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‘This is not about gay rights but human rights’

Celina Jaitly pens a first-person piece on the first anniversary of Gay Rights Day. Read on for more.
Hindustan Times | By Celina Jaitley, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2010 01:37 PM IST
It’s been a year since Section 377 was revoked. July 2 will now officially be India’s Pink Day, a day of liberation for the sexual minorities of the world’s largest democracy.

Homosexuality is not a criminal offence anymore. The first hurdle has been crossed and the next is ‘acceptance’. The LGBT community has had its share of ups and downs over the last 12 months. A professor of the Aligarh Muslim University committed suicide after he was humiliated and forced to resign for having consensual relations with a same sex adult.

Getting Stronger
The management of IIT, Hyderabad, sacked a gay rights activist and faculty member with 20 years experience, Ashley Tellis, apparently discomfited by his sexual orientation.

My dear friend, Laxmi Tripathi, was thrown out of Bombay Gymkhana club because she is a transgender. I myself have received threats and hate mail for supporting the community. While I’m proud that the movement grows stronger everyday, I’m also devastated by the fact that our society hasn’t really progressed but only learnt to mask its intolerance.

On this first anniversary, I would like our people to embrace the LGBT community. Homosexuality is not new and supporting gay rights doesn’t mean forcing an alternate sexuality on others. We are just asking that these people be loved and treated like anyone else.

Not Fair
I agree there are other causes that may be more important but it’s unfair to suggest that any group should be overlooked for other problems. Would you ask battered housewives to give up their fight to take up the cause of orphans? The LGBT community is harassed on a daily basis but you would not know it unless you were a victim or a friend/relative of one. My reason for supporting the community is that I believe freedom of choice should not be infringed on. This is not about gay rights but human rights. Remember after the game is over the king and pawns go in the same box.

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