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Indian Youth Affairs Minister Suggests Government-Sponsored 'Cure' for LGBT Youth

Goa is India's fourth smallest state in population. Speaking at the opening for Goa’s 2015 National Youth Day, Goa’s sports and youth affairs minister, Ramesh Tawadkar, said that the Goan government was considering a state-sponsored program for LGBT youth similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The program, which has not been formally announced, would work to “cure” queer youth through a mixture of counseling and medical intervention.

3565_lead06"We will make them normal,” Tawadkar said. ““We will train them and (give them) medicines too.”

Tawadkar went on to explain that the Goan government has plans to carry out an extensive survey within the country’s LGBT population to better gauge the community’s social needs. As news of Tawadkar’s remarks drew the attention of the LGBT press, the minister made further statements saying that he had been misquoted.

“I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths," he explained. "Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa.”

Listen to Tawadkar's remarks AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: Tawadkar backtracks:

"I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths," Tawadkar told PTI, as local channels in Goa continued to air the footage in which he assured medical treatment to LGBT youths to make them "normal".

"Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa," the Sports and Youth Affairs minister said, a day after he was widely criticised for his statements.

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Madhu Kinnar Elected India's First Transgender Mayor

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 3.54.00 PMTransgender Independent-Mayoral Candidate Madhu Kinnar has won the mayoral election of Chhattisgarh's Raigarh Municipal Corporation by 4,537 votes against Bharatiya Janata Party member Mahaveer Guruji reports NDTV. Kinnar, a 35-year-old trans woman belonging to the Dalit community, is the first transgender person to elected as mayor of an Indian city.

Kinnar issued a statement regarding her historic win:

"People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I'll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams."

"I only spent Rs. 60,000-70,000 from my earnings during my campaign. It was the public support that encouraged me to enter the poll fray for the first time and because of their support only, I emerged as the winner."

Kinnar, whose birth name is Naresh Chauhan, studied up to eighth standard and spent most of her life in different works including collecting money from dancing and singing on trains in her youth.

The Advocate adds:

However, not everyone is celebrating Kinnar’s history-making win. "There was no Modi wave in Raigarh this time. People of Raigarh were fed up with the corruption of BJP, hence they voted for Madhu. It is not Madhu Kinnar's victory, but it's a loss of BJP," Raigarh district Congress (urban) president Narendra Negi said.

Nevertheless, Kinnar’s opposition will not contest the outcome. "We accept the decision of people and we will review it," said BJP district president Rajesh Sharma.

Last April, the Indian Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling recognizing transgender people as a third gender. 


Indian Police Detain 167 Transgender Women After Bangalore Pride Protest: VIDEO

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Indian police initiated a "crackdown" on public begging that resulted in the jailing of 167 hijras, which are transgender Indian women and also third gender identifiers, in a Hoysalas beggars colony located on the outskirts of Bangalore reports The Advocate and LGBT Indian news source Orinam. The crackdown began a day after Bangalore's Pride parade concluded. An anti-begging law enacted in 1975 under the Karnataka Prohibition of Beggary Act declares that detained beggars must go to a "relief center" for "rehabilitation" and stay there for a total of three years.

Fortunately, police later released all 167 hijras after they wrote guarantees saying that they will no longer ask strangers for money or food however, India's LGBT community believes the crackdown is a response directed toward the community after protests staged at Bangalore's Pride parade denounced the recriminalization of homosexuality that occurred in December 2013. Nearly 2,000 hijras and their supporters marched to the town hall on Wednesday to protest the actions of police after the crackdown sweep that occurred on Monday.

Orinam is calling for an inquiry, claiming that many of the hijras were not actively begging-many were going about their daily chores at the time they were taken into custody. Orinam also claims police barged into hijra homes, dragging them out onto the street. Critics of the anti-begging law claim that it makes looking poor a criminal act, leaving hijras susceptible to incarceration because they're often considered "untouchables," that do not have access to certain forms and levels of employment. Although all 167 of those detained were quickly released, many are fearful that hijra arrests will continue in the coming weeks.

The news come as nearly a thousand LGBT advocates and allies marched through New Delhi today, the first parade in the Indian capital since the Supreme Court recriminalized homosexuality.  

Film maker and photographer Luigi Storto released a trailer almost a year ago for his film "Naleena," about hijra life and the unique procedure a hijra undergoes to "renounce" one's gender. Watch the intriguing trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Dragon Age: Inquisition' Video Game Banned in India Over Gay Sex Scenes

Dorian

Indian gamers excited about the hotly anticipated Dragon Age: Inquisition will be disappointed to hear the fantasy role-playing game will not be coming to the country after publishers cancelled pre-orders over concerns about its "gay" content, NDTV reports:

InquisitionThe distributor for the game, Milestone Interactive said that this refers to the game's homosexual sex scenes. Rather than face the wrath of some of India's more prudish segments of society, EA have pre-emptively decided to make the game unavailable in India, without confirming or commenting on which local laws were being breached. [...]

Dragon Age II had only four character romances. They were all bisexual so players had some sort of choice. With Inquisition there are a lot more options. It sports the series' first fully gay character, Dorian, that players have the option to romance. The developer Bioware has gone with more options in terms of romances for Inquisition. There are straight, bisexual, and gay character romances because they each tell different stories.

Last week, developer David Gaider was asked in an interview about his thoughts on writing the character Dorian and said the following:

Dorian is gay—he is, in fact, the first fully gay character I've had the opportunity to write. It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where "perfection" is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden. Dorian's refusal to play along with that façade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah....I suppose this aspect of Dorian will make him controversial in some corners, but I was glad to include it. It made writing Dorian a very personal experience for me, and I'm hopeful that will make him seem like a fully realized character to fans in the end.

Backin 2009, the original game in the series Dragon Age: Origins made headlines for featuring a secret gay sex scene


Indian Talk Show Hosts LGBT Guests, Inspires Millions to Take Action Against Anti-gay Laws: VIDEO

Gazal Dhaliwal

It's not often that a video can incite a major shift in collective cultural opinion, but India's "Satyamev Jayate" nighttime talk show managed to achieve just that. Indian actor and GLAAD Global Voices advocate Aamir Khan hosted the show and had guests covering a variety of the LGBT spectrum, including Deepak Kashyap who once considered suicide, and transgender woman Gazal Dhaliwal and her parents.

Supporting the guests were psychoanalysts who stressed the importance of parental support during the coming out process, a doctor who confirmed that homosexuality is not a disease and therefore not "curable", and a lawyer who went into the details of how India's anti-gay laws came to be.

As a result of all of this, 1.7 MILLION people called into the show to protest India's anti-gay laws and the Twitter hashtag #FreedomForLGBT became the top post on Twitter globally.

You can watch the subtitled episode AFTER THE JUMP...

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India Gets First Transgender TV News Anchor: VIDEO

Padmini-prakash-transgender-news-anchor

In another milestone for transgender people in India, a transwoman named Padmini Prakash, 31, has been hired as a news anchor.

Working up to this career, Prakash has held jobs as a dance instructor and soap opera actress, and she's also participated in transgender beauty pageants.

Prakash has worked for Lotus News in the Indian state Tamil Nadu since last August. One of her earliest breaks moving up the ladder came with a promotion to do the channel's daily 7 p.m. special bulletin, a hire motivated largely by Prakash's popularity with viewers.

But, despite this success story, Prakash says she's faced discrimination all her life, even cutting ties with family due to "pressure."

In a quote to the Times of India (via GLAAD), Prakash describes her anxiety in becoming an on-air anchor:

I was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could understand me.

Check out video of Prakash in action, AFTER THE JUMP...

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