Why Health Minister’s Comment on ‘Protection of Gays’ May Not Mean Support for Queer Rights in India

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My dear lovely kalamwali-bais and jhola-bag wale patrkaar bandhu!

Firstly, let me thank you all for bringing our health ministers statement.

While I continue to receive messages from people on social media by BJP supporters who think the Government has softened its stand on homosexuality, let me point out how things are far from what you want to believe.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that the rights of gays needs to be protected, but he reserved his comment on Section 377, leaving much to interpretation and imagination. There are many who have said that the rights of gay people are important. Take for example the church which says that gay people need to be respected but gay sex is against Gods intent. This is not really “acceptance” of LGBT persons.  There is also an alarming rate of rape of LGBT people in India. It is scary that we still have not taken a stand on protecting LGBT individuals. It truly is scary.

Now looking at the views of Dr. Vardhan on sex education and on the use of condoms, I have every reason to be cynical. But if he really meant protection of rights, let me state that we accept nothing less than equal rights. But I agree that this is a step in the right direction. It is high time now for the BJP government to come clean on their stance on Section 377 and remove any ambiguity as to where they stand on the issue. For till Section 377 exists, there is no “respect”.

So, I hope against hope, that there would be light in the end of this BJP tunnel… and that laws will make way for it.

Harish Iyer

Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist from India and is best known for his quirky campaigns for the rights of Homosexuals, Women, Children and Animals. He was also listed at #71 in the World Pride Powerlist 2013.