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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.