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Indian Supreme Court to Reconsider Verdict Criminalizing Gay Sex

India's Supreme Court says it will reconsider its verdict criminalizing homosexuality after a campaign by activists, The Hindu reports:

IndiaA bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, before whom the matter was mentioned by senior lawyers appearing for different parties, said that it will go through the documents and consider their plea.

Curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court and it is normally considered by judges in-chamber without granting opportunity to parties to argue the case.

The petitioners, including NGO Naz Foundation which has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, contended that there was an error in the judgement delivered on December 11 last year as it was based on old law.

 


Homophobia Costs India $31 Billion Annually: VIDEO

Lee Badgett

Homophobia costs India $31 billion annually. Thus is the finding of the World Bank after a preliminary study that attempted to measure the economic cost of excluding sexual minorities.

IndiaIn short, acts of homophobic social exclusion - violence, job loss, discrimination, etc. - lead to individual-level shortcomings in education and earnings, which then translate into economy-level impacts such as higher healthcare and social program costs, and lower economic output.

Depending on which estimate one goes with on the homosexual population of India - a task made difficult by underreporting combined with Indian ideas of sexuality that don't necessarily line up neatly with the Western LGBT quartet - the economic cost of homophobia is between $1.9 billion and $30.8 billion annually, or .01% to 1.7% loss to the GDP. A GDP reduction of that amount would be considered a recession, according to the study's author, University of Massachusetts economist Lee Badgett.

The findings aren't conclusive and the study acknowledges that more research needs to be done. Areas of particular attention going forward will be investing in data on LGBT exclusion, a focus on poverty, research infrastructure, and replicating the study in other countries.

You can see a video of the presentation, which clocks in at a hefty 2 hours, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Homophobia Costs India $31 Billion Annually: VIDEO" »


LGBT Community In India Protests Country's Anti-Gay Law

A historic decision in 2009 legalized gay sex in India for a few short years. Last year's stunning ruling by the Supreme Court of India once again made gay sex illegal in that country. The law, which is part of section 377 of the Indian penal code, was introduced way back in 1861.

The Independent takes a look at how the reinstatement of the law has affected gays in India:

India...many young people had taken the decision to come out in the aftermath of the 2009 decision by the Delhi High Court. Now they found themselves criminalised.

Campaigners believe the decision will put up to 75m Indians at right of harassment. The threat of discrimination and harassment is particularly high in the country’s more conservative smaller towns and villages.

They also believe its significance reaches beyond India. Following the decision, both Uganda and Nigeria signed into law harsh anti-gay legislation and campaigners believe the move was influenced by the decision of the Indian court.

Activists will file a fresh “curative” appeal to the Supreme Court. Yet they are not optimistic of success. “I think we have a good case but we have bad judges,” said Anand Grover of the Delhi-based Lawyers Collective, one of those who has been leading the legal fight.

New Zealand's Channel 3 news reports on one conservative group's monstrous point of view.

"Let them do whatever, but in their homes," says Champak Rai, general secretary of right-wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad. "But if they do it in public, we will beat them up. After all, alcohol and smoking is banned in public. There are limitations to fundamental rights."

The December ruling has apparently bolstered gay rights activists. From the piece in the The Independent:

Campaigners in India insist they will not deterred. Ms Esteves, who had been present for the historic judgement in 2009, said the day after the supreme court judgment she and others had been filled by new determination.

“[We decided] we would keep raising our voices across the length of India, that we would raise them together and so loud that not even the supreme court would be able to claim that they can’t hear us,” she said.

And in Hyderabad, activists will on Sunday march in the city’s second gay pride event. One of the organisers, Sai Tejo, a 19-year-old sociology student, said he believed people would make a special effort to support the event in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling. “One thing the judgement did was to bring the topic out into the open and put it on the agenda of ordinary people,” he said. “One thing’s for sure, no-one is going back in the closet. It means people will fight it out.”


India's LGBT Defiant at First Gay Pride After Recriminalization of Homosexuality: VIDEO

Mumbai

Gaylaxy has a nice selection of photos from Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) 2014 on Saturday, the first LGBT Pride march anywhere in India since the Supreme Court recriminalized homosexuality.

2_indiaDNA India reported that the event drew people from around the globe:

“Ideally, the march is about taking pride in what you are. But this year’s upsurge in numbers is a reflection of the community’s anger and hurt over being recriminalised,” said one of India’s gay rights pioneer Ashok Row Kavi.

“If courts think they can brush us off and treat us like sub-humans they need to see how they have ended up giving the movement a shot in the arm instead. This movement will grow and succeed.”

Filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan and Humsafar Trust CEO Vivek Anand echoed this sentiment. “We know we have a long battle ahead. But we will prevail and succeed. In the meantime, we continue to plot our struggle with creative socio-cultural initiatives like films, music, paintings and theatre,” said Rangayan, adding, “This will not only help us as a community but also help dispel wrong notions and stereotypes among those outside.”

SridharThe Times of India reports that a song from the 60's is reemerging in the country as a gay anthem:

In 1966, musician Mina Kava and his band were asked by recording company HMV to compose a song about Bombay. Kava's wife Naju pitched in with the lyrics, and the ditty that emerged was Evening in Gay Maharashtra. Made in an era when 'gay' referred to joy and gaiety, it invited people to visit the state and its "full of life" financial capital...

...Earlier this month, a contemporary adaptation of the song, which replaced certain lyrics with bold, subversive references, made waves online. Shot last year, the video resurfaced following the Supreme Court verdict, which was seen as a denial of human rights by the LGBT community.

Sung by Suman Sridhar, the adaptation moves the song from one extolling the virtues of the state's chapatti and hill stations to one that points to the intolerance towards the gay community.

Watch the video and scenes from Mumbai Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "India's LGBT Defiant at First Gay Pride After Recriminalization of Homosexuality: VIDEO" »


Indian Supreme Court Upholds Verdict Criminalizing Gay Sex

India's Supreme Court today upheld its December verdict which restored colonial era sodomy laws to the nation, Bloomberg reports:

IndiaA two-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by H.L. Dattu today refused to review its December verdict that reversed a 2009 order of a lower court that had decriminalized same-sex intercourse between consenting adults.

The government and rights activists submitted that criminalizing gay sex amounts to a miscarriage of justice to the gay, lesbian and transgender communities. The top court in its December ruling had said it is up to lawmakers to amend the existing law if they want.

The India Times adds:

IndiaSeeking a stay on the operation of the judgment, gay rights activists, including NGO Naz Foundation, had said thousands from the LGBT community became open about their sexual identity during the past four years after the high court decriminalized gay sex and they are now facing the threat of being prosecuted.

They had submitted that criminalizing gay sex amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the LGBT community.

The NGO had submitted there are a number of "grave errors of law" and "wrong application of law" in the judgment which needs to be corrected.

"This court has failed to consider the submission that Section 377 violates the right to health of men who have sex with men, since criminalization of same sex activity impedes access to health services, including HIV prevention efforts. This contention was supported by the ministry of health and family welfare in this court," the review petition had said.


Leading Indian Psychiatrist Calls Homosexuality 'Unnatural,' Says Orientation Can Be Changed

A high-profile Indian psychiatrist is making headlines for controversial remarks describing homosexuality as “unnatural” and something that can be changed with psychiatric help.

Indira SharmaDr. Indira Sharma, the immediate past president of the Indian Psychiatric Society, made the comments during a recent panel discussion on the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling last month recriminalizing gay sex. In an interview with The Times of India, Sharma reiterated her statements:

"The manner in which homosexuals have brought the talk of sex to the roads makes people uncomfortable. It's unnatural. Our society doesn't talk about sex. Heterosexuals don't talk about sex. It's a private matter," the Banaras Hindu University teacher told TOI on phone.

The paper added:

Asked about the speech, Sharma said her main concern was for homosexuals [who] aren't comfortable with their sexuality. "There are some who are comfortable, but there are many who are not. The latter should realize they can get help (from psychiatrists). Some of them may even be able to change their orientation," Sharma said. She added that those comfortable with their orientation should be made aware that their behaviour was causing a lot of uneasiness in society.

Gay rights activists in the country say Sharma’s comments were surprising, particularly in light of the fact that the IPS had a written policy position in 2009 supporting the Supreme Court’s ruling at the time decriminalizing homosexuality.  


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