Despite HC verdict, gay activists say nothing has changed

The Delhi HC may have decriminalised homosexuality a year ago, but leading gay rights activists on Friday claimed that nothing has changed on the ground as homosexuals still face discrimination and harassment including by police.

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 22:24 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court may have
decriminalised homosexuality a year ago, but leading gay
rights activists on Friday claimed that nothing has changed on the
ground as homosexuals still face discrimination and harassment
including by police.

"It was one of the momentous judgements in the last
60 years. But still on the ground nothing has changed. Police
still target the community. They are often beaten up and
harassed," Ashok Row Kavi of Humsafar Trust said.
He was speaking at a panel discussion on "Gay Rights
as Civil Rights:Perspectives from the US and India."

He, however, admitted that a lot of issues have opened
up following the Delhi High Court judgement.

Director of Naz foundation Anjali Gopalan said the
favourable court ruling had come after an eight-year battle
but the plight of lesbians in India continues to be the
"worst".

"Lesbians are absolutely at the bottom of the ladder,"
she said.

The Delhi High Court in July last year had legalised
homosexual acts among consenting adults holding that the
149-year-old law making it a criminal offence was violative of
fundamental rights.

Speaking on the occasion, US Deputy Chief of Mission
Donald Lu said President Barack Obama considers gay rights as
a fundamental human right and that the US administration is
committed to improve the plight of the community.

"The President is personally involved in this movement
to remove the stigma," he said extending support to gay rights
community in India.
A video message of Obama on gay rights was also shown
during the conference where the US President underlined the
importance of ensuring rights of all sections of the society.

"As a nation we are founded on the belief that all of
us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our
own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to
speak our minds..to be true to ourselves. That is the freedom
that enriches all of us. That is what America is all about,"
Obama said.

PTI