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Aggressive Gay evangelism – The Pioneer article July 10, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Homophobia.
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http://swapan-dasgupta.blogspot.com/2009/07/aggressive-gay-evangelism-july-5-2009.html

originally published here : http://www.dailypioneer.com/187095/Aggressive-gay-evangelism.html

Hatred hurts just as much as hate crime December 26, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Homophobia, LGBT.
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From DNA:

Humaira Ansari

Thursday, December 25, 2008  03:00 IST

While a 28-year-old, lesbian woman was assaulted and gang raped in an instance of hate crime in San Francisco, here in India, the lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT) community is still grappling to find acceptance.

 

Recently, many homosexuals have ‘come out’ but this has not reduced the homophobia in our society. “Anyone who is not in the mainstream is not accepted,” rues Shaina from Labia, an NGO working for lesbians.

She feels, the belief that LGBTs in our country are less traumatised than in the west is a myth. “Many women from this community  undergo violence at home. They are also subjected to street harassment  If the law in our country calls a person unnatural, then it is obviously difficult for that person to walk into a police station and report harassment.”

Nitin Karani, trustee, Humsafar Trust, an organisation working for LGBTs  admits that incidents of harassing homosexuals are common and recurring. Citing the example of a student who committed suicide on being ousted and teased, Karani says, “It is not just harassment on the streets, but violence at home is also common. Many are beaten and locked up.”

Advocate Anand Grover feels hate crimes are not largely prevalent here but harassing LGBTs is not a rarity. “Any woman who is harassed, whether lesbian or straight, is protected under the same law. Our laws are very limited.”

While the gay pride parade held in August this year witnessed overwhelming participation from LGBTs, section 377 of the IPC still criminalises unnatural sex. And the discriminating attitude of people, combined with lewd comments and insensitive remarks, only adds to the community’s woes.

Geeta Kumana, chairperson, Aanchal Trust, says, “If a female does not look like a ‘typical girl’, she obviously becomes an easy target.”

Even as the LGBT community make efforts for equal rights, “The solution lies in tolerance and larger societal acceptance of the fact that people are different; we should take them for what they are,” concludes Shaina.

Homosexual priests not acceptable, say India’s Anglican churches July 15, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay & Lesbian, Hindustan Times, Homophobia.
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From HT: Homosexual priests not acceptable, say India’s Anglican churches

Protestant church leaders in Mumbai have likened homosexuals to people “not of sound mind” as the Anglican Church thundered towards a schism between liberals and conservatives.

Both the Church of North India (CNI) and the Church of South India (CSI) are supporting a conservative breakaway faction of the Anglican Church, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, on the battle over allowing gay clergies.

The Fellowship, which was at odds with the Anglican Church over the issue of ordaining homosexuals as clergy and blessing same sex unions, was set up at a conference held in Jerusalem last month. It effectively meant a split of the Anglican Church.

The Church faces another summit at the Lambeth Conference to be held in London on July 16, at which global representatives will decide the future of the faith of its eight crore followers.

Both CNI and CSI did not confirm if they would join the Fellowship, but said the issue would be on top of their Lambeth agenda.

“We are not comfortable with the idea of gay priests,” said Reverend Prakash Patole, Bishop of Mumbai, CNI.

“CNI and CSI have accepted women priests but we haven’t got to the stage of welcoming homosexuals,” said Reverend K.I. Dyvasirvadam of St Stephen’s Church, Bandra. “The Bible talks of eunuchs, lepers and people not of sound mind and homosexuality being accepted by Jesus… but there is a big difference between a gay man coming to church and having gay priests.”

Similar views were echoed by the CSI. “The Bible does not recognise gay marriages or gay priests,” said Reverend Benny Thomas of CSI, Mumbai.

Gay Christians in Mumbai have reacted strongly to the news that their church has lurched further to the right, and pointed out that King James of England, who introduced the modern Bible, was a homosexual.

“Indian Church leaders should place King James under the ‘not of sound mind’ list and stop using his Bible,” said George Thomas (26, name changed), a designer from Andheri and member of CSI. “I never divulged my sexuality fearing backlash. But church leaders should encourage more tolerance.”

Agrees gay activist Ashok Row Kavi. “The church should come in line with the Church of England and allow gay priests and marriages.”

BSF denies sexual harassment by instructor at J&K centre June 25, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay, Homophobia, Times of India.
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From The Times of India, 23 June 2008, a follow-up story to a report on the previous day about alleged same-sex abuse:

BSF denies sexual harassment by instructor at J&K centre

23 Jun 2008, 1640 hrs IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: BSF on Monday rejected allegations of alleged “sexual harassment” by one of its instructor in Jammu and Kashmir as claimed by 136 recruits of Bihar Military Police (BMP), who deserted the centre.

“Prima facie, it does not look like as the case is made out to be. There is more than what meets the eye,” BSF Director General A K Mitra told reporters on being asked about the incident.

Stating that the force has already initiated a probe into the incident, Mitra said there can be other angles to the incident.

The force, which filed a missing report with the police in this regard, had earlier denied the allegation and maintained that the recruits, part of a 370-strong group, had left as they were unable to sustain the tough training course at Udhampur.

The BMP trainees had alleged that one of the recruits was called by an instructor to his room on June 20 and an attempt to sexually harass him was made.

When the recruit raised an alarm, his colleagues rushed there and rescued him, police said, quoting the trainees.

Acting on the complaint by the trainee police personnel, the Bihar government has ordered a probe.

About 370 recruits of the Bihar Military Police had joined two training centres at Udhampur and Jagnoo on June 1 for a 40-week-long training course.

Damned If You Do June 25, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay & Lesbian, Homophobia, Times of India.
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From The Times of India‘s edit page, 23 June 2008:

 Damned If You Do

23 Jun 2008, 0148 hrs IST, Mukul Sharma

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, thus negating its previous definition of homosexuality as a mental disorder. It stated that there were no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological origin for homosexuality. Yet, every time some research paper even vaguely suggests that there might perhaps be a teensy genetic component or anatomical basis to behaviour, it immediately brings a good part of civilisation to its knees, choking on words like “bigot” and “agenda”. The latest study to cause such grief concerns a group of Swedish scientists who report that the brains of heterosexual men and homosexual women are slightly asymmetric — the right hemisphere is larger than the left — and the brains of gay men and straight women are not. That’s all. In fact, the researchers were unable to determine whether the differences in brain shape were genetic or due to exposure to environmental hormones, such as testosterone, while in the womb. The study was also unable to conclude whether the differences are responsible for sexual orientation. It’s a wonder the scientists didn’t issue a public apology and promise to do penance in caves for the rest of their lives.

Take handedness for instance. Left-handed people are also not normal — only in the sense that there are more right-handed people. It has nothing to do with being right or wrong or good or bad. And, like in the case of sexual orientation, no one knows for certain why the human population is right-hand dominant. At the same time, no one starts foaming at the mouth just because some scientists are trying their best to find out. They don’t take right-handedness as the starting point and label everything else as something deviant which needs to be explained so that people might get peace of mind. This is in spite of the fact that left-handed people have been discriminated for thousands of years and negative connotations associated with southpaws include clumsy, awkward, unlucky, insincere, sinister, malicious, and so on. The job of scientists is to bring objective understanding to that which is not understood. To do that, they have their work peer-reviewed and published for everyone to see. If they are proved to be right, the world will know; if wrong, well that comes with the territory.

When gays get stalked and robbed in India June 23, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in Crime, English, Gay, Homophobia, Section 377, Times of India.
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From The Times of India

When gays get stalked and robbed…
22 Jun 2008, 0251 hrs IST, Divya A, TNN

NEW DELHI: The homosexual community has been the butt of ridicule for long. Often aliens at home and sidelined outside, they now have another cause for despair – becoming the target of blackmailers and stalkers.

In dark alleys in metros, especially in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, gay stalkers are on the prowl. Since same sex marriages are still banned in India, the gay community has become a soft target. The problem seems to be on an upswing as blackmailers realise the potential it offers.

Gay Bombay, a support group in Mumbai, recently put a warning on its website about a gang of small-time criminals hanging around Churchgate station targeting young gay men looking for one-night stands. And the modus operandi? They pick them up and dupe them into taking them home. Once there, they pretend to be policemen and extort their money and valuables.

Such gangs have a fetish for foreigners as they’re unaware of the gay scene in India and can easily be duped. Canada-based Leander, who recently came to Mumbai on a holiday, tells his story on one such website.

“When walking near the Gateway of India, I was approached by a good-looking guy – 6 ft tall, straight-looking, muscular. We had a drink and after an hour, he expressed a desire to come to my hotel room.

The moment he got there, he said he was a plainclothes policeman and was ‘on duty’ to catch tourists indulging in illegal activities. I got scared and ended up paying him Rs 17,000, my wrist watch and iPod.

“It didn’t end there. Next day, he started calling me up in my hotel and threatened me even more. I feared he would report me to the real cops and put me in trouble. I had to change my hotel to get rid of him.’’ Leander has now issued an advisory of sorts on his blog.

These blackmailers are even tech-savvy. They cruise chat rooms, make contacts, use decoys to fix meetings to exchange porn VCDs and then acting as ‘policemen’, grab the victim and extract what they can from him. Of course, nothing happens to the decoy.

Gay rights activist Ashok R Kavi says, “It’s sad that blackmailers and hustlers are now using people’s sexuality as a means of extortion. The victims are often non-confrontational. Most can’t report their trauma to cops either, as the police pounces on them and harasses them. Section 377 of the IPC criminalises physical relations against the law of nature. But there’s no clarity on how it applies to homosexuals. Such relations can also be there among hetrosexuals and married couples. These attacks emphasise the need to fight against criminalising consensual homosexuality.”

Senior lawyer Anand Grover, of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS unit, says, “Blackmailers succeed simply because these gay men are too closeted to fight back. It’s this desire for secrecy and fear of being ousted that leaves gays open to grave security risks. The answer is to be more open as you can’t be arrested on the basis of your sexual orientation. Beyond that, there’s little refuge in law unless Section 377 is amended.”

‘Out in India’: Film about 2 dad family June 23, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay, Homophobia, Marginalization.
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‘Out in India’: Film about 2 dad family

Monday, June 16, 2008

In a country like India, where men often walk around holding hands, gay men can get away with a lot without explicitly coming out. But that was never an option for David Gere and Peter Carley. They went with their two young children.

“It was a mixed-race gay family,” Tom Keegan, whose film “Out in India: A Family’s Journey” documents their passage to India, says by phone. “In a country where families are so stratified in terms of gender roles, this was breaking every pattern.”

Gere fell in love with India in the ’80s, when he studied classical Indian dance there. Then he received a Fulbright scholarship to return in 2004, to work with artists working on HIV/AIDS. “Until he actually got the Fulbright, it was all abstract. I was like, ‘Sure, sure,’ ” remembers Carley on the phone from their home in Los Angeles. “But then I was like ‘Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into.’ ”

He remembers landing in Bangalore. The airlines had lost their double stroller. “It was really hot and humid,” says Carley. It was only January. “I was shocked at the loudness of India,” he says. It was 2 a.m.

Booming Bangalore, India’s information technology capital, is one of India’s most cosmopolitan cities. But no one knew what to make of this unusual family. “There’s simply no context for two men raising children together,” says Gere by e-mail. “In that sense we were like Martians.”

Even supportive people were uncomfortable. Was it fair to the kids? Should they let their son, Christopher, wear bangles? Were they pushing him into gayness? “We honestly didn’t know how people felt about our family until Tom started interviewing people,” says Gere. “When we saw the footage we were really shocked.”

Keegan, who is also a gay dad, was less so. “I think I’m pissing people off just walking around as a gay family in America every day,” he says.

In India, people just seemed more honest about it. That is when they got it. At least once a day, Carley says, he’d get asked “Where’s their mother?”

“I would say we were a two-dad family,” he says. “And they would smile and nod and say, ‘Where’s the mother?’ ”

For Carley, the fish-out-of water experience was compounded by the fact that he suddenly became the 24/7 dad. Gere got increasingly busy organizing a convening of artists in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. Gere also spoke Tamil so people would interact with him more.

“His head would start wobbling just like an Indian,” says Carley. “I’d become invisible.” Gere, who was in Mexico City at the time of this interview, says, “As a non-Spanish speaker, I’m finally getting a taste of what Peter must have been feeling. It’s terrifying.”

As Gere got more excited about his project, meeting more than 60 artists in six months, Carley who’d put his career as a psychotherapist in Los Angeles on hold, felt increasingly alone in a country of a billion people. “I never had a phone in India,” he remembers. “I didn’t need a phone because I had no one to call and no one to call me.

“I think I came as close as I’ve ever come to leaving the relationship,” he says. “But in the end, it ultimately became stronger.”

Carley says he finally felt he belonged when he went to the Kolkata convening. Gere’s celebrity brother, Richard, showed up. There were journalists, singers, scroll painters, dancers. They all made T-shirts with the logo “HIV Positive” and marched through the city. “I looked at the sex workers, out gay people, artists, activists and finally felt I fit in,” says Carley.

Photographer and activist Sunil Gupta, who attended that convening, writes in an e-mail that “India is undergoing a massive change. Cities like Delhi have fast-growing commercial and activist gay scenes.”

There are clubs with gay nights, queer festivals and social groups. But Carley says it was hard to find their gay niche in Bangalore. “We were two guys with two kids. We couldn’t hang out in pubs late at night.” On his last week there, he says he stumbled on a gay cruising spot. “I found the Bangalore version of New York’s Rambles,” he chuckles. “And I was walking in the park with Christopher!”

Now the family is back in Los Angeles. But India is still a part of their lives. Keegan says for him the film “symbolizes a new stage of activism for men who’ve lived through AIDS and become fathers.” The artists Gere met are now part of his Make Art/Stop AIDS touring exhibition. Christopher’s class raised the money to rebuild the shadow puppets of a puppeteer whose home was wiped out by the 2004 tsunami. The woman who had been perturbed by Christopher’s bangles just visited them in Los Angeles.

Carley hasn’t been back to India since the trip. “But I would do it again in a second,” he says. “I’d do some things differently. But I’d do it again. I really would.”

 

Out in India: A Family’s Journey: Part of Frameline32, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. 6 p.m. Sat. Roxie Film Center, 3117 16th St., San Francisco. Call (415) 703-8655 or go to www.frameline.org.

Video: Watch a trailer of “Out in India: A Family’s Journey” at sfgate.com/ZDUA.

E-mail Sandip Roy at datebook@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page E – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Suicide exposes gay racket June 19, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in Crime, English, Gay, Hindustan Times, Homophobia.
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From the Hindustan Times, 19 June 2008:

Suicide exposes gay racket

Rohit K Singh
Lucknow, June 18

SUICIDE BY a 50-year-old man has exposed a gay racket in the Mahanagar area of the state capital.Harish Chandra, who took his own life on Wednesday, left behind a four-page suicide note in which he confessed to his involvement in a homosexual relationship with a 17-year-old youth for the past two years.

In the suicide note, he also alleged that two dozen youths of the slum area near Kukrail Bridge used to provide their services to homosexual men for money.  The racket had been thriving for the past few years, he alleged.

The police have taken four youths, including the one having relations with Harish, into custody for interrogation. They may also be sent for medical examination.  Senior Superintendent of Police, Akhil Kumar, said that a case for forcing a man to commit suicide under section 306 IPC will be registered against the youths.

Harish, originally a resident of Lal Kuan, Hussainganj, had been living in a rented room at Narad’s residence in Raheemnagar locality of Mahanagar near PAC gate for the last two years. The youth he was involved with lived at a distance from there.

SHO, Mahanagar, Virendra Kumar said Sunder Lal Gupta informed the police on Wednesday morning. that his uncle Harish had hanged himself.   Police  recovered the body, which was sent for a post-mortem, the SHO said.

In the suicide note, Harish said Ghulam, Waris and Saddam of Raheemnagar were blackmailing him ever since they came to know of his relations with the youth six months ago. The trio had made him cough up over Rs 20,000, the note added. They also sodomised the youth whom Harish was involved with.

In another case, Sumit Kumar aka Kallu of Azadnagar and Imran of Shantinagar, Sarojininagar were arrested after a woman of Azadnagar  complained that they sodomised her nine-year-old son.

Filmmaker focuses on gay South Asians June 16, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay & Lesbian, Homophobia, Online/New Media, Sexuality & Gender.
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 From India New England: Issue Date: June 1-15, 2008, Posted On: 6/9/2008Filmmaker focuses on gay South Asians

By KARA BECKER

When Sarav Chithambaram set out to make a documentary about being gay and South Asian, he didn’t want to produce the same old coming-out story.

“It’s my life — South Asian Queer Story in America” instead interviews several gay and straight South Asians about how they feel gays and lesbians are viewed in society.

“I don’t ask them about their families or coming out, because the past is the past,” said Chithambaram, a 34-year-old software engineer and activist.

He said coming-out stories tend to be “sad  and dramatic,” and that he wanted to talk with people about where they are in their life now.

He hopes the film will start a dialogue between straight and gay South Asian Americans, and how they feel about each other.

“My goal is to educate both of the communities, saying who we are and seeing what the other one thinks of us,” Chithambaram said. “Often times when you look at this kind of stuff it ends up being a monologue, not a dialogue.”

The issues he hopes to address in the documentary are awareness and education, acceptance, harmony and integration. The ultimate goal, he said, will be for all groups of people to be at the last phase, which he says will take a long time for traditional South Asians.

“Where I grew up, like in most Asian communities, we just didn’t talk about a lot of stuff — it was taboo.”

A native of Tamil Nadu, Chithambaram said that moving to Cambridge. has allowed him to become involved in gay-rights organizations. He is a steering committee member of the Queer Asian Pacific Alliance and a former steering committee member of the Massachusetts Area South Asian Lambda Association, or MASALA.

“In India it is very much unacceptable to be gay,” he said. “When I came to the United States and especially to Boston, I finally felt like I could really be me.”

He also said that stereotypes of gay men being promiscuous are still common in American society, especially in popular media, and he hopes his film will help chip away at such prejudices.

“There are all these myths that I’m hoping to help break with positive role models and visibility,” he said.

Paying for the production out of pocket, Chithambaram is still exploring where to screen the work once it’s completed this summer. He plans to show it at film festivals, universities, and house parties.

“I would love to have it screened by a [college] Asian Indian department – it would be a dream,” he said.

He also hopes it will be viewed by the non-South Asian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

“Even queer South Asians aren’t really recognized within the larger GLBT community — they’re a minority,” he said.

Chithambaram is looking for help in post-production. To find out more about his work, e-mail writesarav@gmail.com.

Eunuch from India fights for respect at UN AIDS meets June 13, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, HIV, Homophobia, Online/New Media, Television, Transgender.
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Lalit K Jha

An Indian eunuch Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is fighting for the rights and respect of the global transgender community during the ongoing United Nations high level meeting on AIDS.

After meeting a large number of ambassadors, diplomats, world leaders and social activists who from all over the world have gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the HIV/ AIDS meet, Tripathi told NDTV.Com in an interview that she is here to fight for transgender community, who have been deprived of their basic rights and are not being treated as human being.

”I am raising the main issues of sex workers and sexual minorities who are treated with total disrespect. I am trying to bring the attention of the whole world to the issue of sexual minority,” Tripathi said. ”I want that people should be more humane, they should consider each other as human being, and to respect them just to consider them as transgender,” she said.

Born in an orthodox Brahmin family in 1979, Tripathi has the distinction of being the only eunuch in the UN’s Civil Society Task Force on HIV/AIDS. In fact a UN event on HIV/AIDS has included transgender persons in the work of civil society caucus for the first time: a development greeted with cheers among eunuchs worldwide.

”The fact that I’m here should be a big achievement, but it amounts to nothing,” she said during a press conference at the UN headquarters media briefing room.

Sitting on the same chair, which is very often occupied by visiting heads of states and the UN Secretary General himself, Tripathi asked correspondents: ”Am I invisible? You all can see me. Then, why we the transgender are treated as invisible?”

Speaking flawless English to the surprise of many UN correspondents, Tripathi explained that throughout the global South, especially in countries where transgender persons were also part of an ethnic group, sexual minorities were forced to beg for basic services and health care or forced into sex work because there was no political will to recognise their fundamental rights.

”Health services for people suffering from HIV AIDS are out of the question because doctors don’t want to touch you,” she said.

Observing that transgender people are very often threatened with stoning and death, Tripathi said that transgender communities are often afraid to assert their rights because they know that authorities would not back them up. ”It is now up to the UN to wake people up so that we are recognised as human beings,” she said.

”This is a mission, which I want to accomplish,” Tripathi told NDTV.Com after the press conference. ”Governments are treating us like shits. We can’t let this happen anymore,” she said.

Running an NGO called Astitva in Mumbai for the welfare of sexual minorities, Tripathi alleged that be it in the developed or the developing countries or the underdeveloped world, sexual minorities are not taken into consideration at all.

Observing that the condition of her community worldwide is pathetic, Tripathi said: ”They have no human rights, no right to education and no right for employment. If you do not have education, you do not have capacity to work or set up a business.”

Tripathi has been the centre of attraction during the UN meet. Standing five feet and eleven inches above ground and wearing colorful saree with glittering jewellery, she always caught people’s attention as she moved around the UN building.

”Even simple thing like access to medicine is big thing for us. Doctors are not ready to touch you,” she said. This is not only in India, and under developed and developing countries but also in developed countries, she argued.

”Governments have no interest for them, the politicians do not want to please them,” said Tripathi, who has made several passionate speeches during the UN meeting on the same lines.