I am amazed at the coverage almost all major papers have given to LGBT issues. Happy and gay times ahead. Have compiled most of it for you according to the papers they were published in. Here goes the Times Of India coverage
From Times of India
Anti-gay law may be changed soon
Two Key Ministers In Favour, Rigid Home Ministry Alters Stand On Repealing Sec 377
Vishwa Mohan | TNN
A MATTER OF PRIDE
On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, a look at the gay scene in India in the ’60s
Vikram Doctor | TNN
Sunil Gupta probably shouldn’t have been there when he first saw other gay people. He was 14 or 15 years old and in the most notorious place in Delhi in the late 1960s. This was The Cellar, the first nightclub started outside a hotel, and Gupta was there as his sister’s chaperone. “I’d be given a Coke and told to sit in a corner seat,” he recalls.
It was while sitting there that he heard people talking. “They said, did you know that guy there is gay,’’ says Gupta. He had heard about gays from magazines brought by Berkeley students who were paying guests with his family. “They had gay personals ads, and while the students weren’t gay, I could talk with them about it.’’ And now, at The Cellar, he could put faces (some still well known in Delhi, though still not out) to that term and realise there were gays living in Delhi, just as he could be too.
The Pride marches taking place across the world this weekend commemorate the 40th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots which started on June 28, 1969. That night, the police raided a gay bar, a routine harassment, but this time instead of submitting, people fought back, kicking off the public struggle for queer rights. Today, it’s easy to forget that the struggle existed here too back in 1969. And impossible as Pride marches in India would have seemed then,
it was the community’s sheer existence at that time that would provide the soil from which today’s movement would spring.
Men and men, women and women, have always been sleeping together in India, as evidenced in sources like the Khajuraho carvings, Urdu love poetry and literary references like Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaaf. The criminalisation of such practices, as brought in by the British, stifled any open growth of the community, yet it continued to exist. Police reports hint at the persecutions the community faced, yet it survived, as is shown by literary references, in sources as diverse as the sensational stories of Ugra (Pandey Bechan Sharma), Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet, and a wonderfully badly written, yet campily fun novel called The Dew Drop Inn by Leslie de Noronha, who was for years the theatre critic of Mumbai’s Catholic newsletter The Examiner. That novel paints a picture of a freewheeling gay scene in Bombay and Delhi in the ’60s, but always in private and mostly at parties.
“It was vital to have a place of your own,’’ says S., a writer who came to Delhi in his teens. He remembers a maharajah who had a huge house in Delhi from where he made full use of his position as the Indian representative of an international sporting association. “It was really quite an exploitative scene, that was the unpleasant side to it,’’ says S.
Foreigners were a large part of it. Many had stayed on after the Raj, usually as agents of foreign firms, enjoying the freedom their status gave them to lead a gay life they couldn’t back home. They also enjoyed the many Indian men
who preferred sleeping with foreigners, because they saw it as safer than sleeping with other Indians. By the late ’60s though, another younger type of foreigner was being seen—Peace Corps workers or the first hippies.
Another change of the ’60s was the chance it allowed a few young people to experience gay culture in the West. This was courtesy Air India which, hard as it is to imagine now, was one of the leading, most stylish airlines in the world then. Run by worldly bosses like Bobby Kooka, it attracted many gay and bisexual men (and a few lesbians as well) to work as aircrew. Going abroad was still hard for Indians, so for the aircrew it was a great chance to experience gay life abroad. N., one of them, remembers how, on one of his first trips to the US, soon after they checked into a Manhattan hotel, two other gay crew members, who had figured him out, took him to a bathhouse where gay men met. “They went off to have fun and left me alone. I was so embarrassed it took me about three to four visits before I picked up the courage to approach someone!’’
In the years after Stonewall, N. did notice a greater openness in New York: “Before you’d take the cab to the head of the road the bathhouse was in, but later on they had no problem dropping you to the door!’’ But no change seemed forthcoming in India. Many of his gay colleagues got married, arguing that an open gay life in India was impossible, while others, like a lesbian couple he knew, emigrated. In Delhi too, S. saw gay IAS officers he knew getting married; there seemed no other option, and the sex they could always get on the side. And yet even then there were a few who resisted. B., an academic in Bangalore, cites the example of two older friends—a historian and a businessman—who never came out about their sexuality but never concealed it either and always remained friendly and supportive, but not exploitative, of younger gay men. “They really played a mentoring role to me,’’ says B. In 1990 journalist Ashok Row Kavi started Bombay Dost, India’s first gay magazine. In Delhi, a group of gays and lesbians started meeting to discuss how to start fighting for gay rights; they called themselves the Red Rose group because a flower was always kept on the table to identify it for newcomers.
In time more people would come out, more gay and lesbian books would be published, Fire would be made, attacked and defended, HIV would force government to tacitly acknowledge groups representing sexual minorities. And ultimately, in however unlikely a way, one has reached a time when both Dostana and Pride marches are possible. It is a huge change, yet it would not have been possible, here as in New York 40 years ago, without the gays and lesbians who lived their lives then.
Homophobic India in dubious league
Rubs Shoulders With Hardline Islamic Nations; Even China Lifted Ban On Gay Sex In ’97
Manoj Mitta | TNN
So what if you’re gay? For mum, son still shines
Shreya Roy Chowdhury | TNN
GB Internet Radio
Gaybombay breaking news and annoucements
Emergency Helpline number 9820565885