guidelines for removing the stigma associated with people not confining to the gender binary and creating public awareness about their rights; this was done to ensure that people from the LGBTQ community get proper representation in the public arena and can exercise their rights without any hindrance.

Despite NALSAR’s judgment reiterating the rights of the LGBTQ community and putting more focus on societal aspects of recognizing them and accepting them as they are without discriminating against them based on gender identity, still more work needs to be done to sensitize the society. While there has been progressing globally and locally in creating a safe space for the LGBTQ community, societies have started to become more sensitive towards them. However, we still hear about many incidents where people belonging to LGBTQ face discrimination, violence, abuse, and harassment on the stereotypes formed about them. So, there is still a long way to become a completely gender-inclusive society, and it will be achieved soon when both government and society work together to protect their rights.

The struggle of LGBTQ+ for Societal Acceptance in India

Despite various judgments and laws reiterating the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in the country, they face several difficulties because they do not confine to the gender binary and are often the victims of unequal and unlawful treatment because of stereotypes about gender identity other than ‘male’ and ‘female’.

This discrimination and gender stereotyping have led many people belonging to the LGBTQ+ to be in a ‘closet’ despite four years of the decriminalization of Section 377 in the country; the reason behind this is the lack of acceptance they face. Many people in society still don’t accept them or don’t want to accept them because of the deeply entrenched inequality against them[iii]. Gender identity and sexual orientation are one’s choices, and they shouldn’t be imposed on anyone. Everyone is entitled to this right, meaning everyone has a right to identify themselves with any gender they want to and not only to the gender binary. They shouldn’t be discriminated against it.

It has been seen in the country and worldwide that people belonging to LGBTQ+ continue to face setbacks and still struggle to have and uphold the rights that people confined to the gender binary have. Because of that, they face discrimination and unlawful treatment in almost all the social aspects such as healthcare, schools, jobs, and even unlawful arrest, torture, and killings. Many are even denied recognition because apparently, they are considered “unnatural”, the reason being, that they don’t identify themselves as ‘male’ or ‘female’.

Among these, one of the major ongoing difficulties that the LGBTQ+ community faces are that of police harassment against them[iv]. So majorly, they face this discrimination because of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and it’s because of the beliefs that people have formed because of the stereotypes and myths about them. Such discrimination and verbal and physical abuse burn the bridges between them and the authorities. It also weakens the community's trust in the system meant to protect everyone.

There have been several incidents in India where people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community were harassed by police. For example, in Kolkata, a gay man on his way was forced by two Civic Police Volunteer Force on a bike to accompany them to the nearby police station. They verbally and physically assaulted him when he refused and forced him onto their bike. And without knowing the crime when he was taken to the police station. The police officers and volunteers asked him inappropriate questions and made derogatory remarks about his gender and sexual identity and told him that because he doesn’t confine himself as a ‘male’, they thought he had bad intentions and arrested him.

Recently, in January this year, a similar incident occurred in Tripura where four LGBTQ friends came out from a hotel, and a photojournalist and a few policemen started asking them questions about their gender identity and sexual orientation and gender shaming them. They were forcefully taken to the West Agartala Women Police station, where again they faced verbal abuse by the police officers, and they were also forced to write a statement that they would never cross-dress, and if they did, they might be arrested.

Despite both the NALSA judgment and decriminalization of Section 377 emphasizing gender equality and sensitization towards non-straight identities, such discrimination based on gender and stereotypes formed against them happen and these are some of the many such incidents and the way to stop these unlawful activities there should be proper legislation which puts an end to these practices.

Human Rights are for Everyone irrespective of the gender identity

The verbal and physical abuse against the people from the LGBTQ+ community by law enforcers and authorities in society undermines their trust, which fails the implementation of laws to meet the needs of the people in society. These incidents also show the urgent need to create gender awareness in the public sphere and sensitize law enforcement authorities toward people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Such unlawful and indiscriminate incidents violate the major human and fundamental rights of these individuals. Such as the Right to Equality, is one of the significant rights that everyone is entitled to irrespective of gender, class, caste, race, color, etc and it is safeguarded under Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution as well under Article7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also violated Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which gives every individual Right to Life, and in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India[ix]. The Supreme Court held that the Right to Live is not merely a physical right but includes within its ambit the Right to Live with Human Dignity[x], and unlawfully arresting and abusing people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community does violate their Right to Live with Human Dignity. And even article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of a person, but such unlawful treatment majorly goes against the basic rights of the people. And when such cases are not reported by the LGBTQ+ people and they are not able to open up about incidents because most parts of the society do not accept them and so they might not be heard, this adversely affects Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which provides every individual Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. [v] [vi] [vii] [viii]

It is necessary to firstly, enforce the existing legal protection that LGBTQ+ people have, meaning the protection of their existing fundamental and constitutional rights. This can be ensured by adopting a mechanism to check if the laws are being implemented properly and are reaching the targeted audience and are beneficial to those who genuinely need them. And the other step that could be taken to protect the LGBTQ+ community against cops’ harassment could be by making legal provisions for the same and they should be explicit, meaning should be followed properly and puts a stop to this discrimination. Harassment by police goes against Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states about the security of a person, and that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrests. Making legal provisions on this matter is vital as it would most importantly help in upholding the human rights of people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, help build a bridge between them and authorities and make society more accepting.

Tamil Nadu - Progressive state in promotion of LGBTQ+ rights

Tamil Nadu has been one of the most progressive states in protecting LGBTQ+ rights in the country[xi]. The state has launched many programs and schemes for the welfare of the LGBT community and also to make society inclusive and more accepting of them. The state legalized same sex-sexual activities in 2018. It is also the first state that gave transgender access to free sex reassignment surgery in government hospitals and was also the state that banned the inhuman and unlawful practice of conversion therapy and banned sex-selective surgery on intersex infants.

Recently, in February this year, Tamil Nadu became the first in the country that amend existing laws to protect the LGBTQ+ community and its NGOs from harassment by cops [xii]. This decision came in the case where a lesbian couple was harassed by police and they went missing after this incident. And so, this decision came to spread awareness about homosexuality, and stop any form of discrimination against them.

This is a very significant decision in sensitizing police toward LGBTQ+ and reducing abuse against them. And if this law is implemented properly, it would help people from the LGBTQ+ community to open up about their identity and sexual orientation and would also be a vital step in upholding their primary fundamental and human rights.

Disclaimer- “The author undertakes that the work submitted is an original creation of the author. The author has not previously submitted the article for the purpose of publication. Any similarity with previously published content is not intentional. The author shall be personally liable for any infringement of intellectual property of any person, organization, government or institution”














Liked the article ?
Share this:


india ads tv ads ban proposal anti ageing creams government 2006 micro small review big India Juvenile Justice rights Women justice Jurisdiction Constitution caa secularism amendment sedition Arbitration consumer complaint filing international laws wildlife protection animal laws USA china women empowerment pornography legal prostitution sex trafficking laws legalising Economy Measures RBI Coronavirus Reserve Bank of India stability coronavirus impact liquidity shantikanta das monetary policy repo rate moratorium disinformation fake news state of frenzy social media anger hate issue EpidemicDiseaseAct uniformcivilcode equality secular illegalimmigrants immigration assisteddying euthanasia police brutality custodial violence police efforts jail separation divorce hindu marriage family laws economic slowdown unemployment percapitaincome inflation GDP growth aggregate demand commercial surrogacy bill armed forces equal rights landmark judgement indian army transgender living conditions third gender Disability rights rape law Criminal law IPC Internship Program regulatory sandbox IRDA framework IRDA guidelines live environment RBI regulations pollution womeninmates punishment sexualassault wrongfulconvictions IPR EnvironmentLaws JudicialActivism Jurisprudence Internship singleparent adoption niti manthan prison reforms Niti manthan e-fradus cyber crimes It Laws Medico legal aid Media technology and democracy legal literacy Body Offences Housing infrastructure indian law fine global laws right to health fundamental right article 21 Indian penal code criminal law crimes against women rapecases IntellectualPropertyRights Trademark NuclearSecurity Cyberlaws judiciary petitions mercy petition review petition curative petition zero draft human rights business United nations ADR Law mediation negotiation conciliation Mahatama Gandhi economics technology technological unemployment network online consumption production working remotely law of sedition article 19 right to freedom and expression moblynching violence offence animalrights gayparenting pronouns fundamental duties Indian law Constitution of India covid19 criminal justice system constitutional administrative litigation Courts order commission report speedy trial Corrections legal aid legislature Police Successionlaw casestudy SARFAESI e-debate maritalrape 498A IPC Misuse nirbhaya rape case death penalty deterent theory covid-19 force majuere events Force Majeure Clauses coronavirus outbreak doctorine of frustration clauses contract UAPA 2019 Review indigenous people LabourLaws Familylaw dowry death white collar crimes plea bargaining menstruation myths defamation forgery events Results Phase 2 trespass homosexuality mental health intellectual property rights Patent rights crimes lockdown child abuse traditional crime crime rate phishing ransomware cybercrime malware domestic violence doctoring lis pendens applicability conditions insensitive media coverage Muslims media Death murder News channel ayodhya judgement Group Discussion Exceprts naturaljustice legalprincipals Supremecourt crpc Bail Legalethics legal guidelines telemedicine legal issues Laws Section 269 Section 270 cholera privacy concern Divorce Muslim Women retention of property yemen conflict competition law enforcement 10 years administrativelaw PiracyLaw juvenile justice EIA Draft 2020 30th June 2020 Environmental Impact Assessment Climate Change Laws Dissent Research Group juvenile crimes Administration environment conservation Sustainable Oceans Énvironment Appointments Service laws Compassionate Appointments policy legislation webinar scientist climatologist report policy change TPA property patent law section 144 principles of natural justice justice delayed instant justice work from home InformationTechnology persons with disabilities discrimination health girls disease community duties individual contemporary world common interests duality MRTP Act Indian economy competition commission of india Competition Act appraisal singaporean court section 377 Navtej singh judgement IHL war crimes humanitarian law ipc beyond india extra territorial jurisdiction wife maintenance desertion marriage #digital strike #cyber security chinese apps #chinese apps #ad-hoc arbitration #institutional arbitration #environmental law #environment #human rights #strict liability Lok Adalats US-India Abortion laws Live-in-relationships Indian Judiciary Universal Healthcare Rules Based World Order. YL3 victim dying declaration wish last wish truth balanced cooperative bank sarfaesi act Internet Ban Censorship Website Ban #DPSP #state #covid #IP black money racism Skin colour Political system Unrest accountability Jammu and Kashmir Article 370 Abrogation Kidnapping and Abduction Indo-Nepal brutality dk basu guidelines Conflict Changing dynamics democracy international disputes prostitution in India extradition laws and treaties Surrogacy laws case study Law and Order society Legal Implications regulatory framework Betting Gambling Seventh Schedule Central Government Betting Laws Rights of a Man cyber delinquency Juvenile Justice Act Doctrine Part Performance Section 53-A CERC sustainable development Grid Code electricity laws electricity control Mental HealthCare Act WHO National Trust Act Disaster Mangement Indian legal Framework Female Criminality social structure Corporate Laws Corporate Veil Company Election Laws Electoral Reforms Law Commission of India Article 324 Election Commission contempt of court rule of law supreme court principle of natural justice judges criticism high court Fertility Assisted Reproductive Technology Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill Legal Evolution Literature growth goods and services Predatory Pricing Market legal remedies cryptocurrency virtual currency santhanam committee ethical behavior border military LAC Aksai Chin revenge porn FIR SC/ ST Reservation artificialintelligence Privacy privacy specialmarriageact constitutional constitutionality Article 139A Education National Education Policy HRDMinistry feminism Gender Inequality Sex god juristic personality PIL Waste Management earth nature ecosystem public trust Section 420 ASCI Advertisements Covid-19 Online Dispute Resolution dispute JusticeOnTime Cyber Space Security election Cloning Senior citizens Human Rights arrest CrPC procedural laws curative legislation Ration card Judicial Review Writ Jurisdiction Internet Covid19 indian passport foreigners-act extradition law laws in India Inheritance Laws Section 6 Domicile CLAT NLU belgium extradition treaty vicarious liability law of torts common law International Commercial Arbitration Private Defence Legal Right energy consumption national solar mission international law economic sanction tax structure Reforms NDPS Act Section64A genocide research projects internships summer school Virtual Courts Digital India NDHM Press Regulation italian-marines fishermen kerala international waters arbitration womenrights witchhunting janaushadischeme healthcare laws medical national health policy healthcare national digital health mission world health organisation legal jurisprudente draft health data management 2020 concerns drawbacks ministry of health and family affair sting operations media trial press rights right to privacy Twitter Prashant Bhushan period leave probate essentials for will will Technical biometrics Laws for women settlement mandalcommission 30 years gandhi principles Indianlegalsystem nitimanthan CELRA Climate Change Phase 3 sakshiaggarwal communication skills youcanskilldevelopment client counselling soumikghoshal sbi protest farm acts agriculture farmers anti-farmers men Executive power constitutional law Article 73 finance transparency political parties bonds Sexual Harassment Ministry of Human Resource Development Educational Reforms DNA evidence sabarimala case untouchability cruelty misuse by women gender biased 488A ban of apps section 69A tiktok app compensation section 357A state s bankruptcy Insolvency_law_committee ibc insolvency_bankruptcy_act insolvency nclt students accessibility retributive theory regulations gender equality internet #righttoeducation nuclear weapon treaty legality advisory opinion international restorative justice punishment theory copyright law distance education virtual teaching Fundamental Rights Rape SC/ST Forest Rights Act Forest Conservation bitcoin child vaccination ibc suspension financial creditors ministry of corporate affairs substantial acquisition takeover public announcement control cci out of court settlement history banking law sebi stressed assets banking regulation dispute resolution professionalism private sector fund sourcing banks publication copyright infringement publishing house penguin environmental jurisprudence 2020 indian legal system acquisition section 62 convertible investees companies act ABUSE ONLINE IPC CRIME WOMEN INDIA ONLINE ABUSE WOMEN CRIME CRIMINAL LAW registrations open competition sushruta apply extempore centre for medical and health law ethic studies medical and health law sex workers prevention religion conversion extra-territorial technological advancement cerestrial environment_protection infrastructure goa doctrineofpleasure crown Arrest code of civil procedure offender access to justice concilation remedy presidentialelections developing nations tiktok universal health coverage comedians freedom of speech and expression OTT Platforms Content Regulation Section 375 forced marriages Precautionary measures Guidelines covid crisis women assault section 353 cops andhra pradesh chief minister dream 11 economic impact online gambling salary income tax rti spam troll misinformation IT Laws data protection information technology act methods civil law section 118 kerala police act section 66a animal rights slaughter customs act CAROTAR FTA TARRIF rules of origin hardship of importer separation of power rights of animals need for amendement meagre punishment legitimacy constitutionalism liability right to healthy environment degrading environment social responsibility restructuring mergers amalgamation traffacking turkey challenge accepted outrage unity child rights rte right to education non-access conclusive proof marital relationships matrimony arbitral award thorium atomic energy act nuclear energy nuclear power atomic energy swadhar home widows vrindavan infringement comparative advertisement trademarks act income tax act non resident indians FEMA MONARCHY SIKKIM namgyal dynasty partner state ONUS guilty Burden of proof legal burden parties self defense legal right Indian constitution prostitutes Winter school International Criminal Law Ministry of Finance Welfare Digital Budget Finance Budget 2021 Democracy Coups Myanmar Voter Fraud Corruption corrupt governments voter fraud unrecognized ineffective Dictators projects development jungle capital assets funds partership water riparian basin collaboration advocate amit mazumdar soft skills advocacy terrorism massacres gun ICC ivorycoast LaurentGbagbo Space Policy Treaties Space Outer space Foreign award public policy ZERO FIR LAW hindu law INDIA PROPERTY RIGHTS DAUGHTER WOMEN RIGHTS AMENDEMENTS HINDU SUCCCESSION distributed ledger technology block chains digital age Exception 2 Habeas Corpus Case Adults Care and Protection Juvenile delinquency Medical Negligence Due Care Criminal Liability Civil Liability Stockholm Conference Uniform Civil Code Personal Laws mental disorder mental health care act advance directive bail sentence CEDAW NCRB Sexual abuse International Bill of Rights POCSO Act Comparative analysis Ted Talk Renewable Energy Trend Energy Projection advaadvance directiv,psychiatry Schedule VII of CA 2013 Amendment 2019 Companies Act 2013 CSR Promoting Innovation and Creativity World Intellectual Property Organisation Restructuring Education Global Innovation Index American Bar Association Offshoring Legal Services Legal Process Outsourcing Marital Rape executive Payment and Settlement System Act of 2007 anti-money laundering Fintech Online Education Inclusion of Technology 5+3+3+4 Design law students call for papers authors editors medical students coparcenory partition safety acts healthworker Policy change Housing Rent Model law Projects Tenancy Central Vista Project Parliament of India supreme court of India space debris Earth orbit Deportation International Law #exploitation exploitation convention equity lawyer movement public interest intoxication alcohol defence involuntary Immoral Traffic Prevention Act Shanbaug Supreme to regarding Euthanasia Difference between life 21 Article and Active Aruna Right Case Passive Court Die Killing Mercy peace challenges policies public crime medical law and ethics Due process of law Procedure established by law misrepresentation enforceability help o&ng mines act petroleum act queer 377 lgbtq anil deshmukh maharashtra shakti act shakti bill daughter personal law devolution testamentary right disturbed areas penalty consumer redressal age evaluations RTI Evidence Act Hearsay Evidence Hearsay Indian Evidence Act Bullying Malice Transferred Malice Transferred Reasonable restrictions unreasonable profits Customer’s consent Unfair trade practices Stoic Evolution of Law Stoicism Temples Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act Endowments Creditor Guarantee Contract Principal Debtor Surety Guarantor Intention Section 304 of IPC Culpable Homicide Knowledge breach of duty legal injury legal duty Negligence inter-country adoption CARA Hague Convention Right of health Sushruta Criminal case Ethics Political Parole State quasi civil social justice Sec 125 torts novus actus interveniens third party beneficiary space law isro nasa criminal trial call out culture kangaroo court extrajudicial accusation corporate social responsibility company law indemnity indemnifier indemnity holder collegium njac surveillance hacking nationalisation Bank Nationalization social control nota voters sports law stem cells research patentibility of stem cells patent Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act secrecyofballot cigarettes health awareness tobacco COTPA pardonpower president doctrineofseparability doctrineofseverability WMD Vietnam Dioxin Operation Ranch Hand Agent Orange Anthrax Family,Women,Hindu,Muslim,Divorce,Marriage Dog tracking evidence,credibility,reliability, international judicial authority chequebounce DishonorofCheque Sec138 NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS ACT,1881 anticompetitiveagreements Article 20(3) right against self-incrimination breach of contract contract law police atrocity victim compensation rehabilitation insider trading share market financial emergency Article 360 specific relief act Private International LAw foreign Judgement Recognition Bio-Medical Waste recycling health care originality ayurveda Ayurvedic treatment public health ancient medicine HIV AIDS NGOs Article 24 #PUDRvs.UOI labor Article 23 conflict between centre and state Indian Federalism concept of federalism youth offenders Tamil Nadu ethics of AI Artifiicial Intelligence karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill,2021 Language in High Courts Religion Conversion laws Pride Intersex