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The reporting of the Pride events in the Indian media has been overwhelmingly positive. However we note that there are some exceptions.
- The Tamil media in general and Dinakaran reporting in particular
The Tamil media other than progressive magazines like Kalachuvadu chose to be largely silent on the issue. Among these the reporting in Dinakaran has been particularly bad and the reporter chose to focus on how the marchers dressed and used words irrelevant to the pride event.
Other Media reports:
Article in Midday March 25, 2007Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic.
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from Mid-Day, 31/3/2007:
Don’t persecute homosexuals
Sunita Banerjee says homosexuality is a medical problem and should be
treated that way
I READ a report in the MiDDAY recently that a serial killer had
targeted his victims because they were homosexuals. It was reported that homosexuality is not accepted in Christianity and Islam and that ”the killer had acted under the influence of a religious leader, who bayed for the blood of homosexuals.”
It is important for us to know that homosexuality is the result of an imbalance in the chromosomes. Homosexuals who say they feel feminine are said to have an excess of the ‘X’ (female) chromosomes, over the ‘Y’ (male) chromosomes.
This is a medical problem that must be treated as such. The medical fraternity should pay attention to this problem and find a solution to cure the imbalance and help homosexuals lead a normal life. I have read reports quoting an Italian minister as saying that
homosexuality is a sin. A prominent American woman was also quoted as
saying something similar. Some religious groups label homosexuality as immoral. This is utter nonsense.
I remember my father telling me once that nature does play tricks. None other than the renowned British naturalist Charles Darwin had said that nature can be cruel.
Homosexuality may be repulsive to some. But it is a medical problem
for those who suffer it and they need help to set it right.
Contrary to what some people propagate, homosexuality is not a
Western phenomena. It must be mentioned that a British scientist of
the 19th century committed suicide following persecution for being a
I, therefore, appeal to religious leaders to explain the problem to
the members of their community, so that homosexuals are not treated
cruelly. Rather, we ought to help them overcome the problem.
Sunita Banerjee lives at Bhulabhai Desai Road.
Misconceptions about homosexuality
I REFER to the message ‘Don’t persecute homosexuals’ from Sunita
Banerjee (MyNEWS, March 31).
While I appreciate her sentiments, warning those who ridicule
homosexuals, Banerjee is incorrect when she describes homosexuality
as a medical problem. Homosexuality is in fact regarded as a
There are many myths about homosexual persons.
A homosexual person is not abnormal. Homosexuals are normal people
with a different sexual orientation.
The problem occurs when a homosexual person is compelled to comply
with the rules of society (in fact family pressure) to marry, and in
this process may ruin his/her own life, as well as that of the person
he/she is married to.
Readers Responses to the Hindu (contd) November 27, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, Homophobia, The Hindu.
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Opinion – Letters to the Editor
According to Mohana Krishnaswamy “It is the major responsibility of society
to nurture what is desirable and discourage what is not. Homosexuals need
our sympathy and understanding but not our encouragement … ” (Letters,
Nov. 10). Society has no business to encourage or discourage any
relationship between two consenting adults. Also, why does she feel that a
homosexual requires her sympathy?
I am 23 years old with a job that pays well. I have a family that supports
me, I have friends — both straight and gay — and my colleagues respect me. I
am a law-abiding citizen leading a responsible life. Why should I become a
criminal just because someone who loves me is a man and not a woman? I do
not want some stranger’s sympathy; all I want is not to be prosecuted for
being what I am.
Rakesh Suvarna, Mumbai
With little regard for medicine, human rights, and modern thinking, Dr.
Krishnaswamy continues to plod on her course of intransigence. She continues
to give herself the privilege of deciding who is `desirable’ in civil
society and who is not.
Balakrishnan Kameswaran, Kozhikode
The Hindu deserves praise for its progressive outlook on such issues. As for
the reader who argues about homosexuality perpetuating victimisation
(Letters, Nov. 13), I think we should not conflate non-consensual and
abusive behaviour with sexual orientation.
If we were to equate child molestation, rape, and domestic violence
perpetrated by men with sexual orientation, we should have criminalised
heterosexuality a long time ago.
L. Ramakrishnan, Chennai
I am immensely perturbed to note that Dr. Krishnaswamy’s views are being
attacked. By scientific reasoning alone, all kinds of human acts cannot be
permitted to flourish to the detriment of individual and social health.
Permissiveness has its limits. If transgressed, it will result in the loss
of natural equilibrium and end in an irreversible chaos.
B.R. Kumar, Chennai
Readers responses to the Hindu (contd) November 27, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, The Hindu.
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Opinion – Letters to the Editor
I was disturbed on reading Mohana Krishnaswamy’s article “Drawing the
rights line” (Open Page, Oct. 29) on homosexuality and her response to
letters on the subject (Nov. 10) in which she has argued that “it is
the major responsibility of society to nurture what is desirable and
discourage what is not.” Who is to decide what is desirable for
society and what is not? Is there any evidence to suggest that
homosexuals are undesirable?
I am a homosexual and have done my MBA from a reputed IIM and am
working for a multinational company in Bangalore. I contribute to
society as much as I can through charity activities, fund-raising
drives, and educational drives. I have the same dreams as my
heterosexual counterparts. I pay the same amount in taxes and am a
responsible citizen like anyone else. Why does the doctor believe that
my sexual orientation is not desirable for society?
I wish Dr. Krishnaswamy would throw some light on why she believes
homosexuality is undesirable. But before that, I would like to submit
that even if we decriminalise murder, there wouldn’t be murders taking
place left, right, and centre. Illegality is not the only thing that
prevents murders. And it certainly isn’t the only reason why every
Indian isn’t a homosexual.
Homosexuality has as much to do with the spread of AIDS as bisexuality
or trans-sexuality or heterosexuality. It is the lack of adequate
precautions that leads to infection. The sexual orientation of the
affected person has nothing to do with the spread of diseases.
Homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, and trans-sexuality have
been part of human behaviour at least since the time of written
records. Therefore, the nature-versus-nurture debate, which is
apparently scientific, is not rigorous enough and is rather very
The author seems to have ignored the great works of art and literature
inspired and produced by the brilliant minds of homosexual and
bisexual women and men. Despite being penalised and branded criminals,
these men and women have made our lives a lot more interesting.
Homosexuality is socially acceptable in nearly all of urban Western
Europe, North America, and many primitive societies, while ritual
homosexuality is also socially acceptable in India. Modern medicine
considers homosexuality acceptable. When none is harmed, and some are
happier, its ethical unacceptability is not clear.
Dr. Krishnaswamy’s analogies to violent crimes are not helpful. One
analogy is to murder, a non-consensual violent act, where the state
has compelling interest to involve itself. The analogy about
Y-chromosomes and pardoning crimes is also irrelevant.
Decriminalisation is not the same thing as pardoning a crime, but
rather correction of a faulty penal code.
\n\n \n __._,_.___\n \n
Without the unstudied references to society, ethics, and medicine, we
must recognise that some have a feeling that they cannot understand
homosexuality but such views are personal. This recognition should
assuage Dr. Krishnaswamy’s fears. Decriminalisation will not make huge
numbers of young people homosexual. A great many young people, sharing
her lack of personal empathy, will not become homosexuals. It is
amusing that for the arbiters of desirability, one’s own pursuit of
happiness remains desirable but the other’s happiness can be
conveniently labelled “abnormal.”
Dhananjay M. Vaidya,
Assistant Professor of Medicine,
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions,
The campaign to repeal Section 377 of the IPC camouflages the real
issue by referring to sexual orientation and human rights. The law is
an effort to control behaviour that amounts to exploitation of a
person. The argument of consent is spurious because such consent is
often obtained by psychological blackmail. If the Section is repealed,
there will be a spurt in the number of young boys being victimised.
Anything happening within four walls with mutual consent is not a
crime. So, there should be no problem in repealing Section 377 of the
IPC. But at the same time, one has the right to express one’s views on
homosexuality. Everything that is not a crime need not necessarily be
normal. Homosexuality is certainly a deviant behaviour.
Readers responses to the Hindu Article November 8, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, The Hindu.
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The article “Drawing the rights line” (Open Page, Oct. 29) is unjustifiably judgmental. The statements “There are no homosexuals among any species of animals. Such practice is fundamentally against nature” take the cake. The Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo has just opened an exhibition of gay animals, “Against Nature?” The author may be shocked to learn that there are recorded instances of homosexuality in more than 1500 species — male Amazonian dolphins, female bottlenose dolphins (the second most intelligent species), flamingos, killer-whales among them.
* * *
Not everything that is abnormal ought to be declared a crime. If it were so, even left-handedness can be declared a crime! The author’s claim that there are no homosexuals in any species of animals is factually incorrect. The webpage http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/2-14-2005-65757.asp has text from Guardian contradicting her claim.
* * *
It is a matter of concern that we still have laws that discriminate against citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation. Not only do such laws violate an individual’s right to equality but also have a serious impact on public health.
It is not enough for a country to grow just economically as it develops. Broadmindedness, and a greater understanding and tolerance for people’s preferences are the attributes of a true democratic society.
* * *
The article is more dogmatic than analytical. The author fears that the removal of the stigma attached to MSM behaviour will endanger the next generation. This is because she and persons like her believe that there is `stigma’ attached to homosexuality. If homosexuality is accepted as natural behaviour, the question of stigma does not arise.
What makes the author think that such acceptance will lead to an increase in the number of people with such “undesirable” and “abnormal” behaviour? Does she think it will make a naturally heterosexual person homosexual?
Reader Responses to Hindu Article – Contd November 8, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, The Hindu.
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I was appalled on reading the article “Drawing the rights line” (Open Page, Oct. 29). It smacked of personal bias towards homosexuals. It claimed that their orientation is “abnormal” without any scientific rationale. The American Psychological Association declared after thorough research that “homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or an emotional problem” (http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/answers.html). The WHO has also removed homosexuality from its list of illnesses.
Despite such documented proof, the author has asserted: “The stamp of criminality serves the purpose of declaring abnormality and thereby preventing young people from becoming victim to this abnormality.” Her `abnormality’ argument lacks substantiated proof. I hope The Hindu will help in removing social prejudices against sexual minorities.
Palanivel K. Raju,
* * *
The author’s comparison of human behaviour with that of animals is ridiculous. Animals mate only during the mating season. But humans don’t. Does it mean they are unnatural? Homosexuality is not induced. It is congenital like colour blindness. Homosexuals do not need sympathy but understanding. The author sits in judgment of issues using absurd arguments.
* * *
The article was nothing but a set of baseless, opinionated, and factually incorrect statements. MSMs do not need sympathy; they need the freedom and equality they rightfully deserve. The article contributed nothing useful to the debate but reflected the author’s prejudice.
* * *
Homosexuality will continue to be practised within four walls, stigma or no stigma. It is outlandish of homosexuals to demand the right to marry and to claim respect and acceptance. Where is the need for one to trumpet his or her sexual preferences in public? There are many laudable things that one can learn from the West but its approach to homosexuality is certainly not among them.
San Ramon, California
Drawing the Rights Line – Biased Article November 1, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, English, The Hindu.
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Drawing the rights line MOHANA KRISHNASWAMY
EMINENT PERSONALITIES have apparently taken up with the government the question of “decriminalising” homosexuality as reported in The Hindu dated September 27.
As a paramedical person by qualification, but professionally involved in the media now, I am somewhat disturbed by this development. In the history of AIDS, one of the widely accepted hypotheses in the early stages of reporting the outbreak of the AIDS virus was that homosexuality was a causative factor. Even today, whether that hypothesis is accepted or not, MSM (men having sex with men) are considered among the most high-risk groups susceptible to this infection.
In their anxiety to reach this group with their message of health, the social scientists involved in AIDS control have taken the view that the approach to the high-risk group should be non-judgmental giving emphasis to health and not ethics. From the perspectives of the social scientists this is indeed valid since you will not be able to communicate with the high-risk groups unless you gain their confidence.
This approach works with sex workers who are another high-risk group. However, this approach to MSM groups can result only in short term gains of communicating with them and educating them about the dangers of unsafe sexual behaviour, such as sex without condoms. The same attitude of putting the MSM groups at ease with a non-judgmental approach will however endanger the next generation since the stigma attached to MSM behaviour gets removed in this process. If decriminalisation is also implemented there is a real danger of the percentage of population with such undesirable, unhealthy, unnatural and abnormal behaviour increasing without control.
From a “human rights” perspective, activists take the view that it is the right of the individual to have consensual sex and that society has no business to interfere with the relationships between any two consenting adults.
The appeal to decriminalise is based on reports that the police commit excesses and ill-treat those who are arrested on charges of homosexual practice. The remedy to that should be to educate the police and make them more human, to sympathise with the conditions of abnormality in human behaviour. The solution is not to decriminalise. The stamp of criminality serves the purpose of declaring abnormality and thereby preventing young people from becoming victim to this abnormality.
While we can sympathise with people practising homosexuality, it is an altogether socially, ethically and medically unacceptable idea to treat them as normal. There are no homosexuals among any species of animals. Such practice is fundamentally against nature. With all our sympathy, we have to treat them as abnormal.
However eminent the group of supporters for decriminalisation may be, the government should not rush into such an action without taking public opinion into account. At the moment, there seems to be no voice to express an alternative opinion, just because those supporting decriminalisation include a Nobel laureate and a Booker Prize winner.
This is not merely a wake up call for the guardians of traditional morality and ethics. It is as much to provoke social scientists to evolve alternative strategies to reach out to the MSM group instead of decriminalising abnormal behaviour.
Thanks to Velu for bringing this piece to our attention..
A biased Article – Does it pay to be gay September 30, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, Deccan Chronicle, English.
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Does it pay to be gay? By Farzana Versey Deccan chronicle 19.09.06
Gays are one lucky bunch of people to have leading luminaries write open letters to the government of India demanding a repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which prescribes punishment for same-sex relationships. The fine print is that the law mentions, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.” Unknown to many, primarily because the proponents keep their private interests strictly private, there is quite a bit of unnatural sex going on between non-gay people as well. No one comes orward to fight for their rights, simply because their identity does not revolve around their sexuality. Therefore, while one agrees that the Indian law does make gays into criminals, one would like to know just how many people have been arrested, imprisoned and punished for homosexuality. The figures will be negligible. No one is making a case for such punitive action, but every once in a while prominent citizens come forward to appeal
against such “outdated laws.” We do not see them similarly enthused about other such laws or publicly oppose police action against innocent young couples in parks and the disgusting oppression of Dalits who dare to marry above their caste. The reason is simple: the gay movement is a hugely successful public relations exercise.
The latest to join the fray are economist Amartya Sen and author Vikram Seth; the latter has said he joined the campaign because he is “partially gay.” This is a curious comment. There is nothing like a partial gay. This is the worrying aspect about the gay cult. It seeks to co-opt bisexuals who, if they were indeed inclined towards sodomy, could have perhaps been able to practise it in a heterosexual relationship, as many such couples do. Homosexuality has probably existed all along, but in the past few years it has begun to use celebrity endorsements and posthumous tributes to further its cause. Why is it necessary when it is being touted as the most normal thing in the world?
In big cities, passive gay men revel in being “pretty.” Their parties get publicised in the media. They fancy themselves as idols and a small segment has got legitimised only for its sexual preference, and little else. Often, this does result in glamorisation and many young men who are not yet aware of their sexuality find it a “happening” thing to be associated with. The “hormonal imbalance” theory has been slowly replaced by the iconisation of the
gays. When a prominent person like Professor Amartya Sen makes a clichéd pronouncement that the current law “curbed the enhancement of human freedom,” he
ought to have taken a closer look at the responsibility that comes with such freedom. The fact is that homosexuals have carved out a separate niche for themselves. They are not burdened with the bugbear of upholding family values, in that they are free of the constraints of other kinds of social pressures. Yet, do we hear them speak up against the deviants in their midst? Why was there no follow-up regarding allegations against the famous godman who had sexually assaulted a boy? They are quick to brand you homophobic if you raise questions about paedophilia, rape and promiscuity that beset them as much as heterosexuals. The sad fallout of this is that young boys are forced into homosexual affairs. The most vulnerable are those who come to seek employment from villages. Hawkers and maalishwallas at beaches are regularly subjected to such abuse. Forget about arresting them, the cops are happy to pocket hafta — in cash or kind.
The group that is spearheading this latest campaign is really quite ignorant about several basic aspects. They say they do not have figures. According to the Hamsafar Trust that works exclusively with the community the number in India is over 55 million.
Vikram Seth has stated, “It is especially disgraceful that Section 377 has on several recent occasions been used by homophobic officials to suppress work of legitimate HIV-prevention groups, leaving gay and bisexual men in India even more defenceless against infection.” Where vulnerability to HIV infections is concerned, just how many Indians, rrespective of their sexuality, come out and talk about it? Isn’t there the universal fear of being ostracised? And Seth’s comment can be counteracted with a more authoritative voice. Gay activist Ashok Row Kavi protesting against RSS chief K. Sudarshan’s remarks had written in an open letter to him, “Finally, HIV is spread by unprotected sex and has nothing to do with homosexuality. In India, the highest risk factor for women to get HIV-infected is being married to men.
It is our lesbian sisters who are possibly the safest because they rarely spread HIV.” Sensitisation towards marginalised groups is a necessity, but a blind acceptance of their credo will not help them or society.