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Lawyers Menaka Guruswamy & Arundhati Katju, the face of historic Section 377 verdict, reveal they're a couple

SC decriminalising homosexuality in 2018 was not only a professional achievement, but also a personal win for the duo.

ET Online|
Updated: Jul 20, 2019, 02.54 PM IST
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Human Rights activist Jayshree Bajoria shared an image of Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy before Supreme Court's Section 377 ruling in 2018.
Human Rights activist Jayshree Bajoria tweeted an image of Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy before Supreme Court's Section 377 ruling in 2018.
NEW DELHI: Last year, on September 6, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of humanity by unanimously decriminalising homosexuality, a part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. India saw a new ray of hope, thanks to the leading ladies - advocates Menaka Guruswamy (44) and Arundhati Katju (36) - who argued against the discrimination and violence that the LGBTQ community faced every day.

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria of CNN, the duo opened up about being in a relationship with each other. They further expressed that the 2018 win was not only a professional achievement, but also a personal win.


The 36-year-old lawyer took part in the #SareeTwitter challenge, and posted a picture with her partner. She wrote, "Most court days you'll find me in a sari! Something about the 6 yards makes me sit up a little straighter, collect my thoughts and energy for arguments."


Before the 2018 landmark win, the apex court had upheld criminalisation of Section 377 in 2013, which was decriminalised by Delhi High Court in 2009. During the 2013 verdict, the judge had asked if the law officer knew any homosexual people. To which, the law officer laughed and said, 'I am not that modern', Guruswamy narrated.

Calling it a deeply personal loss, the 44-year-old advocate said, "It is not nice to be declared as a criminal and then return to the court to argue other cases". Adding to the 2013 loss, Katju said that the court (where they practised as lawyers) told them that gay people were second-class citizens.

Guruswamy and Katju realised that the judge had no imagination of what a gay Indian is. That day, the two decided that they would never let the LGBT Indians be invisible again.


The couple made it to the Time 100 Most Influential People list of 2019.

Love Is Love: Dutee Chand Isn't Alone; Other Sports Stars Who Came Out Of The Closet

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​Leaving The Closet Behind

29 May, 2019
By Anika Ghei The road to acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community has not been one of ease, yet gradual but significant strides are being made towards becoming a more inclusive society. An increasing number of people are now sharing their 'coming out' stories, and are often met with heartwarming reactions. This trend also prevails in India, wherein recently, Dutee Chand, a professional sprinter came out about her same-sex relationship. Being India’s first openly gay athlete, she regarded the ruling on section 377 as an impetus for her to take her relationship forward ;thereby, becoming an icon for India’s LGBT+ population. The current national champion in the women's 100 metres event, Chand remains firm in her resolve to fight for the right to marry the love of her life, and hopes to exact change in a society that is still rife with stigma. However, Dutee's story isn't isolated in its occurrence. The world of sports has seen several athletes who have become an inspiration by publicly reclaiming their sexual identities. In Pic: (clockwise from left) Dutee Chand, Billie Jean King (Instagram), Justin Fashanu (twitter/albionroar).
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