Section 377 of the British colonial penal code punished all sexual acts "against the order of nature". This law was used to punish people who performed oral and anal sex. This law also punished homosexual. The penal code remains in many former colonies and has been used to criminalize third gender people, such as the apwint in Myanmar. In 2018, British politician Theresa May acknowledged how the legacies of British colonial anti-sodomy laws continue to persist today in the form of discrimination, violence, and death.
Colonial history[change | change source]
Although Section 377 did not explicitly include the word homosexual, it has been used to prosecute homosexual activity. The provision was introduced by authorities in the Raj in 1862 as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and functioned as the legal impetus behind the criminalization of what was referred to as, "unnatural offenses" throughout the various colonies, in several cases with the same section number.
Remains[change | change source]
- Singapore: amended in 2007 as Section 377A. Now any sexual act between men is illegal, and any sexual act between a man and a woman or between women is legal. See Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore.
- Sri Lanka (as Section 365)
References[change | change source]
- Chua, Lynette J.; Gilbert, David (2016). "State violence, human-rights violations and the case of apwint of Myanmar". Gender, Violence and the State in Asia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781317325949.
- Rao, Rahul (2020). Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality. Oxford University Press. pp. 7–9. ISBN 9780190865535.
- Stoddard, Eve; Collins, John (2016). Social and Cultural Foundations in Global Studies. Taylor & Francis. p. 135. ISBN 9781317509776.
- McCann, Hannah; Monaghan, Whitney (2020). Queer Theory Now. Red Globe Press. p. 163. ISBN 9781352007510.
- Elliott, Josh (6 September 2018). "India legalized homosexuality, but many of its neighbours haven't". Global News. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
- "Singapore reforms sex laws - but not for homosexuals". The Guardian. 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- "Section 377A in Singapore and the (De)Criminalization of Homosexuality" (PDF). National University of Singapore. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
Section 377A only criminalizes sex between males, but not between females.