Thursday, March 22, 2007
Growing up Gay in India


My colorful introduction to India's gay community

I'm waiting at the live shot position here with the World News Asia team in CP in Central Delhi. I'm glad I've got the chance to chat with Anjali after the "Growing Up Gay" piece runs because it brings up so many interesting issues.

Setting up this story has been incredibly difficult. We set out to survey the challenges and unique perspective that gays and lesbians in India face. Being gay in India can get one thrown into jail in this country because of a section of the Indian Penal Code (Section 377) which criminalizes same-sex relationships.

The law, drafted in the 1860s when the British were still ruling the subcontinent of India, states:

"Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature ... shall be punished with imprisonment ... and shall also be liable to fine."

Not only is there a law against it -- but there is a such a social stigma that goes along with being gay in India that there is a reluctance to talk about the issue openly.

It took many weeks to find people who were willing to go on-camera to talk. Those that chose to felt it was important to help us try to understand a world which is largely hidden from view.

Gautam Bahn, an activist and author I interviewed, mentioned that it is almost a bigger deal to be unmarried in India than it is to be gay. He underlines the incredible societal pressure that many young Indians feel to get married.

"Marriage is seen as an eventuality, not as a possibilty," Mario D'Penha a 25-year-old gay Indian tells me.

It was the night that I interviewed a guy who asked me to call him "Shankey" that I found to be one of the most interesting. He's married to a woman and they have three kids together. He says he regularly has sex with other men. He felt compelled to talk with us because he says there are so many Indian men like him.

It was sad to think of this guy's wife at home wondering where he was -- having no idea that he was talking with CNN about being gay. I worried about the health and safety of his wife as well.

"Shankey" painted a picture of a rather promiscuous life of sex in public parks with other men who may be returning to their wives and families.

Of course, there's no way of knowing how many men there are or even how typical this behavior may be. But, for this one guy, I worried about his wife -- on top of feeling bad that he had to live a double life.

One of the issues I didn't get to cover in our piece was the difficulty that HIV/AIDS prevention groups have in targeting messages to gay groups. In a country where such relationships are illegal, very few messages are geared toward gays and lesbians. Some of the lesser-educated guys I spoke with told me that there are some here that don't know about the potential risks involved.

There are incredible social divisions among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community here. Even the term "gay" can be considered to apply only to an educated, English-speaking, wealthier class here.

Author Gautam Bhan says: "Caste and religion and class are all identities that are acceptable. They're traditional. A sexual identity is very disconcerting to Indian society."


"A lot of gay men use marriage to be free. A guy can literally wear a tiara and a ballgown and walk down holding another man's hand. But if someone asks you, and you say: 'Oh no, I have a wife,' you're done, it's clear, you can do whatever you want."

There are also social divisions within the Indian gay community. Among the predominantly Hindi-speaking community, some men identify as being "kothis," a sort of feminized male identity, Bhan writes in his book. Hijras are another sub-set of gay life. "Hijras include men who go in for hormonal treatment, those who undergo sex-change operations and those who are born as hermaphrodites," Bhan writes. Many are simply referred to as "MSM" or men who have sex with other men.

Bhan says young women are often those most willing to hear his story:

"When we as activists will go to a college and talk about sexuality, the first people to understand us are single young women -- always. Because they, living in a city like Delhi, know exactly what it means not to have sexual freedom. to feel watched all the time, to feel like their sexuality is controlled or policed, to reel like they have to hide or lie about what they do -- and they instantly get it."

Over the past 10 years, gay and lesbian lfe has emerged in pop culture. The movie "Fire," released in India in 1998, depicts a lesbian relationship. When the movie hit theaters, it sparked an outcry.

There is a budding gay life here and some in the wealthier LGBT community have gay nights at bars, groups of friends and freedoms which may not exist for poorer gays in India. This was a fascinating story to get to cover -- and I found it became dinner conversation among friends in India -- curious to hear what I was finding.

You can watch my report here

-- From Seth Doane, CNN International Correspondent
The LGBT community in India, surrounding countries, and also the Middle East, face an uphill battle when "coming out" to friends and family. I realize that this processes is easier said than done, but I do hope that there will be plenty more opportunities for open and honest discussions. Being gay is not taboo.
I am an Indian and even though I disagree with homosexual relationships, it�s every individual�s personal choice. But it is very sad that men like 'shankey' decide to live a double life. But I am very sure that he will expect and make sure that his three kids get married and be traditional, no matter what he has done in his life. The problem I see is that, men in India have become slaves to their fleshly (perverted) lusts. And that is eating India's soul alive.
i am shocked at swapna's comment and attitude...what 'shankey' is doing (cheating on his wife) cannot be condoned but to ask him to ensure that his sons are married and lead a 'traditional' life is ridiculous..unfortunately the report has turned out in a way where 'shankey' and his ilk have become the focus..gay life in India is much more than that..we lead cloistered lives fearing society and the law..very few have the courage to break away from these shackles...educating society that homosexuality is 'normal' and a way of life and that we are not 'prisoners of lust' is the only way to go ahead
It is unfortunate (and amazing) that in 21st century, there are places, like India, where gays and lesbians are treated as criminals.

It is even more shocking that politicians (such as Swapna) are so ill-informed in India.

If there is a God, then God created gays too. Gays have existed since the begining of time. More importantly, people like Swapna should not be telling people who they can or cannot have sex with. It is no ones business. Instead she should be helping the country move forward.

Who says everyone should have 'traditional' life style? God? Other people? It is up to each individual how they want to live their life. I thought India was a democracy. Democracy means people have choices.

Swapna or any other person does not have the right to tell 1000s of other people what they should or should not feel. There is nothing wrong with having sexual desires or feelings of lust. Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.

Also, soul belongs to people, not to a country. It is the people who make a country. If educated, forward-looking politicians are elected in India, the caste system will go away and so will issues with being gay or lesbians.
I most certainly do not agree with Swapna, no matter what anyone says or what religion states, every man/woman should have the right to live their lives the way they wish to do so, no matter their sexuality, straight/gay/bisexual. No one should be shunned for their sexuality, and we condemn people for being racist? What makes it right for anyone to be discriminated against because they are gay?? Nothing. I wish people would open their eyes and be a bit more open on the way they think and stop being so discriminatory regardless of the reason.
Seth,

First of all, thank you so much for doing this piece. I have been a fan of yours since your days at Channel 1.

I am an American studying in Sheffield, England and was only yesterday discussing these issues after the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual (LGB) Committee asked several of us international students to come speak about being LGB in a different country.

Coincidentally, I had a very informative conversation with an openly gay Indian student about his experiences in England and back home. He found it very difficult to reconcile his involvement in the Indian and gay communities in Sheffield.

The goal of the meeting was to discusss ways to effectively let students from less accepting countries know that the Sheffield LGB is a safe place that they can come to for anonymous support. His story and insights were truly eye-opening.

Your excellent work on this issue is another reminder that those of us fortunate enough to have the freedom to be who we truly are can gain new perspectives and maybe even help make the world a more accepting place.

Best,
Michael Maldonado
University of Sheffield
University of Oklahoma
The author of the report only scratched the surface of the diversity in Indian non-heterosexual life, though he did touch on some of it.

Commentors like Swapna who disagree with homosexual relationships, and feel that it is every individual's personal choice, need to educate themselves about some basic biology. There is increasing evidence that homosexuality has a biological basis. That is, it's not a personal choice, but how you are born. Seeking a same-sex relationship is hardly any more perverted or fleshly than seeking an opposite sex one.

What is eating India's soul rather is hypocrisy and double standards.
Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God. No amount of left-wing media support will ever change this.
To the bigot Tim: your god is a myth. It doesn't exist. Stop using your non-existant fantasies to justify your hate.
Funny that the same word, 'abomination', used in the Bible to refer to homosexuality is also used to refer to the touching of pigskin. So, football players are just as much abominations as gays. Get over it! Things change and people smarten up. The Bible also has problems with people wearing clothing of different weaves, is that stopping you from wearing silk with cashmere or cotton with synthetics? Didn't think so. Learn to think for yourself!
Tim, on the other hand our Epics do have gays and transexuals in them. How can
god condemn gays when Arjuna was a transvestite dance teacher in Mahabharata, and Bhishma was killed by one?
Your god must be stupid if he makes the mistake of creating gay people in the first place.
it's not about right or wrong...plus we are noone to decide what's wrong and what's right.who exactly are we to declare who's going to heaven or hell?
i think the problem that should be focussed on in india is how to prevent STDs among gay/lesbian communities.we cannot just ignore homosexuals as if they don't exist and deprive them of the information they SHOULD know.it's not only endangering their lives but the lives of their spouses as well.
i think we should stop trying to be God and do what's required of us.
I am glad that this issue is surfacing thereby making a possibility for discussing this topic & having everyone�s viewpoint.
As per traditions & customs, India is diversely cultured country. Seeing the pace with which world as a whole is coming together; it won�t take too much time for de-classifying sex based on individual�s urge in next few decades. Major concern for India is that people should be more broad-minded and not be just sticking with merely traditional virtues. If individuals know what they are doing & what they are essentially committing to then it becomes easy for everyone to survive together. Indian families still stay together. In this situation, parents cannot discuss about sex with their child, even though academics are giving sex education. But we never discuss about �gay, lesbian, or bisexuals� in academics or in house.
On other hand, if there are no restrictions, there won�t be any laws abiding people. But educating them on these issues does not mean violation of law. I agree India has had a large cultural leap to 21st century. But true traditional value comes by accepting new culture and not by ignoring it. Let individual decide for their opinion about sex after knowing pros & cons of it and also potential health risks associated with it.
I am glad that this issue is surfacing thereby making a possibility for discussing this topic & having everyone�s viewpoint.
As per traditions & customs, India is diversely cultured country. Seeing the pace with which world as a whole is coming together; it won�t take too much time for de-classifying sex based on individual�s urge in next few decades. Major concern for India is that people should be more broad-minded and not be just sticking with merely traditional virtues. If individuals know what they are doing & what they are essentially committing to then it becomes easy for everyone to survive together. Indian families still stay together. In this situation, parents cannot discuss about sex with their child, even though academics are giving sex education. But we never discuss about �gay, lesbian, or bisexuals� in academics or in house.
On other hand, if there are no restrictions, there won�t be any laws abiding people. But educating them on these issues does not mean violation of law. I agree India has had a large cultural leap to 21st century. But true traditional value comes by accepting new culture and not by ignoring it. Let individual decide for their opinion about sex after knowing pros & cons of it and also potential health risks associated with it.
To Benjamin in DC, The God Tim has is probably the same one most people bleive in, you want to be an athiest, be one, but keep you thoughts and comments to yourself. Being gay or lesbian is a challenge in it's self, I don't agree with it. My question to you is why do gays and lesbians try so hard to convince other people that they should be accepted. If someone doesn't want to agree with it, they don't have too. I agree with Tim, being gay is filthy and wrong. It's just an excuse to fullfil one's responsibilty to be a man or woman and raise a family and other responsibilities as a couple that God itended it to be in the first place. Someone in the 1800's was using the right morales then, what has happen to todays society, it is being eroded away by people with the likes of you and gays, lesbians...I won't accept that way of thinking and I do beleive there is a God, go to war, you won't find a person in a fox hole under fire not believing in prayer and God!
Let me preface this by saying, I am going to remove all issues of morality and religion.
If you were to look at homosexuality in terms of science, and as a biological condition, you would have to say it is unnatural. Not in the sense that God condemns it , just in the sense that it cannot further human evolution, development etc.
If you were to compare it to other biological maladies, such as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder, which are also in-born conditions, would people be so quick to support and encourage it as a lifestyle?
In closing, I only raise the point to play the devil's advocate, I personally do not care how people choose to live their lives, as long as they are happy and do not infringe on other peoples well-being.
I am an American that has spent the last 12 years in the Netherlands and am now working in Delhi, India. It has been an extremely difficult transition to move from a place where being gay is such a non issue to a place where I have to watch everything I say. Not that I feel it is important or even anyone's business, it is just that if people find out, it can cause some issues in the workplace.

I have had many conversations with people in India about being gay here. I meet many gay men who are married or will be married soon. They know they can never be in a relationship with someone of the same sex because to do so would be to shame the family and be ex-communicated.

There is also a huge double standard here that allows people to accept my being gay as I am not an Indian. However if an Indian colleague or friend would come out, they would not be so willing to accept him. This is a country where a man and a woman kissing on the side of a major road in Delhi is cause for discussion and concern (I know this because it was the talk around the office a few weeks back)

There are changes happening here, with movies like "Honeymoon LTD" in which a man comes out to his new bride and she decides it is better to stay with him than to risk the shame.

I have only been here 2 months and these are some of the things I have seen and experienced. I sure there is a lot more. India is changing, in some way incredibly fast and in others very slow, but I think it will be a long time before gay people can be open to family and friends.
I am not gay relationships but people should be bold enough to come out and speak out.

The guys like "Shankey" may also become sources HIV/AIDS. They should remain unmarried and they can carry on their relationships hiddden from society.

Even if exposed in society soon they might find other people joining them and which will eventually become a part of the society.
Homo-erotic attraction is evident in almost every species, including homosapiens. It is a natural occurence throughout God's creation, so i find it difficult to understand how God has found fit to condemn His own work. Derogatory passages in religious text (whether the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or others) concerning same sex relationships were interpretations made by men, not by the Almighty. Jesus never condemned homosexuals, but he consistently preached charity and love for one another. Hatred and bigotry are the emotions truly at odds with the teachings of Christ. It is common knowledge that self righteous individuals who experience homo-erotic fantasies respond to these emotions with exaggerated hatred. Filthy and disease ridden? The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.
I think we all need to remember what the article was about- being gay in India. It isn't about whether or not we believe that it is or is not OK to be gay. Therefore, this is a political issue, not a moral one.

In the light of the other comments made by Christians, I am ashamed to say that I am one as well. However, I do not see why we need to bring religion and politics together- they are two very different realms.

Whereas I do not agree with homosexuality, I would never oppose legislation to protect a group of people from life-threatening illness or the right to live thier lives as they choose. Therefore, in my opinion the attitude towards homosexulaity in India must change in order to protect these people and get them the sex education they need. I might not agree with the way they choose to live their lives, but the Bible taught me to love other people and that's the position that I take.

Sarah
To Tim and Mario,
Get a life (or a man)! You closet cases!
I agree with Mario. If I want to decide how someone else lives their life then that's none of their darn business. And why are they trying so hard to get accepted and have equal rights, anyway? America never wastes its time with stuff like that. Homosexuals just want to have gay sex to spite me.
This is a very interesting article. So many times I see families from India and I think. Wow, they are really family focus and you do not see a lot of gays in their circles. Now, I realize that looks are deceiving and what I think I see may not be a true picture in terms of heterosexual relationships. We all screwed up the sooner we acknowledge it the better for everyone. Let the women have their freedom to live as they please, intern you will give yourselves permission to live life as you are and if that means being gay so be it.
The Bible also says we should chop off our children's hands if they steal something. Own your hatred, don't blame someone else, especially not God. I personally thank God for choosing me to be the mother of a gay man. God is good, not hateful.
For Tim & Mario:
What I find amazing - AMAZING - is that anytime the topic of homosexuality is raised in the media, especially in a forum such as this where commenters can hide behind the anonymity of their computer, the BIGOTS and HIPOCRITES seem to come out of the woodwork to scream about what a sin homosexuality is, and how "it's in the bible" and "god said so" and blah blah BLAH. It's also in the bible that women who are menstruating are unclean nd should not be fraternized with. I think we've moved past that one. And might I just bring to everyone's attention as a reminder that the BIBLE also says that carnal knowledge prior to marriage is a sin as well. People seem to LOVE to forget about that one. Or the one about "judge not lest ye be judged". Or the one about "Love they neighbor." That's a popular one to disregard. I am sick to death of narrowminded, bible-thumping hipocrites using GOD as the scapegoat for their mindless hatred.

To me, this blatant sort of HATRED "is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God. No amount of left-wing media support will ever change this. "
Let us all listen to Tim and Mario as they are Gods chosen representatives. Being force fed the beliefs of others is so much better than thinking for oneself. I much more prefer to sit down and shut up and let others do the thinking and speaking for me. Think of the Utopia we could have if we all did the same. I abhor having my own opinions. Thanks Tim. Thanks Mario. God loves you.
I wonder how many time he voted of Sonjeyo on AI
I'm only posting because I want to represent that there are lots of us who believe in the G-d of the Bible who don't think that the LBGT community should be treated poorly. You have the right to believe and say that any behavior is immoral, but depriving people of their civil rights and being a jerk about it is also "filthy and wrong." There are plenty of those Old Testament commandments that everyone ignores for a variety of reasons (good and bad). This angry obsession with the prohibition of the act of same-sex intercourse is from homophobia and sexual repression, not the belief that it is a sin.
I'm sure Swapna was being sarcastic when she said that she was sure shankey would expect his kids to get married etc. She also said that she respected an individual's rights for freedom, so i have no idea why most of you attacked her post.

She did comment on men in india having "fleshly perverted lusts" and that may be the cause for some of the flak. But if she was refering to shankey here then i have no problem. This dude is apparently quite promiscuous, by his own account having sex with other men (plural) in public places despite being married with 3 kids. I have zero symphathy for such fellows, i dont care what you guys think. This dude is putting his wife at serious risk for infection.

I certainly do pity gays/lesbians in India who are forced to get married because of societal pressures. I pity their spouses as well, perhaps even more in cases where the spouse cheats. And yes, it is still cheating, and is absolutely not fair to the other person to hide such a truth and engage in an affair outside marriage.

I have gay friends and very much respect a person's freedom. I also believe that it is natural to be gay. But not one of my gay friends would condone shankey's antics.

I do think that gays/lesbians in India would do what gays/lesbians in other places did. That is, find liberal pockets where they are not only accepted but respected. They will then flourish in such areas and with the "coming out" of prominent personalities slowly the perception will change. In the short-term certainly the constitution should be altered to prevent this from being illegal. In the longer term it will only happen when people see more "normal" people who are gay and start realizing that this is not what they thought. It will take a long time for sure - even western societies still have large pockets where gays/lesbians are not welcomed. But the way to change perception is not by force or law - that's impossible. It is by exposing more bright/successful/normal gays to the indian population and over time a lot more will start "getting it". I think some of this has already started happening, so my sense is that it will be much better for the next generation. In the meanwhile let's keep the shankeys to a minimum.
Tim, Mario, you BOTH might consider therapy. This information with regards to gay life in India culture is not much differant from our own right here in the U.S. It might shock MOST people to know how may men that are married with children have gay affairs. In fact, it was not long ago that one of Tim and Marios male religious leaders was caught having an extra-marital relationship with another male but of course turned himself in to rehab as.....it was a result of drug abuse rather than what came as a natural attraction. I find that very amusing. And people. Make no mistake. Gay's do not want social acceptance. I am a gay male. I don't really care if Mr and Mrs Heterosexual likes me any more than Ms. Lesbian or Mr Gay next door. As a tax payer, I expect equal rights. Period. Let's fix this perception of social degradation in India. We can blame it on outsourcing all those American jobs. Perhaps when we trained these people to act and sound like Americans so that we are fooled when our call centers route us there, they took their studies too seriously and picked up some of America's gay traits too! I am sure that India was not gay until we started outsourcing. Ugh!

This story of India and the Middle-East is just like home without the jail time. Except for Texas!
Is shankey by any chance Shah Rukh Khan? He is a big star in Bollywood (India's equivalence of Hollywood), is married with kids and supposedly gay with a big time Director Karan Johar (who is openly gay).
I am an American that has spent 13 years of my life in India. It is a shame that such prejudice still exists in a society with so much to look forward to. Tim just needs a beefy leather clad man to take him out in drag.
Well I think that all of you that think GOD is a myth are crazy. When the end of time comes you will find out he is as real as he was many years ago. The Bible says many things, and the one thing it does say is that marriage is meant for one women and one man, even divorce is a sin unless it is justified by adultry. You all need to wise up and get your life right with GOD. Who you think created us? We sure did not come from apes!!! The quacks that thought that up are millionaires and are laughing at all of you that believe that. There is not proof just thoughts of what they think could have happened. It is wrong to be gay, and why do the gays have freedom to throw around there gay card but CHRISTIANS have to keep there mouth shut and take down crosses and take GOD out of the pledge? You take GOD out of the pledge and the world will regret it!!!! I am opposed to gay marriages, they are wrong, freedom of speech or not. This country was founded on good morals and look at us now, we are going down the drain.
To Mario in Idaho: I certainly will NOT keep my thoughts and comments to myself, especially when government policy is being made based on mythology, lies, and fantasies! Just because a bunch of uneducated people believe in something doesn't make it real or acceptable. Anyway, your argument -- based on something that doesn't exist -- is specious and thus invalid. But just to humour myself, if one takes a part of your arguement as valid -- the part about if someone doesn't want to agree with something, they don't have too -- then why can't I not agree that there is a god?
If you truly follow Christianity then you should know better than to judge or "cast stones". If you believe God id the highest power, then let God be the judge and keep your hate to yourself. I believe what consenting adults do is between those individuals.
It's a shame that the homosexuals have to hide and that the women have to live in false marriages. That is my only concern.
I'd like to point out that being religious/believing in god and being gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered are not mutually exclusive. I believe in god, and I'm gay, and I don't think that either god or nature makes mistakes. So whether you're religious or not does not matter.
People have issues with homosexuality, irrespective of nationality or religion. Period. Yeah there is increasing evidence that homosexuality has a biological basis. Yes, it�s true that doctors have stopped viewing it as a psychological problem since the 70's. Of course it�s everybody's personal choice...blah...blah...blah. The problem is most people are fine with it as long as it doesn�t concern their immediate welfare. They are outraged when the military discriminates against gays, but they wouldn�t want to work next to a gay person. They are shocked that a certain family disowned their kids after they knew that they were gay, but don't have the stomach to deal with the truth if their own kids or siblings (or god forbid-their spouses) turn out to be gay. They would vote for legalizing gay marriage but would not dare to be seen attending one.

If people think this is hypocrisy & double standards, the fact is that it affects most of the world.
Indian Society is riddled with double standards and hiding things in general and Swapna, the so called MP, suffers from this. It would be great if she could concentrate on finding out what exactly is eating India's soul alive; not the harmless gays, it is perhaps corruption and illiteracy.

Going against anyone's natural inherent tendencies brings disaster. Everybody needs love and if gay people find it in their own way who is to be blamed? Why should not they be allowed to find love as they think is right?

Indian MPs and general public should concentrate in providing fair and decent working opportunities to gays and educating them against the AIDS etc. so they can protect themselves and live a peacful, productive and happy life. It is very easy to judge others but being judgemental of others is not a good practice. Gay people are gay for no fault of theirs and instead of criticizing them, I would like to see society taking up responsibility to help them up. They are god's children as much as you and me are.
i have nothing against homosexuality. in fact i support gay marriage. however, what bothers me about this article is that it portrays India in a poor light. esp. with the archaic law that is mentioned. remember even in the US homosexuality is not easily accepted. just 2 years ago, a gay couple was arrested in Texas and charged with some anti-sodomy law that still exists in most of the southern states here in the US. heck, Bush won the last election because the biggest issue here was gay marriage and not Iraq, terrorism, AIDS, environment, or global poverty. This in supposedly the most advanced country in the world. at least in India they dont preach anti-gay propoganda and tell you that you'll go to hell for being gay in temples like they do in churches here as in much of the west. remember we still have Khujarao and Ajanta-Allore intact even after thousands of years even though they portray homosexual acts.
If there is a God, I don't think they are as hateful and fearful as thier followers, or that they want them to be as such either.
Gays should be allowed to live thier lives as they want, just as religious followers want to freely worship their God.
Its interesting though how everyone wants to live their life as they please, but there's always a religious person ready to jump on them with hate, fear, and war and tell them otherwise. Aren't religions supposed to be about love and acceptance?
God did not create "gay people", he created people with freewill. You are free to seek truth, to live life destructively and try to rationalize it, or even to hate people enough to go around and bash them in the head with a bible. Make a choice and prepare to someday be judged for it.
Most indians of the older generation would restrict their children from dating. I mean in some areas of India, even talking to someone of the opposite sex who wasn't related to you could get you in some trouble at home. Has anyone ever thought that perhaps such extreme restrictions even at a mature age, has led people to explore their options of the same sex?
India is estimated to have the greatest number of HIV infected people in the world. Instead of repealing Section 377 and helping people practice safe sex, the Indian authorities continue to wallow in denial and hypocrisy. Unless ignorant, bigoted Indian people like Swapna are enlightened about reality, nothing is going to stop closeted men from having unprotected, anonymous sex with strangers, thus endangering entire families.
Why can't bible-thumpers ever spell?
Gay people should be able to express them selfs freely without going to jail, its the same as putting some one in jail because they are having an interacial relationship. the world today...
Firstly, those who find homosexuality against nature must look into nature closely. Primates, Dolphins, Penguins are among the many species that practice homosexuality. Infact if the societal norms were not so narrow, we would find homosexual numbers (or rather thier ratio to hetrosexual numbers) being much larger than they are now.

Secondly, look into history, Greek history is replete with such relationships and so is Japanese and Taiwanese history.

Also there is evidence of biological basis for homosexuality. I suppose therefore the debate of homosexuality being against nature will more or so end in the near future with scientific evidence.

However, what needs attention are the issues such as HIV/AIDS (prevention, counselling for those feeling displaced, and urging homosexual women to speak out since we hardly ever hear them speak as well wives of gay men. We never their side as well.
I agree with Marisa. You can believe in god & still be gay. What freaks the so-called religious people is the fact that you have sex with men.

Even if you convince that you are not married because you're gay and that you abstain from sex people, will still not believe you 'cause they don't think abstinence is possible. If priests can do it why not gay guys?

Tolerance is what is lost in today's societies. Just live your life & let others live theirs.
I am a indo/protugese living in australia. but as my mother is indian
and i have tried to relate to the indian culture over the years. unfortunately
gay people have the hardest time in india, unable to live your live as you should
freely under the laws of nature or god, is something every individual have
a liberty for, but unfortunately , though we have achieved independence in the country,
the society and the community are bound by unrealist society values.
I undetstand most indians are compelled to live their lives through the eyes of the society
and the society's expectation towards them. The goverment is corrupt and has no room
for human emotions. A married life with wife and kids,makes a man/woman successful
but a man-man or woman-woman do not display a happy relationship, very judgemental!
i hope you guys can figure you what you really want to live your life as, be yourselfs
and its your GAY /lesbian stick up for yourself and dont live a double standard life to please other
Seth, you must make a similar story about gays and lesbians in the Middle East.

Many thanks for this story. Keep up the good work.
I did not read the all of yours comments, but I thinks the homosexuality should not be acceptable. However, the government should not have the right to rule people.
You may claim that Oh it is natural or it is by genes. This is completely BULLY. If that is true than on can argue that Oh It is natural for me to involve into criminal activity.
Sahni, from Delhi says "If there is a God, then God created gays too. Gays have existed since the begining of time." If that is true, then God also made criminals then why we the laws that go against them. Similarly, it goes the same thing for gays and lesbians. They are not socially acceptable in India and should not be acceptable. Feelings and desires can be controlled if you have a strong will power. These people lack so and hence the society should take appropriate steps to condemn them.
You know again everything is falling around the Bible and God created all men equal. I like the comment that Jay made, especially about the criminals. God made us and we have chosen to go against his will. He didn't make gays, or killers, or rapist. We have turned into those things and he has allowed us to do that, we have destroyed ourselves and we will be our own downfall. God has promised to come back for us if we do as he says, and by being gay, or a killer, or a rapist we are not living as he designed. Therefore, I agree that gays are immoral and wrong and everyone wants to be different!! That is all that is boils down too. Everyone is intitled to their opinion, we can clearly see that, but at what cost to the world. How can one raise there childern in a good solid home if they teach that it is ok to be gay? I want my children to know that is is WRONG!!! That is what I am teaching them and I will continue to do if until they are out of my home.
I am an Indian. I realized I was gay when I was around 15. As I was attracted to only guys and didnt had any attraction to girls. But I was living a frustrated life as Indian culture and law treats gay people as indecent. At the age of 26 ,I came to know there are lot of gay people in India. After that I came out to my friends and started a living a true life. So I decided to move to a country where I am respected more.Now I am happy living with my partner.

I wouldnt have got that happiness if I married to a girl whom I am not attracted to. Also if I get married because of family pressures, i still be dating men and cheating my wife. And I wont be happy living a life cheating someone. So I decided to live an open life.You cannot blame Indian gay people who are having a promiscous life after getting married. The situations made them to cheat their wifes.

My advise to gay people in India is to immigrate to countries like Canada where you get equal rights and respect.

My life story here. Appreciate your comments.

http://indiangaypride.blogspot.com/
Deepak,

First, I want to point out that being gay is NOT genetically driven or natural rather it is a personal choice. I understand people make wrong choices due to certain circumstances, but there is no reason why can't you control it. You mentioned that you were not attracted to girls but guys at the age of 15. It is very common thinking for all boys during that age to not to think about girls. The problem I see in you or may be in other gay people who probably have the same story is that the matter of choice. You guys failed to look things from others perspective. You became gay and then you will spread the infection to others. Young kids does are kids and don't know how to assess thing in depth. It takes time for someone to start thinking at that level.

Deepak, you also mentioned about having a true life. I want you to ask yourself that do I really know what is a true life? You probably not and it may take you a whole life to understand it.

Also, you said that "The situations made them to cheat their wifes." I think it is not the situation but your wrong choice that creates these situations.
I like your advise about migrating all the gays to Canada. I vote you on that. Atleast, it will lessen the probability of having more gays in other Countries.
"Tim"'s comment is a prime example of the ignorance and close-mindedness that unfortunately permeates the world.
I am an Indian who was bought up in the USA, so I am not sure about the Indian policy, I didn't know that being gay was illegal in India. Though I certainly do not agree with this. It doesn't matter what you are, people should be all the same, doesn't matter, alot of people fear of the laws which are right and wrong, but only few the courage to go against the law. It is very shocking to see this in India still. People have right to live their own life the way the please.
Jay, I have a comment for you: I being a woman, rather travel in a train full of gay guys and know that i'll reach my destination safely. Look at the rape, murder, crime cases around the world, how many of them are committed by gays and lesbians? My friend crime is taking away by force something that does not belong to you. Gays and lesbians are only fighting for their rights they are not taking away anything from you. And as far as my knowledge goes, fighting for your own right does not constitute crime. Then how can you classify gays and lesbians as criminals? God is great the way he made you and I, he made gays and lesbians... as far as criminals are concerned, god made them also as humans and they became criminals for whatever reason.
It is quite sad that most of the ignorant comments (Jays: You became gay and then you will spread the infection to others.) have to come from the USA. Clearly, many people are misinformed here about homosexuality as in India. But hey, what can I say? When someone argues based on morality and the Bible, you just can't talk any logical sense into them. After all, they take the Bible as fact (okay and the universe revolves around the Earth).

But anyway, I do hope one day that the LGBT community in India does not have to live in shame anymore. Fear is a powerful weapon but so is pride and solidarity.
i totally agree with jay. God didnt create anyone gay. you chose to be gay. just like some chose to be rapists and drug dealers and prostitutes and sucide bombers.

i pray for the people of the earth. so many things are going wrong.
Jay,

You mentioned homosexuality is a choice. I think for bisexuals it may be a choice as they have attraction to both same and opposite sex. If I am a bisexual ,I might have thought homosexuality is indecent and controlled my attractions to men because I dont have awareness and also because what I learned from childhood was homosexuality is wrong.

But being gay I never could think of having sex with a girl.

Also you mentioned that I am spreading a disease. I am not spreading any disease .As I am sure that I cannot become straight from gay , I cannot change any straight guy to become gay. May be bisexual people can change to other side. I am just sharing my story to get equal rights and respect. I dont want anyone to change .

I agree with your comment on Living my true life. I gave that title just because I am truthful to my friends after I came out .. Before that I was telling lies to my friends to hide my sexual orientation.As you said ,it takes a lot to live a true life. I am changing my title.
To all the Bible thumping bigots I am a gay Indian and am proud of it. If you have an issue with that then that is your problem
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