Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature, with any man, woman or animal shall be punishable with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
IPC 377 criminalizes any penetrative sex that does not lead to reproduction, thereby criminalizing sexual expression by homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals. Even though this section does not lead often to filing of court cases against sexuality minorities, it becomes a powerful weapon in the hands of police and goondas to harass, abuse, extort and torture sexuality minorities routinely. This law forms the structural basis for the widespread stigma, discrimination, marginalization and prejudice against sexuality minorities in our society.
Their human rights are routinely violated by police, goondas, health care providers, families and other state/non-state actors and access to redressal mechanisms are hindered by their criminal status. As our laws recognize only heterosexual marriages, the right to marriage and family is denied to same-sex couples and transsexuals. This along with various civil laws overtly and covertly deny sexuality minorities their rights to inheritance, property, insurance, ESI, EPF, gratuity, workmens compensation, pension, housing, adoption etc.
Repealing IPC 377 will become a precondition in demanding changes to various civil laws. Already the Law Commission of India in its 172nd report (on reviewing rape laws) and recently the Planning Commission of India have recommended the repeal of IPC 377.
Additionally, our laws do not recognize sex-change. Most rights including right to education , employment, housing economic opportunities, health, mobility, marriage, adoption, ration card, passport etc. are denied to hijras and other transsexuals, as they cannot prove their identities, their birth certificates and their present identities do not match. Recognizing sex-change and establishing procedures becomes the first step towards getting citizenship rights to transsexuals.