The Right to Love Campaign: Helping to Give Us All The Right To Love
According to the dictionary, love is a passionate affection for another person. No gender is specified in the dictionary, but the world and our societies have put limitations on whom we can and cannot love. India, a conservative and tradition-bound country, has had a hard time accepting this idea, and gay and lesbian couples are widely considered illegitimate and shameful.
In December 2013, India’s Supreme Court reinstated a 153 year old colonial law banning gay sex. This law, Section 377, calls same-sex relationships an “unnatural offence” and makes homosexual relationships punishable by a 10-year jail term. The law, though rarely enforced, makes it easier for police officers and the public to harass and threaten gay and lesbian couples. The response to this law by the gay-rights community, however, has been swift and powerful. Days after Section 377 was reinstated, thousands of gay activists gathered in the nation’s capital to protest this unfair law. These campaigns are still happening, and more and more people are calling for acceptance and the repeal of the law. One new and prominent campaign is the Right to Love group.
What is Right to Love?
Founded by a group of Indian student activists from Jamia Millia Islamia, the website documents true stories of gay couples from across the country. Each episode of the group’s web series chronicles a different story of struggle, abuse from the public, and the determination of two people who love each other to be together out in the open. According to Tahir Ahmed, co-founder of the website, ” Right to Love is not just about the right to have sex with a consenting adult. We are talking about all the other rights too—be it the right to marry, the right to own property as a gay couple, the right to economic equality as a homosexual.” The goal of the website is to spread awareness of the hardships people face simply because of who they love. As said on the webpage, “Love shouldn’t need a justification at all. It is our right.”