Thursday, June 17, 2010

Indian gays long for greater social acceptance

Almost a year ago, the gay and lesbian community in India celebrated a landmark ruling. New Delhi's High Court decriminalized homosexuality by striking down parts of the country's colonial-era penal code. But the fight has not stopped there. The community is struggling for greater social acceptance and full legal rights.

After last year's historic verdict that ended state-sanctioned homophobia, India's fledgling gay community is working to ensure that the Delhi High Court's decisive verdict is not overturned in the Supreme Court. But simultaneously, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT community as it is widely known, has begun fighting for legal rights. Gautam Bhan, a prominent gay activist, outlines the roadmap ahead:

"We have long said as part of the gay rights movement that the victory in the Delhi High Court last July, was not the victory that ended a battle. It was a victory that began one. I mean really the fight has started now. Decriminalization was the first step. There is still no positive legal inclusion for gays and lesbians in the Indian legal framework. For example there is no non-discrimination in employment, or in health benefits or taxation or in joint home loans or in the right to visit your partner when they are sick."

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