TOI Article – Most Politicians unaware of gay movement March 27, 2008Posted by qmediawatch in English, Times of India.
Most politicians unaware that gay movement exists
Radheshyam Jadhav | TNN
PUNE: Generally, politicians would not miss an opportunity to enter any movement and, if possible, hijack it to gain political mileage. But not this one for sure. Politicians are scurrying for cover with gay activists seeking their support to the movement against ‘outdated’ Section 377 of the IPC framed in 1860, which defines homosexuality as a crime.
In Pune, gay activists are mustering support at individual and mass level to scrap section 377. “Basically, there is need for a political will to scrap the outdated section. We need political support, but they are not
responding to our appeal,” says software professional Bindumadhav Khire, who is a homosexual and runs Sampathik, an organisation for men’s sexual health.
Khire says gays are fighting legal battles against section 377. “What we need is the support of politicians and common people. We want to approach people and inform that gays are not someone out of the world. We are the same people as you are” says Khire.
Gays across the nation are joining hands to intensify the agitation against section 377, which says that whoever has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with a term that may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to a fine.
Pune is witnessing an increasing population of same-sex couples, says Khire, adding, “At a time when a large number of countries have legalised gay and lesbian rights, why homosexuality is a crime in India?”
Pune: Gay activists across the nation are joining hands to intensify the agitation against Section 377
of the Indian Penal Code, which outlaws homosexualilty and says it shall be punished with imprisonment for
life or with a term that may extend to 10 years. Zameer Kamble, who has developed a ‘self esteem
model’ for homosexuals and is conducting regular workshops, says more men need to come out in the open.
“We will definitely need political support for the movement. But first, we are trying to create self esteem among the gay population in Pune. A majority of us, however, prefer to remain in the closet,” he says.
“If the matter has to be raised in Parliament, the support of politicians is necessary,” says Zameer. “But politicians will support us only if the common people are with us,” he adds. Ask politicians about the movement and they are taken aback. Not a single politico wants to speak on the matter and many of them are not aware of a gay movement. “We don’t want to land in unnecessary trouble,” said a leader of a national political party. Vinay, whose partner was transferred to Kolkata recently, says, “If I am a citizen of this country, why are my problems neglected? I want to marry a person of the same gender, but the country’s law
doesn’t permit me to do so. It is very difficult to get one consistent partner and it is emotionally
destroying many of us. We are not criminals. Treat us as human beings and respect our rights.”
Meanwhile, gay activists in Pune are inventing various ways to reach the people. Software
professional Bindumadhav Khire, who runs Sampathik, an organisation for men’s sexual health, has written a
Marathi book, ‘Indradhanu’, which discusses homosexuality in detail, while Zameer has written a
Marathi play on the lives of gay people, which will be staged soon.