South Asia: Same-sex South Asia

Himal Magazine
June was a watershed month for homosexual rights in the West. The homosexual community in South Asia, especially in India, has been making news as well.
On 10 June, a court in the province of Ontario, Canada, declared same-sex marriages legal. Since the federal government has not appealed the decision, Canada in effect has become the third country in the world, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to legalise same-sex marriages, and hundreds of same-sex Canadian couples have already taken advantage of the ruling.
Two weeks later, on 26 June, the US supreme court struck down laws banning sodomy, which are still on the books in 13 states, ruling that the state cannot make "private sexual conduct a crime". And four days after that, the British government made public a plan to give lesbian and gay couples the same rights as their married heterosexual counterparts. The homosexual community in South Asia, especially in India, has been making news as well. On 29 June, the city of Calcutta hosted the first-ever gay pride march in the Subcontinent. Though small in the number of participants, it was an important start, and there are other indications that the community is making its presence felt. The Indian Council of Medical Research is debating the adoption of guidelines that would allow lesbians and single mothers to use reproductive technology to conceive babies.

The BBC reports that The Boyfriend, a recently-published Indian novel dealing with love between an openly gay man and a young boy who feels unable to pursue his homosexual instincts, "has raised hopes within the country's largely invisible gay community of the chances of coming out of the closet". And in Nepal in May, the Blue Diamond Society, an NGO working to promote homosexual rights, held a beauty pageant for homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals in Kathmandu's National Theatre.

Read the complete article on the Himal Magazine website.