The ‘Million Voices Campaign’ is a campaign to collect voices against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, as well as various expressions on sexual rights and sexual diversity.
The campaign was launched on December 9, 2004 – the eve of Human Rights Day; and Voices hopes to put forth the diverse opinions and experiences of sexuality as a response to Section 377, as well as to counter myths and taboos about issues of sexuality in society.
Section 377, through its definition, applies to all forms of non-procreative sex between any persons. Yet, it is interpreted to apply to homosexual behaviour and is used largely by law enforcement authorities to harass and criminalize men engaging in homosexual behaviour. While it makes invisible same sex desiring women through its narrow definition of what constitutes sexual intercourse; yet it is used by social institutions including families to harass them and compel them into heterosexual marriages.
The demand to decriminalise Section 377 is an issue of social justice that everyone, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation should be concerned about – for the struggle against control of sexuality is directly linked with our struggle for women’s rights, our fight against fundamentalism, our vision of a just world, where people have the freedom to be different and yet be treated as equal. ‘Voices Against 377’ aims to raise awareness about the violation of people’s fundamental rights and specifically, the marginalization and criminalization of same-sex desiring people, including gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities enabled by this law.
‘Voices Against 377’ has launched this campaign as a means of generating dialogue and making visible the opposition to Section 377. The idea is simple. People everywhere– on the streets, at meetings, conferences, and homes – will write/draw whatever they want to about Section 377, same sex desire, sexual diversity, and sexual rights on pieces of cloth. These will finally be stitched together, like a ‘quilt’. In doing so, we hope also to strengthen our linkages and widen the spectrum of groups that walk with us – activist groups, NGOs, students, medical practitioners, legal campaigners, the works.