Sushant Divgikar reflects on the 5th Anniversary of Section 377 Decriminalization: A personal journey of emotion and progress
Five years have passed since the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down Section 377, a law that criminalized homos*xuality in India. On the occasion of this significant fifth anniversary, Sushant Divgikar, an accomplished actor and singer who is also known for their drag persona Rani KoHEnur, took the stage in the city to celebrate. For Sushant, this milestone holds deep personal significance, as it represents the end of years of discrimination and the beginning of a more inclusive era.
In a recent interview, Sushant talked about it recalling the historic day when Section 377 was decriminalized. “I was with my mother, watching TV. I never expected the judgment to come in our favor. I thought I would have to continue the fight for my rights indefinitely. But it happened when I was in my twenties. My mom and I were overwhelmed with emotion, just hugging and crying. For her, it was a momentous occasion that signified, ‘Your child matters.’ It was a deeply emotional moment for me, and I couldn’t stop my tears,” Sushant reminisces.
Reflecting on the changes that have occurred over the past five years, this former Bigg Boss Season 8 contestant acknowledges the positive impact of queer social workers. “There have been significant changes, largely thanks to the efforts of LGBTQ+ activists. One noticeable change is the increased representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Corporations have also stepped up their game. While the focus used to be on ‘Diversity and Inclusion,’ we now see a shift towards ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.’ These changes are slowly becoming part of our existence. People have become accustomed to seeing transgender individuals confidently express themselves in English,” Sushant observes.
As part of the celebration, Sushant delivered a captivating 60-minute performance at Kitty Su, The Lalit in Mumbai, featuring popular hits like “Mayya Mayya,” “Mehboob Mere,” “Piyaa Tu,” and “Aap Jaisa Koi.” Sushant’s motivation for performing is clear: “I perform to connect with the audience and receive their applause. I sing to resonate with their energy,” they emphasize. Notably, Sushant’s journey as a drag artist began at the same venue in 2016. “This is where I was born as a drag artist. I ensure that I give my best performances here because this place holds sentimental value,” Sushant adds.
Despite their success, Sushant remains grounded and emphasizes the importance of valuing the work of the entire crew involved in their performances. “From the beginning, I’ve been clear about my expectations. When I come for a job, my entire crew comes with me. Why should they work for free? I want to commend Keshav (Suri) for his understanding and support in this matter. Not everyone is as accommodating,” Sushant concludes, highlighting the significance of recognizing and respecting the efforts of the entire team.