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We condemned Aussies when they unleashed racial attacks on Indians. We gasped in horror when we saw how inhumanely the assailers had brought injuries on the victims. Now what do we have to say when Indians themselves are proving that they are no different from those Aussie racists. Last week in Delhi, an openly homosexual man was slashed by a guy representing a religious group, in front of everyone at a gay party. (You can read the write up of the victim’s partner here.) Even though homophobia was rampant in Indian society, the recent advancements in the gay rights movement has angered many and in turn raised this hatred to an entirely new level. (Finally matching up to US standards, if I may say.)
While the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalizing gay sex between consenting adults garnered widespread positive response from within India and outside, it felt like a huge blow for a certain group who wishes to stay deaf and blind in the name of religion. This group tries hard to forget the age-old saying, "Live and let live." They make themselves believe that every nuisance they stimulate is justifiable if it is for a religious cause. And I’m afraid this could just be the beginning, and assault on homosexuals could become a trend for them to get media publicity and to spit their venomous thoughts. (Just like how a religious gang bashed women reasoning that the gals were violating traditional Indian norms. This group also created unnecessary hysteria over Valentine's Day.) Therefore all openly homosexuals in India should be alert.
Harish Iyer, one of the leading gay voices from Mumbai advices, "Keep someone informed when we travel to any place on a date or even otherwise. Keep SOS numbers (friends/parents/siblings etc.) on speed dial and train your mind for quick reflexes under the event of an attack. And at least for sometime don’t engage in PDA (public display of affection), even if the straight people do."
Weren't religions born to unite people and to bring love and compassion in us? Funny that it is now doing the exact opposite!
And as if religions were not enough, now yoga (coz every Tom, Dick and Harry is going after religion, it's time to try something new!) is used to substantiate the opinions terming that homosexuality is a disease and purely borrowed from western culture. While most of us know how ridiculous those statements are, this is just yet another application of, "Strike while the iron is hot." Anyone else wants to tell the world that we are perverts and make media appearances? Please do. Instant fame guaranteed coz our newspapers and TV channels are so dying to get your 'bites'.
We have every reason to rejoice on finally becoming non-criminals in the eyes of law. But the Delhi High Court has acknowledged our right only due to the continual and persistent efforts of Naz Foundation. They submitted the petition in 2001 and they were fighting a legal battle for eight long years to finally bring the judgement in our favour. Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider a petition seeking to repeal the High Court’s ruling, Naz Foundation is gearing up for the next battle. Let's hope and pray that the Supreme Court will uphold the High Court's decision.
Even if the law changes, the mindset of the people will not change overnight. For this to happen, we need the support of the straight community as well.
Blogosphere is a great medium to enlighten the public. Jo, even though straight, is always man enough to write about issues faced by gays in his blog whenever there happens an incident affecting homosexuals. He had also shared to his readers about the days when he and his friends used to make fun of homosexuals, what all misconceptions he had about gays, and finally realizing how wrong he was. (You can read his post here.)
The friends I came out to, are a huge support not just for me, but for the gay community as well. Phoebe and her group of friends have discussions about homosexuality in their college.
Monica tries to correct the false believes of her roommates. They were shocked when they learnt that she reads this blog and that she has a gay friend. They began to warn her about how dangerous gays are and how one should really be careful when befriending them. And these words are coming from the so-called educated IT professionals of the 21st century, residing in one of the Indian metropolitan cities.
And there is this another friend, who recently became aware of my sexual orientation. She was uber-excited hearing the Delhi High Court’s judgement. Later when I chatted with her, her words really touched me. "You are probably the only reason why I’m not against it (decriminalization of homosexuality)." She said, "I don’t think you are lying when you say you like a guy. So it’s not some mentally distorted thing, it is real. And to discriminate is like being a sexual racist."
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An Equal Love
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The Gay Parade And The Media