The right to live with human dignity is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 in India’s Constitution. It means that every person has the inalienable right to live a dignified life without discrimination.
By Alex Orué and Ross von Metzke
Five years ago, India decriminalized gay sex. Now, thanks to four couples, India’s Supreme Court is considering legalizing marriage equality. The “Right to Dignity” is at the core of the argument being presented — do you really have a right to live a dignified life without discrimination if you’re being denied the right to marry the person you love?
Since 2016, It Gets Better India has been amplifying the stories of queer people throughout the subcontinent, giving them not only dignity, but a platform to share their true and authentic selves. Following the decriminalization of gay sex, they co-funded and produced the beautiful short film Intezaar (in English, “Wait”) and asked the question… “Is a happily ever after only for a select few?”
In the five years since, they have continued to amplify stories of couples in love, giving names, faces, stories and emotions to the issue of marriage equality. And while the Supreme Court has yet to make a decision, It Gets Better India is playing a crucial role in changing hearts, minds, and history.
“It’s because of stories like Susan & Aditi’s, one of the four couples seeking legal recognition, that minds and hearts can be changed for the better,” It Gets Better Project Global Programming Coordinator Alex Orué explains. “As storytellers, we know the power behind testimonials and we are proud of our affiliate’s work in India to uplift them. Whether India’s Supreme Court’s ruling is in favor of our community or not, it’s certain that the conversation is moving in the right direction for a more just and equitable world for everyone.”
Like Alex, It Gets Better India National Coordinator Akshay Tyagi knows that sharing the stories of couples in love has been key to progress in India.
“It’s a movement which was strengthened by individual stories and experiences. We are hopeful that this will help us redefine individuality and family and will allow people to choose for themselves.”
But as folks watch the stories and connect with the couples profiled by It Gets Better India, Akshay doesn’t want them to forget the very crucial reasons why marriage equality is needed.
“Same sex partners who have been together for years often find themselves without the basic rights and privileges that are currently enjoyed by heterosexual couples who legally marry — from the sharing of health and pension benefits to hospital visitation rights,” Akshay says. “Right to dignity forms an essential part of our constitutional culture… recognition of one’s gender identity lies at the heart of the fundamental right to dignity and as established, marriage as an institution is necessary in making an individual a social being.”
– Spend time with some of the beautiful couples It Gets Better India has profiled on their Instagram and YouTube — couples like Inder and Ashish and Utkarsh and Ananya. Thank you, It Gets Better India, for help paving the way toward this powerful moment.