Readers responses to the Hindu (contd) November 27, 2006Posted by qmediawatch in Biased/Homophobic, The Hindu.
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.
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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.