India: Glad to be Gay?

The huge news in the LGBT news today is that a court in Delhi has ruled India’s law on homosexuality unconstitutional. Currently anyone convicted of homosexuality in India can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. While convictions are not common, the law does mean that gay people are unlikely to be open about their behavior, and this can cause huge problems with medical issues such as AIDS.

This is not a new development. As The Times of India reported a few days ago, the Indian government had been considering repealing the law, which many see as an unfortunate hangover from colonial times. However, as this Thai newspaper reports, religious leaders from India’s Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities are united in their opposition to any change.

The news from India is important in a wider context because of the vast number of people that live there. As part of the Stonewall commemoration over the weekend Jeff VanderMeer and John Coulthart linked to a chart showing the state of gay rights legislation around the world. I thought at the time that it would be interesting to see the country representations weighted by population (hello, Russell, you there?). Changing the situation in India would make an enormous difference to such a map.

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2 Responses to India: Glad to be Gay?

  1. Let’s hope they see the light, as it were.
    Today, India. Tomorrow, the neocon nazis of America. (Yeah, that’ll happen)

  2. Paul Connelly says:

    Notice how often the judiciary has had to be the agent for extending basic human rights to minorities. If these matters were put to democratic votes, many citizens, possibly a majority, would revoke half of their own rights and all of those that belonged to any demographic group outside the mainstream, especially those in a minority based on language, religion, sexual behavior, and the most obvious physical characteristics (like skin color). Even when the majority becomes reconciled to allowing minorities to share basic rights, it seems to take at least a generation. Pretty sad.

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