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Gays unite for their rights; to fight AIDS, TB May 22, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in Gay, HIV, Online/New Media, Section 377, Transgender.
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Swapna Tarafdar

May 21, 2008 14:41 IST
Last Updated: May 21, 2008 14:43 IST

In a key move in their campaign for recognition of their rights, gay and transgender groups have come together to form a united community to bid for funding by the International Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.

More than 40 gay and transgender groups from across the country met on April 11 in the national capital to put up a united community led bid for the eighth round of funding announced by GFATM.

“At the meeting, we unanimously nominated the international HIV/AIDS alliance to be the primary recipient of the funding from GFATM since it has the technical expertise that meets GFATM’s exacting standards,” a member of the gay community said.

The move comes at a time when gay groups in the country are fighting against abrogation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which provides for punishment for homosexuality. A case to this effect is pending in the Delhi High Court.

A subcommittee of experts from various groups was formed, which has since then drafted the proposal in collaboration with the alliance.

This will now be submitted before the India Country Coordination Mechanism for inclusion in India’s national bid before the GFATM.

Reacting to their decision, National Programme Officer, Targeted Intervention, NACO, Dr Smarajit Jana, said, “We very much welcome their decision and we will be happy if they take their own responsibility.”

“They are the most vulnerable group with regard to AIDS and HIV. We want these people to take responsibility for themselves. We are here but we cannot do much. Uniting all gays is a good effort from their side,” Jana said.

This is the first time these groups have put up such a united show for their legitimate dues and it is indicative of the gay and transgender activism in the country becoming mature, he said.

“The GFATM has also been insisting on greater civil society involvement in their funding process and with this MSM (Men Having Sex With Men) groups will be making information available known to them,” he said.

In their proposal, the gay groups have taken care to avoid any duplication of work with activities already budgeted for the National AIDS Control Plan.

“Our proposal aims at strengthening and creating community organisations that would support the National Plan and create appropriate and effective spending possibility of money in the national plan, which so far has often remained unspent in many states,” informed another member of the gay group.





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