News / Asia

India’s Gay Community Fights for Acceptance, Equality

India's Gay Community Fights for Acceptance, Equalityi
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April 12, 2013
Indian activists are listening closely as the U.S. Supreme Court debates the issue of same sex marriage. VOA New Delhi correspondent Aru Pande takes a closer look at progress made on the issue of gay rights in India, nearly four years after a key court ruling that decriminalized homosexual sex.

India's Gay Community Fights for Acceptance, Equality

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Aru Pande
— Indian activists are listening closely as the U.S. Supreme Court debates the issue of same sex marriage. Activists are assessing progress made on the issue of gay rights in India, nearly four years after a Indian key court ruling that decriminalized homosexual sex.

As a gay man in India, life has not been easy for Kiran. He left his home in the Andaman Islands and came to New Delhi two years ago, after years of ridicule from teachers, students and members of his own family.
 
The discrimination and feeling of being an outcast was not limited to his personal life. “When my employer found out that I am homosexual, they fired me from my job - saying you look and act gay and we can’t keep you here,” Kiran said.
 
Kiran found work, hope and support at the Naz Foundation, a non-governmental organization working with people who have HIV and AIDS.
 
Anjali Gopalan founded the group in 1994 to work with men whom she says had no gay identity and were getting married to women to conform to societal norms.
 
“To me, it became very clear the impact on the lives of women and children. It took on a great urgency. I believe people who don’t value themselves will not protect themselves from HIV,” Gopalan said.

She decided to focus her efforts on repealing the law criminalizing homosexual sex after speaking with a 20-year old who underwent shock therapy at a major Delhi hospital in order to “become straight.”
 
The nearly decade-long effort paid off with the Delhi High Court declaring the law unconstitutional in 2009. Gopalan says the ruling has tremendous impact.
 
“No longer could we as a culture, sweep homosexuality under the carpet by saying ‘oh, it’s a Western phenomenon, it doesn’t impact us, it doesn’t exist in India and the little bit that exists is because of the West, it’s not an Indian thing,” Gopalan said.
 
Lawyer and gay rights activist Aditya Bondyopadhyay agrees.  He says the ruling means police are less likely to harass gay men in public parks -- but more importantly - that homosexuals are less afraid of coming out.
 
“What has happened since the judgment is that enormous, exuberant force of people have become unleashed, it’s like the genie getting out of the bottle and can not be put back again.  People have certainly tasted that liberty, so you have film festivals, even small towns that never dreamt of having gay pride parades are having them,” Bondyopadhyay said.
 
Still, gay rights activists say the fight is far from over.
 
Conservative groups are challenging the ruling that decriminalized homosexual sex in the Indian Supreme Court. Until that issue is settled, activists say they cannot press for same-sex marriage and other rights.

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Comments
     
by: srinivas from: hyderabad
May 09, 2013 10:07 PM
I am a gay .. I will fight till my end


by: Grant MacDonald from: Toronto
April 22, 2013 9:03 AM
Being left-handed – being black or being gay is just as natural. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it is love between two guys or two girls … all the better … it takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!


by: Amara Das from: USA
April 21, 2013 3:17 PM
Homosexual couples have existed since time immemorial and the Kama Shastra (2.9.36) mentions that such couples "greatly attached to each other and with complete faith in one another, get married together." It is only a Christian and Muslim idea that homosexuals should be oppressed and eliminated from society. Because otherwise in the Hindu conception, Bhagavan (God) loves and cares for everyone in His creation.


by: Omo from: Nigeria
April 15, 2013 2:39 PM
This world is passing away. All this useless talk about same sex marriage is a clear indication that the world government is confused and is heading towards an eternal damnation. Pray that God will deliver us from this evil generation. The reason God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah has come into our own time. If the land of Sodom and Gomorrah was not spared in those days, nothing can spare this generation fro the coming wrath of God. Repent and believe the Lord Jesus Christ anf you will be saved.


by: Van from: VN
April 14, 2013 11:12 PM
Homosexual marriages do not usually live together in a long time. And why are they bored quickly although they had fights with the goverment, social ... before.
And homosexual marriages , are they true love ??? Gay or les , are you serious ?

In Response

by: ner ner thema
April 21, 2013 11:45 AM
True love? Seriously? Do you know the stats for divorce rates for them "heterosexual marriages"?


by: Ameer Tarin from: UK
April 13, 2013 4:36 AM
India is the largest democracy and is on the march. People have their rights and so should gay people be allowed their rights. All right thinking people must support these individual rights and pressurize Indian government prove to the world that India believes in equality for all.


by: ravi from: chennai
April 12, 2013 4:19 PM
Honorable SC reserved its verdict last year itselfin March 2012. One yr gone stil the verdict is not thr. IS thr any time limit to it?

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