The words independence and freedom mean different things to different people. And as we celebrate our 74th Independence Day today, members of the LGBTQI+ and activists tell us what freedom is for them.
“As a law-abiding citizen, we should have same the rights, equality and justice in the law of the land, where the constitution is the highest book,” says Aryan Pasha, a lawyer by profession, who is also India’s first transman body builder.
Freedom is synonymous with respect for who we are, solidarity from non-LGBTQI+ people, opines Divya Dureja, a counselling psychologist and LGBTQIA+ wellness advocate. “Freedom will truly actualise the day we have constitutionally guaranteed rights to marry same-sex partners, give birth and adopt, be able to move and breathe without worrying about being met with violence for wanting to live a joyful, fulfilling life,” she adds.
Rishi Raj, an activist for LGBTQIAP+ and Dalit rights, feels that freedom and independence aren’t directly proportional, adding, “People are still struggling to express and be themselves. There is a certain degree of freedom, but not absolute.”
Independence connotes equity for Abhina Aher, a trans activist, who believes rights and responsibilities of transgenders “need to be restored.”
While equal rights activist Harish Iyer says independence is living life to the fullest, freedom — to LGBTQI+ rights activist Ashok Row Kavi — means being who he is. “It means being a citizen of India with full citizenship entitlement, freedom to marry, adopt or access to surrogacy. Everybody should have it, not just us,” he adds.
Interact with author/sanchita_kalra.
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