India Insight

An evil “disease”? Gay activists fight govt. in High Court

On June 29 of this year, hundreds of gays, lesbians and transsexuals danced and sang on the streets of three Indian cities, hoisting the rainbow flag on the country’s first nationally coordinated gay pride day.

gay1.jpgThough they waved slogans such as “gay and loving it”, many still wore masks – afraid to openly campaign against the dreaded Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which has banned “unnatural” sex since colonial times.

So where do the protesters find themselves nearly four months later, as gay activists battle a (divided) government to scrap the law, taking the case to the Delhi High Court?

The charges leveled by the government against homosexuals appear to be stacking up. Local media has quoted additional solicitor general P P Malhotra as saying homosexuality is a “social vice”, borne of a “perverse mind”.

It has been called the worst form of indecency, while an MP from an independent party called it an “evil” that has been imported into India from the western world and would change the face of India.

Are India’s anti-dowry laws a trap for urban males?

I never thought I’d see the day when a guy would shy away from feminine attention. An innocuous remark I left complimenting a friend’s photo on a social networking website backfired.

I sensed panic in his voice when he called me to clarify matters.”I am going through a messy divorce and my wife’s lawyer is tracking my Facebook profile. Any remotely intimate conversation with a member of the opposite sex could be interpreted as infidelity and I would be slapped with anti-dowry laws and made to pay heavily,” he said.

bride1.jpgAn out-of-court settlement in a failed marriage has so far cost my friend a posh south Delhi apartment and his car, assets that had taken him five years of hard work to acquire.