India High Court Criminalizes Homosexual Sex

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An Indian gay-rights activist looks on during a protest against the Supreme Court ruling reinstating a ban on gay sex in Bangalore on December 11, 2013. (AFP/Getty)

Sabelo Narasimhan, a queer trans Desi organizer and photographer, and Gardiner Harris, New York Times South Asia correspondent, discuss the ruling by the high court in India which re-criminalizes homosexuality and what they are trying to do to fight it.


Sabelo Narasimhan

Comments [16]

@ PJ from Bklyn (11:39 AM):

The State of Israel is indeed one of any number of areas where a discernible bias on the part of Brian Lehrer as well as WNYC in general should be quite clear to anyone able/willing to see it.

Can you imagine what would happen if Brian Lehrer , WNYC and NPR were to stop treading as lightly as they when it comes to Israel?

Or any number of other sacred cows.

For example, can you imagine someone like Bill Weintraub, the dissident homosexual frot advocate I just cited in my previous post, ever being invited to appear on the station?

Dec. 12 2013 12:09 PM

Correction to my previous post:

I wrote "former" where I meant to write "latter" and vice versa.

(Glad I specified the respective acts in question in parentheses)

Dec. 12 2013 11:45 AM

India's courts are the problem, they decided to overturn it, probably for minor political reasons. Yes, with gay rights and more visability there will be pushback but it seems the discussion is focusing to much the overall culture and regular people having an anti-gay point of view which isn't fair or right.

I've had 2 Indian girlfriends and over the last 10 years seen many positive attitudes regarding being gay/lesbian. I just came back from a multi-month trip in India with one, traveling to many cities and smaller remote places. We were accepted just fine, and embraced and respected by family and businesses. While I did feel at times like a piece of meat gawked at single men who looked sad and desperate, fascinated with my 'exotic' look (western, not indian) I never felt unsafe, disrespected, or threatened because of my sexuality. Not that I flaunted it, but saw in general people mind their own business and only stepped out of bounds if drunk or in a religious fervor. In peoples personal lives found while they didn't understand gays, they didn't feel threatened by 'it' and didn't believe they should be discriminated against, just wasn't an issue or big deal.

Dec. 12 2013 11:45 AM

If you follow the history of human rights around the world, this is normal. Once a demographic begins to gain legal rights, there's always an initial push back from the majority which will oppress the group even further. Just like in the US, we had slavery, then the law was changed to free the slaves, and then the south installed Jim Crow laws.

The laws will change for the better eventually, but unfortunately it may take many years.

Dec. 12 2013 11:42 AM

What exactly was criminalized?

All forms of homoerotic contact?

Or certain specific acts only?

There is a world of difference between, for example, an act such as frot, the non-penetrative, phallus-on-phallus sex advocated by such dissident homosexual voices as Bill Weintraub, and an act such as buggery (anal penetration). The /former/ (buggery) is an inordinately disease-spreading, anatomically and physiologically unsound, degrading, gruesome act in which one partner subjugates another. The /latter/ (frot), one of the safest and most egalitarian forms of sexual intercourse that exist. (To simply acknowledge such a manifestly, empirically obvious distinction, is not, in and of itself, to /condone/ /any/ form of homo-eroticism.)

Dec. 12 2013 11:40 AM
PJ from Bklyn

Brian is very selective about freedoms he supports. How about a story on the 40,000 Bedouins being forcebly removed from their traditional homes they have had for a millennia by Israel. The hypocrisy is sickening. Freedom for all i say. shine a spotlight on all subjugation of rights anywhere.

Dec. 12 2013 11:39 AM
Arthur Vincie from Brooklyn, NY

Could Gardiner Harris please stop making blanket statements about a country of 1 Billion people that features one of the most diverse set of interlocking cultures on the planet (that he's not a native of, btw)?

Dec. 12 2013 11:33 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Indian "society" may frown upon homosexuality, but I'm betting the reason they'd never pass a law in the legislature is that there are enough gay legislators who'd be outed if they voted in favor that they can't risk it.

Dec. 12 2013 11:27 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Hey India - Who cares about any kind of consensual sex between adults when women are getting brutally raped? Very hypocritical to say the least.

Dec. 12 2013 11:25 AM
Muffinz from NYC

This is sad. If India wishes to focus on "deviant" behavior, why doesn't it focus more on addressing the widespread rape of girls and women?

Dec. 12 2013 11:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Many if not most US states had anti-sodomy laws on the books until just a decade or two ago. What is amazing is how far and how fast we've come here in the West regarding homosexual rights. I think this generation has no clue how far and fast we've come. What that is good or bad I'll leave for others to decide.

Dec. 12 2013 11:22 AM
John A

Did they present any science linking it to sanitation problems, that is, the transmission of disease?

Dec. 12 2013 11:21 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Martin Chuzzlewit - holla!

Dec. 12 2013 11:18 AM
Babu Bhatt from Dream Cafe, 49th & Lex.

Oh for crying out loud, grow up, India! What century is it there?!

Don't send any more aid or stupid jobs there until all human beings are treated equally. Same for China, too.

Sigh. It'll never happen.

Boycott India!!!

Dec. 12 2013 11:09 AM

I was just wondering...
what was the pre mughal veiw on these issues

Is this part of the abrahamic taint or native hate?

Dec. 12 2013 10:38 AM

What's next? Gang-rape is a human rights issue?

Dec. 12 2013 09:14 AM

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