Independence Day 2020: For LGBTQI+, freedom is... - Hindustan Times
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Independence Day 2020: For LGBTQI+, freedom is...

Hindustan Times, Delhi | BySanchita Kalra
Aug 15, 2020 02:22 PM IST

As we celebrate our 74th Independence Day today, members of the LGBTQI+ and activists tell us what freedom is for them

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.

Respect, solidarity and equal rights are some of the things that denote freedom to the LGBTQI+(Photo: Samir Jana/HT. For representational purpose only.)
Respect, solidarity and equal rights are some of the things that denote freedom to the LGBTQI+(Photo: Samir Jana/HT. For representational purpose only.)

“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.

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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.

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