Imagining Queer Futures Within Judicial Constraints

A recent study published in PLOS medicine pointed towards how social support has positive health outcomes for people with various ailments (including heart ailments, inflammatory diseases), increasing their possibility of survival by 20-29%. By denying us to commune with those whom we identify as our chosen families, the State effectively denies us access to health in more ways than one.

“No one is dying due to lack of marriage registration,” said the Centre to Delhi HC on the urgency of same-sex marriage hearing.

Except maybe they are. Marriage gives partners the right to officially be listed as next of kin and make medical decisions on their spouse’s behalf. Amidst this pandemic, queer health is being blatantly de-prioritized (even as we struggle with systemic inefficacy) and for those of us who have been following this case with bated breath, it seems more than a tad bit intentional as well.

A recent study published in PLOS medicine pointed towards how social support has positive health outcomes for people with various ailments (including heart ailments, inflammatory diseases), increasing their possibility of survival by 20-29%. By denying us to commune with those whom we identify as our chosen families, the State effectively denies us access to health in more ways than one.

Which brings us to the protection of polycules, a conscious and consensual community of polyamorous people whose relationship stray far from the monogamous ideal that has been crafted and promoted by the State. What of their safety? Will legitimizing queer marriages also extend to legally recognizing such forms of communing?

The hearing at Delhi HC has now been adjourned to July 6, 2021.

A few days ago, queer relationships were dealt with yet another blow when distinct benches at the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed contradictory verdicts on offering people in live-in relationships protection as it would disturb the ‘entire social fabric of the society’. The justification given by the Haryana State Counsel was that although it is not prohibited by law, it is frowned upon by society…and therefore any anticipated violence from such a society can be allowed to happen?

Going forward the P&H HC has requested the intervention of a larger bench to enquire into whether such couples have the right to protection and the grounds on which the judiciary may decline such requests.

For years, the mainstream media has spun narratives about how Khap Panchayats in rural India were the ones that sanctioned honour killings and other forms of harm upon those who entered relationships that went against the norm of the society.

Today, we are confronted by a Centre that refuses to give us the blessings to enter consensual marital contracts and States that refuse to offer us protection when we fail to solemnise our relationships through marriage. The relationships that fall through these cracks are queer, inter-caste, and inter-faith (which makes one wonder whether the queerness umbrella can be extended in the Indian context to include such unions).

We feel stifled in our ability to imagine safe, joyful queer futures as they hang in the balance, in the hope that the agents of a cis-het-Brahm system will sympathize with our cause and do us a favour by allowing us to live our collective lives consensually and in mutual communing.

About the author

Tejaswi Subramanian

Tejaswi is journalist and researcher whose attention is captured by post-colonial human relationships at a time of the Internet of Things. She can't wait to become a full-time potter soon, though!