Sunday, November 23, 2008

In the world's biggest democracy, homosexuality is illegal

Several prominent Indian authors, professors, and other professionals
choose not to live in India because they are unable to reveal and live
with their sexual bent.

From the Boston Globe --

"Even with the white horse rented, his gold-speckled turban fitted,
and the wedding hall lined up, Mahesh did not feel ready to get
married, at least not to a woman.

The shy computer engineer is gay.

But Mahesh went ahead with the elaborate ceremony in May because
someone he had befriended online blackmailed him - threatening to tell
his parents unless he paid $5,500.

Severely depressed and suffering from insomnia, Mahesh recently
swallowed a dozen painkillers. He survived. But his blackmailer heard
he was in the hospital and demanded more cash to keep his secret.

Three months later, Mahesh said he is broke and taking several
antidepressants. He is still married.

"I really don't want to die. But I also don't want to keep lying,"
said the 24-year-old, who spoke from a counseling center and asked to
be called by his first name. "I feel so trapped. According to the law,
my blackmailer can report me and have me arrested."

That's because in the world's biggest democracy, homosexuality is illegal.

The Indian penal code describes the act as "against the order of
nature" and declares it punishable by 10 years to life in prison,
longer than most rape or murder sentences.

But several human rights groups are making a historic challenge to the
law, imposed by the British in 1860, in the New Delhi High Court. The
effort to repeal the law is seen as a test case of India's commitment
to secular democracy, with some legal specialists saying that moral or
religious arguments cannot trump constitutional rights in a democratic
society. A verdict is expected before the end of the year."

Read the full article at--

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