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http://www.dinakaran.com/daily/2009/mar/22/tamil.asp March 23, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Dinakaran, Tamil.


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A report on the Citizen’s forum on homophobia appeared in the Tamil daily Dinakaran.com


Experts see need for awareness on alternative sexual preferences March 22, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Chennai / Tamilnadu, Times of India.
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CHENNAI: The society will start accepting members of the gay, lesbian and transgender communities only when there is large-scale awareness of


alternative sexual preferences, said expert testifiers at an event to address stigma and discrimination against homosexuality on Saturday. Psychiatrist Dr Vijay Nagaswami and sexual medicine consultant Dr Narayana Reddy were part of Homophobia: A citizen’s forum’ organized by ActionPlus, which is a consortium of 13 non-governmental organisations from across the country including YRGCare and Nalamdana from Chennai. “There are various phases to acceptance awareness, gaining of knowledge, becoming comfortable with that knowledge and trial and testing. It cannot happen overnight. Discrimination happens because of the fear of the unknown and a person’s fear that his own sexual identity would be changed,” Dr Narayana Reddy said. Dr Nagaswami said, “There is a need for more space to discuss such issues.” The doctors were responding to issues on same gender sex put forward by representatives of sexual minorities Srivath, Kalki and Sumathi.

Gay activist Srivath spoke about his success story in getting his family and friends to understand and accept his attraction towards members of the same sex. He said, “I realized that I was attracted to members of the same sex when I was quite young so I didn’t have problems with my sexuality or sexual identity. There were problems with being accepted in society, but I realized soon enough that those who bully you usually get bored of it or accept it,” he said. He spoke about the need for managements and counselors of educational institutions to be more aware of gender minorities. “There’s a lot of awareness being created on transgenders but not enough about gay men,” he said.

Founder of Sahodari Foundation and transgender activist Kalki said that more sensitisation is needed before putting transgenders in jobs in the public. “Transgenders earn more than what they would in a BPO through begging or commercial sex and through this money they also support their biological families who often live away from them. So when NGOs come forward to offer them jobs for much lesser pay, they find it difficult to leave their old lifestyle,” she said. Sumathi, who heads Lesbit a wing of NGO Sangama that addresses the needs of lesbians in Bangalore, spoke about the invisible pressure on female homosexuals and the domestic violence faced by lesbians, many of whom are unable to give up their old relationships even after being forcibly married to men.

The speakers also highlighted the need to educate parents, teachers and even counsellors on the issue. Similar meetings have been planned in Goa and Delhi

Wife takes gay businessman to court March 8, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Section 377, Times of India.
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MUMBAI: A sessions court at Fort has been busy hearing an unusual matter—a wealthy businessman and a sailor with the merchant navy have had to plead  for protection from arrest after the wife of the former alleged that the duo was in a homosexual relationship. The Gamdevi police even registered a case under Section 377 of the IPC—the law that criminalises homosexual relations—against the two.

Ratan Shrivastav, 39, a resident of Peddar Road, and his wife Pooja, 37, got married in 1994 and have an eight-year-old son. Pooja, however, alleges that Ratan “kept having relationships

with several men” which was “hampering her married life”. She also said that she had often sent Ratan to a counsellor but that did not improve their marital relations. The complaint also says that there are CDs in which Ratan can be seen in a compromising position with other men.

In his anticipatory bail plea, Ratan did not deny that he was gay. He said he first went to the cops in January when he was told that a non-cognisable complaint had been registered against him for slapping Pooja.

Mum unaware of son’s homosexual relations

Peddar Road businessman Ratan Shrivastav and his sailor friend moved the court for anticipatory bail after Ratan’s wife lodged a non-cognisable complaint against them at Gamdevi police station. Thereafter, a police constable even came to his residence on February 9 and asked his mother whether Ratan was a homosexual.

His mother replied that it was his personal matter and she had no knowledge of it.

Ratan moved court on February 27 when he realised that on a specific complaint by Pooja the police had registered a case under Section 377 against him and his alleged partner, Damien Christopher, 28, the sailor. Ratan feared that he was going to be arrested for custodial interrogation since homosexuality remains a cognizable offence under Indian law. He thus rushed to court for protection and the same day was granted interim anticipatory bail till March 7.

On Thursday, the court heard the anticipatory bail plea of Christopher. Judge D U Mulla wondered whether there was any need for custody in such matters. He observed that there was no evidence that Pooja had been harassed or whether police needed to collect any material evidence. The court granted anticipatory bail to Christopher. Ratan’s own plea will come up for hearing again on Saturday.

(Names have been changed to protect the identities of the parties involved)