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Chennai turns up to support gay march June 29, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Pride 2009, Pride 2009 - Chennai, Times of India.
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Chennai turns up to support gay march

Times Of India

29 Jun 2009, 0437 hrs IST, Priya Menon, TNN

URL : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Chennai-turns-up-to-support-gay-march/articleshow/4713552.cms

Families to stand by LGBT community during Pride March June 28, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Pride 2009, Pride 2009 - Chennai, Times of India.
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28 Jun 2009, 0242 hrs IST, Priya M Menon, Times News Network
URL
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4710936,prtpage-1.cms
http://tinyurl.com/chennaiparents

CHENNAI: On Sunday, the city will host the Chennai Rainbow Pride March, Chennai Vaanavil Ula’, for the first time. Members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community will get together to express their solidarity, create awareness and, above all, celebrate their visibility. Significantly, standing by them will be supportive parents, family members and friends.

Govt mulls repeal of law against homosexuality June 27, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Section 377, Times of India.
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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Govt-mulls-repeal-of-law-against-homosexuality/articleshow/4709249.cms

NEW DELHI: Home ministry, which had been so far against change in section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which bans homosexuality, now appears to be in favour of repealing of the law.

City prepares for gay pride march [Chennai] June 20, 2009

Posted by qmediawatch in Chennai / Tamilnadu, English, Pride 2009, Pride 2009 - Chennai, Times of India.
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City prepares for gay pride march
Times of India
11 Jun 2009, 0340 hrs IST, Priya M Menon, TNN
See TOI website

CHENNAI: They’re a section that’s often invisible in a society that still disapproves of alternative sexual choices and even criminalises homosexuality. But, for the first time, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the city are making their voice heard by celebrating LGBT Pride Month, with a host of events and possibly even a Pride March on June 28.

“We are still working out the logistics of the march in Chennai and will be applying to the police for permission in the next few days,” says Aniruddhan Vasudevan of Shakti Center, a collective that aims to create public dialogue on gender and sexuality in Chennai.

Shiva Kumar of Sangama, a Bangalore-based sexuality minorities rights organisation, who is in charge of organising the march, is optimistic about getting police permission. “Many progressive policies have been instituted by the present government for the welfare of transgenders and we hope they will support our efforts,” he says. Though people like to believe that Chennai is a conservative city, he pointed out that the TN government’s policies had been favourable to transgenders and sexual minorities.

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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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4297984.cms

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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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Wife-takes-gay-businessman-to-court/articleshow/4231318.cms

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)

Straight talk February 20, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay, Movies, Times of India.
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From Mumbai Mirror:

Gay community, Humsafar insisted on a special screening of the film Straight. They wanted to ensure that the film didn’t stereotype homosexuals

By Parag Maniar
Posted On Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 02:51:39 AM

A special preview of Paravati Balgopalan’s Straight starring Vinay Pathak and Gul Panag was organised for Nitin Karani who is the trustee of the gay community, Humsafar.

Our source from the production unit said, “Straight is the story of a man who is confused about his sexuality. He does not know whether he is straight or gay but is averse to homosexual relationships.”

When people from the gay community learnt this, they promptly contacted iDream, the producers of Straight and told them to organise a special screening of the film. People at Humsafar feared that Straight would be yet another film that would stereotype homosexuals.

“The gays also feared that if the protagonist in Straight was averse to homosexual relationships it would only make society more intolerant towards them. What worried them further was a scene in the film where Vinay is shown running away from a man. As the gay community had serious issues about several scenes in the film, they insisted on watching the film. They were anyway disappointed with the manner in which gays were portrayed in Dostana. They did not want to watch the same thing in another film,” said our source.

Nitin Karani of Humsafar confirmed that a special preview of Straight was held for him and a few of his gay friends. “I am glad that Straight does not portray gays in poor light. My community is happy to endorse this film. In fact, a show is going to be organised on March 7 especially for the gay community.”

Director Parvati Balgopalan said, “I have handled the subject sensitively. I did not want to show gays as caricatures and I am happy to have successfully managed that.”

Transgenders get sympathy from SC, but no relief February 20, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Times of India, Transgender.
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From The Times of India:

17 Feb 2009, 0245 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: An emotional demand by transgenders for notional equality in society through a constitutional compensation package, akin to that for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, evoked sympathy from the Supreme Court on Monday, but it said that the government alone could help them.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam, hearing a PIL filed by a transgender Sonam Singh from Ajmer in Rajasthan, said a representation should be addressed to the government, which was free to take steps notwithstanding the SC’s refusal to entertain the petition.

When Singh, through counsel Santhosh Tripathy, sought an end to the centuries-old gender discrimination against the community, the Bench made an innocent inquiry: “What are Kinnars, a caste or community?”

Blaming the governments for being traditionally insensitive to the pitiable plight of the transgenders, the petitioner demanded setting up of a commission to determine the legislative corrective measures needed for upliftment of this forgotten branch of society.

“The transgenders, reduced to begging in the street, have never got the fruits of the constitutional mandate of democratic socialism, which in the broader sense attempted to bring an end to poverty, illiteracy and inequality of opportunity,” said Tripathy.

The petitioner also had a grievance against the Election Commission for not providing for a gender category in the nomination forms for candidates from among the transgenders.

He had also sought a direction to the human resource develoment ministry to conduct a special education programme for transgenders and the government to announce special rehabilitation packages for them.

When Pink Turns To Red February 16, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in Bisexual, Crime, English, Gay & Lesbian, Times of India.
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From The Mumbai Mirror:

The murder of the manager of Cinemax multiplex brings to light the murky underbelly of same-sex unions, says Vishwas Kulkarni

Posted On Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 02:41:11 AM

It seems like just another day in the lobby of Cinemax, a multiplex in Lokhandwala. Certainly not one to remind you that its 33-year-old manager, Mandar Patil, was found in a pool of his own blood with stab wounds on his head, neck and abdomen, dumped at an ice factory opposite a bus depot in Versova. Homosexual intrigue was the cause. Patil, who was married a year ago, had been harassing a coffee vendor from the food and beverages department of Cinemax. Unlike the exorbitant prices of snacks at multiplexes, the vendors themselves are ironically strapped for cash, poorly paid chaps. “Rs 4,500 is all he got, it’s a measly sum. And he was getting steadily depressed with the sexual harassment being meted out to him at the hand of Mandar. Everyone in the theatre management circuit knew that Mandar was a queen, but nobody expected things to get this bad,” said a source, also gay, from the multiplex industry who wished to remain anonymous given the shroud that already surrounds the homicide.

The coffee vendor, Sreenath Jogi, and a couple of his friends took Patil out for drinks to the shebeen in Versova village where Patil and the object of his affection often downed drinks after work. The intent was to convince him to stop making sexual advances towards Jogi. By the time they got down to explaining, Patil was drunk and raucous, the men armed with weapons; the scene turned ugly. Patil was stabbed, but still alive. Then fearful that they would be caught, the men chose to make the scene look like a gruesome murder with theft as motive, which it wasn’t.

The incident brings to light the perils of internalised oppression and how it can take on a frightening machismo that often brings to relief the fault lines of an unequal society. These blood-stained episodes send tremors through society, and both straight and queer quarters are squeamish when discussing the matter at hand because it reveals the constant tug of war between the haves and have-nots in post-liberalisation India. With gay sex as a steamy backdrop, the topic becomes even trickier. “Rs 4,500 is a ridiculously low amount of money. To succumb to sexual demands for such a paltry sum is not possible, to say nothing of how unfair it is. The incident has sent shock waves in the gay community and while nobody deserves to get murdered, one cannot push the limits with such matters in milieus such as these. This was a poor fellow from Versova village who was being pushed to the wall,” says the same source, who has moved from managing multiplexes to working at a reputed film studio.

If Patil found himself imperilled for demanding sexual favours from colleagues, Murli Gehani, a 52-year-old garments exporter, was a victim of excessive liberation. With his wife and kids in Dubai, Gehani enjoyed unlimited privacy in his apartment off Juhu-Versova Link Road. “The abandon was notorious among the community – gang -bangs, threesomes, even S&M evenings – the kink had much currency in Gehani’s love nest. Men from the slums of Mankhurd and Behrampada were often welcome to add further variety to a cast that changed every night, with ‘Mike’, as was his chatroom alias in the gay world, playing director,” says Dinesh (name changed to protect identity). The drama ended when Gehani’s throat was slashed. He was found almost 12 hours later. Broken beer bottles and condoms strewn on the floor were tell-tale signs of an orgy; the post-mortem, revealing that Gehani had enjoyed some anal sex, made it a definitive case of gay crime, with shantytown inhabitants finding themselves at an orgy that was also meant to double up as a heist.

It doesn’t take strangers to get you to find yourself at the wrong end of a sharp knife though. Cash between contemporaries can also be a killer combination, and casually engaging neighbours from a lower socio-economic stratum equally hazardous in pink Mumbai, if you don’t know where to draw the line. Makeup artist Ruzario D’Souza, who earned his time under the sun for having dabbed on rouge onto Maria Goretti, Malaika Arora Khan and Mini Mathur, had his throat slashed and his chest stabbed several times. The culprit: Naresh Narkar, a co-makeup man who also doubled up as a gigolo. D’Souza had defaulted on fees of over Rs. 50,000 for five lovemaking sessions, i.e. Rs. 10,000 per night. D’Souza, he claimed, had devoured him but conveniently forgotten the costs involved, an amnesia that ignited immeasurable fury in Narkar.

Barely a month later in the same year, 2006, Hiraji Meher, a 45-year-old laboratory supervisor from Vartak Polytechnic College, Vasai, was stabbed to death by his own ‘students’; the laboratory supervisor had an orchestra of electronic pianos that found good use at marriage functions in the vicinity, organs that found even better function at night, after hours. The ersatz pianist would lure boys from poor families into ‘Casio lessons’, promising them internships in the studios of established Bollywood music directors. The lessons would extend into porn-watching sessions and a natural consequence of such riyaz: orgy. On October 18, 2006, Meher’s Casio tuition classes hit the wrong note, screeching to a bloody climax. He invited boys from Satpati, a fishing village in the neighbourhood. After drinking copious sums of alcohol and watching blue films together, Meher began adamantly demanding sexual favours from the boys. Meher succumbed to stab injuries.

In a milieu where same-sex love is illegal in our society, outlets for gay men are startlingly limited in maximum city. For the closeted segment, the openings for sexual release are even thinner, leading to dangerous frustration. Homosexuals, sometimes out of desperation (or perhaps even lack of character) cross a precarious class divide in an exploitative manner, occasionally even resorting to harassment. This is where the trouble begins for those who need it so badly. Badly enough to die for it.

Everyone in the theatre management circuit knew that Mandar was a queen, but nobody expected things to get this bad.

Transgenders to assemble phones February 10, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Times of India, Transgender.
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From The Times of India:

10 Feb 2009, 0431 hrs IST, M Ramya, TNN

CHENNAI: In a couple of months, Jinda, a transgender, hopes to put down her begging bowl for good and pick up a mobile phone not to make a call but to repair and assemble them.

The Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, along with Madras Christian Council of Social Service (MCCSS) and Manpower Awareness Social Service (MASS) Trust, has collaborated with mobile phone companies Nokia, Motorola and Foxconn to find alternative employment for transgenders. About 100 of them will be trained for a month and will then assemble parts for the phone companies. They will be paid based on their work.

Nokia, Motorola and Foxconn have sub-contracted assembling of spare parts to MASS Trust. “We have also tied up with three companies that service water treatment plants and transgenders will be in charge of distributing drinking water. They also use treated water from the plants to grow vegetables, which will be procured by a leading retail chain,” said S Selvakumar, managing director, MASS Trust.

Poet Salma, chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, said, “This is a good opportunity for transgenders whose livelihood has for long depended on begging and commercial sex.” MASS Trust has been acting as a facilitating agency to enable people with disabilities and those in rural areas to get jobs. This is the first time transgenders have been included in the plan.

“Transgenders earn an average of Rs 200 a day as alms. They think begging is more convenient than working on a regular basis. There is a need to counsel them and motivate them to raise their standard of living,” says K Gopinath, member, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board for the Disabled.

MCCSS conducted a life skills workshop on Saturday. “We noticed that many transgenders who were rehabilitated and got jobs as drivers or computer operators lasted only for a couple of weeks into the job. Many returned to their old ways. They need motivational workshops,” says R Sandhya, programme co-ordinator, innovative programme transgender community, MCCSS.

About 50 transgenders from Perambur, ICF and Nungambakkam attended the programme. Most of them were enthusiastic about working in one place without having to travel too much. Jinda said, “I earn a couple of hundreds a day through collection from shops, but it will be good to have fixed work.”