Today's issue (Thursday,March 2009) of Hindustan Times has a letter to the editor which deserves a public campaign. It reads:
"We ask the Home minister to decrminalise homosexuality in India. An an emerging global power, India cannot continue to rely on archaic colonial laws that are bearly 150 years old and which oppress a group of citizens whose sexuality is a normal variation of human behavior.
Speaking as representatives of the mentral health profession, we assert that there is no evidence that homosexuality is a mental illness, now supported by a large body of research. But as a result of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code still being law, there is government sanction of such discrimination.
A group of citizens are being unjustifiably denied essential freedoms, and are often physically abused and blackmailed by the police and other malicious individuals"
It is signed by Dr. E.Mohandas, President-elect, Indian Psychiatric Society, Dr.Nada Stotland,President, American Psychiatric Association, Prof Dinesh Bhugra, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Let us start a campaign as part of the civil society Charter of Rights that are non-negotiable for this forthcoming Lok Sabha election.
It will help the gay,lesbian,bisexual and transgender community to add muscle to their demand for the ongoing fight to reform the anti-sodmy laws in the country.
So write immediately to all your aspiring Lok Sabha candidates a polite letter asking that this be included as psrt of their election manifesto. Civil Society and the lGBT community can do it. It should read thus:
Greetings on standing for elections as our representative to the Lok Sabha. We request you to actively help in reforming archaic laws that oppress our citizens and take away their legitimate rights. This is with special reference to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that continues to oppress members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender hijra communities. Please help by revoking and reforming this law when you become MP. Best wishes for your election campaign.
Ashok Row Kavi