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Ramadoss statement gives gays hope

india Updated: Aug 10, 2008 23:23 IST
Sumeet Kaul
Sumeet Kaul
Hindustan Times
Ramadoss statement gives gays hope

Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises men who have sex with men, must go.

Anbumani Ramadoss, Union health minister Ramadoss’ statement in favour of gay rights has triggered murmurs of approval among gay groups in India — and outside.

Gays and lesbians who left the country so that they could be themselves at university campuses in the US or UK have tuned in with interest.

Going away was easy for Vaibhav Saria (23), a student of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. “It was not easy being gay in India,” said Saria, who belongs to a Marwari family in Kolkata and is studying medical anthropology. “The US has its problems too, but it gives you that vital space to carve out your own identity.”

Ramadoss ’ statement gives him hope, but Saria knows there’s still a long struggle ahead.

Ashley Tellis (37) came back after stints in the US and UK. A lecturer at the English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad, he said lesbians have a tougher time in India. “You find a lot of lesbians enrolling for PhDs in the US,” he said. Tellis returned to participate in the gay rights movement. “Ramadoss’ statement is important as for the first time a senior politician in the government has come on record about legalising homosexuality.”