What’s Life After Sec 377 Like? Hear It From a Lesbian Couple

What has life been like for same-sex couples since Section 377 was read down by India’s highest court? 

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Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Producer: Vatsala Singh and Vishnu Venu

Last September, India’s highest court read down Section 377, which had criminalised homosexuality. It’s been a year since the Supreme Court’s verdict, but have things changed for same-sex couples in India?

Ria Sharma and Sanjana Sawant met through Instagram.

Ria says she always knew that she was different. But when she told her friends, they told her it was ‘dirty’, that it’s something only seen in pornography. This delayed Ria’s self-acceptance. And it didn’t finally come until she started at Jai Hind college, where she found that queer people were accepted.

Sanjana works as a career facilitator for children in an NGO. She told us that members of LGBTQIA+ community are more susceptible to mental health issues. Talking about her own experience, she said, “I can literally say that every girl who is queer has faced depression. There always comes a phase when you feel that no one will accept you, that you are wrong and you will never get a partner... that phase of life is very difficult.”

Despite the verdict, queer women with partners haven’t found social acceptance. Going out as a couple and showing affection is often met with stares and comments.

“When we started dating, it was like any other clichéd relationship. We would hold hands and, you know, be cuddly. But there have been moments when people have come up to us, asked us straightforward, ‘You’re both girls... are you dating?’”
Ria Sharma 

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