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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


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


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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Indian Government Objects to Supreme Court Ruling Recognizing Trans People As Third Gender

India's government is asking the country's Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark ruling back in April recognizing transgender people as a third gender, The Wall Street Journal reports:

IndiaThe government — led by the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party, which has deep roots in the country’s Hindu nationalist movement — said in an application to the Supreme Court that the transgender ruling “may pose problems both practically and politically” and asked for clarifications and changes.

The application complained that the court’s finding that the term transgender people can also apply to gay, lesbian and bisexual Indians, “seeks to create an ambiguity.” 

It also argued that on procedural grounds it would “not be proper” for the court to classify the transgender community as part of India’s backward classes, which are eligible for affirmative-action benefits.

Additionally, the government asked that the court to clarify the definition of "transgender." Approximately two million people are said to be transgender, or hijira, in India.

Homosexuality, meanwhile, is still criminalized in India after a stunning Supreme Court ruling last year. The Indian government has announced it has no plans to amend the newly reinstated law criminalizing homosexuality until the Supreme Court settles the issue. 

Moovz Gay Social Network Hires Out Actor Nakshatra Bagwe To Make Push For India


Moovz, a social network for gay men, has just signed Mumbai-based actor Nakshatra Bagwe as one of its international brand ambassadors. Bagwe, 23, came out publicly last year at India’s first LGBT-oriented flashmob, a decision that brought him to the attention of the Indian media and inspired him to begin filming a documentary about being gay in India. His modest rise to fame for coming out brought the young filmmaker’s project to the international independent film circuit

“The night I came home with my trophy my mother was waiting for me,” Bagwe said of winning his first award. “In the same dining room where I had my coming out five years before, she told me how proud she was of me.”

Launched in early January of this year, Moovz is built on the premise of encouraging its users to be open about who they are. Unlike hookup applications like Grindr and Hornet or web platforms like Adam4Adam, Moovz’s desktop and mobile applications are meant to foster community growth.

“This revolutionary platform enables users to share their own content, chat in real-time, and interact with others,” Moovz CEO Liav Eliash told the Huffington Post. “We believe that providing our Moovz platform for people around the globe who already have things in common will enable them to interact on a higher level and connect as a community."

Moovz’s move into India comes at an interesting time in the country’s position on its LGBT population. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes sexual acts "against the order of nature" like homosexuality, was declared as unconstitutional by the High Court of Delhi in 2009. India’s Supreme Court overturning the decision in 2013, asserting that any repeal of 377 would be a matter to be dealt with by Parliament rather than the judiciary body.

"[Moovz has] identified a big target group here and that the LGBT community is not any 'miniscule' section," Bagwe told the Hindustan Times. “It's time for us to come out as well and not feel shy about our sexuality.”

Watch a trailer for the Moovz social network AFTER THE JUMP...

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