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India’s Gay Community to Build Political Support to Win Rights

India’s gay community is seeking to build political support for its rights after the Supreme Court reinstated a 153-year-old law that bans gay sex. Despite the huge blow to gay rights, activists say they have managed to bring what had been a taboo subject into the open in a country that remains largely conservative.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

2nd February 2014 09:20

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

Forty-three-year-old gay rights activist Shaleen Rakesh recalls the time when he was growing up in New Delhi. He said homosexuality was a subject no one ever mentioned, and it was certainly not discussed or debated.

“I used to really wonder if there are any other gay people in the country except for me, because I never met one until much later, when I was in college. Really, there was a suffocating silence around us,” he said.

That silence was broken about ten years ago, when activists began a legal battle to overturn a colonial era law that banned gay sex. They succeeded in 2009.

But last month, the Supreme Court reinstated the law criminalizing gay sex, once again putting Rakesh and others of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community at risk of prosecution.

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