News / Asia

India’s Gay Community Fights for Acceptance, Equality

India's Gay Community Fights for Acceptance, Equalityi
X
April 12, 2013 4:50 PM
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
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.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs