Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Indian LGBT Activists Outraged as Supreme Court Reinstates Gay Sex Ban

Protests in Delhi over ruling criminalising gay sex
THE GUARDIAN: Protesters gather in Delhi to denounce ruling overturning high court's decision in 2009 to decriminalise homosexual relations

First there was surprise, then shock, then anger. By nightfall thousands across India had taken to the streets in spontaneous protests against an unexpected supreme court decision on Wednesday reversing a judgment that had decriminalised gay sex in the country.

Activists had expected the court simply to rubber-stamp the original 2009 ruling. Now India will rejoin the more than 70 countries – mainly in Africa, the Middle East and south Asia – where homosexual relations are illegal.

The reinstatement of a 153-year-old law passed under British rule and based on 16th-century English legislation means "carnal intercourse" between consenting adults of the same sex is once more defined as "unnatural" and punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Waving multicoloured flags and wearing black bandanas, the crowd of protesters that gathered at the Jantar Mantar, a favourite point for demonstrations in the Indian capital, Delhi, was full of young men and women.

"I am gay, punish me," read one banner. "My love is not a crime," read another. The crowd cheered slogans of "My body, my rights" shouted by transgender protesters wearing bright traditional clothing. » | Jason Burke in Delhi | Wednesday, December 11, 2013