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December 12, 2014

Recriminalization of homosexuality leads to an increase in anti-gay violence

More than 500 LGBTI activists yesterday attended a hearing in New Delhi on the consequences of India's recriminalization of gay sex.

The Supreme Court reinstated Section 377 of the penal code on 11 December 2013, which organizers India HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance India) said has led to an increase in anti-gay violence, stigma and discrimination and adversely affected the uptake of HIV services.

December 1, 2014

India’s LGBTI community have shown they are not prepared to just disappear quietly since the country’s colonial era sodomy law was reinstated by the Supreme Court, with hundreds marching yesterday in the capital, New Delhi

Hundreds of LGBTI Indians and their allies took to the streets of New Delhi on Sunday – the first time the capital city has seen a gay pride march since the 1861 colonial era Section 377 anti-sodomy law was reinstated.

Reports estimate that between 400 and 700 marched in the city of 22 million people, waving garlands of multi-colored balloons and rainbow flags, chanting ‘freedom!’ and ‘I’m gay, that’s OK!’

November 24, 2014

India recriminalized homosexuality last year

Up to 2,000 people yesterday (23 November) protested India's anti-gay laws at Bangalore pride, the first since the country recriminalized homosexuality in December last year.

After an hour delay, hundreds of people set off from the city railway station for the sixth Bengaluru Pride March and Karnataka Queer Habba in India's third largest city, in Karnataka state.

Unlike previous years, the parade was redirected through the conservative Malleswaram district and most marchers decided not to wear eye masks or cover their faces, despite the law.

November 24, 2014

India recriminalized homosexuality last year

Up to 2,000 people yesterday (23 November) protested India's anti-gay laws at Bangalore pride, the first since the country recriminalized homosexuality in December last year.

After an hour delay, hundreds of people set off from the city railway station for the sixth Bengaluru Pride March and Karnataka Queer Habba in India's third largest city, in Karnataka state.

Unlike previous years, the parade was redirected through the conservative Malleswaram district and most marchers decided not to wear eye masks or cover their faces, despite the law.

November 19, 2014

US embassy in Hanoi hosts an annual LGBTI music festival 

Ted Osius on Monday (17 November) was confirmed as the US ambassador to Vietnam, making him the seventh LGBTI ambassador to be appointed during the Obama administration.

President Obama nominated the former career diplomat in May.

Osius served in Asia for most of his 25 years in the foreign service - in Indonesia, India, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam - and was most recently a professor at the National War College.

November 17, 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition features a gay mage named Dorian

Computer game Dragon Age: Inquisition will not be released in India in order 'to avoid a breach of local content laws.'

Electronic Arts confirmed Saturday (15 November) in a statement that the game would be withdrawn from sale in the conservative country and pre-orders would be refunded.

EA did not specify the nature of the content that was in breach of the law but fans speculate the game was banned due to its inclusion of a gay character.

November 14, 2014

Senior official says culture is no excuse for denying human rights

The US has urged India end to discrimination against LGBTI people and said culture is no excuse for denying human rights.

Sarah Sewall, under-secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights at the US state department, made the comments yesterday (13 November) while delivering a lecture on human rights in New Delhi.

November 10, 2014

Marchers were banned from dressing indecently, dancing and smoking in the conservative Indian city

About 300 LGBTI activists marched through India's eighth largest city for the fourth Pune pride, double last year's turnout.

'This time we are specifically looking at youngsters who are petrified of coming out in the open about their sexual orientation,' Bindumadhav Khire, president of organizers Samapathik Trust, told the Times of India.

'We want to help them in accepting their sexuality and being comfortable about it.'

November 6, 2014

Read our review of new film Margarita, With A Straw and our interview with the star Kalki Koechin

Margarita, With A Straw is about a bisexual Indian girl with cerebral palsy who moves to America.

While this might sound like someone accidentally checked all the boxes on a diversity form, it is a wonderfully intimate film about identity and finding yourself.

Writer-director Shonali Bose focuses on the character of Laila, who is determined to not let her disability define her.

She writes lyrics for a rock band, she crops her wheelchair out of her Facebook pictures and masturbates freely to audio pornography.

October 31, 2014

Group of transgender women held off an armed mob then cleaned up after

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised a group of transgender women who have been cleaning the streets of east Delhi where riots have been taking place.

The media has reported that the 15 women have been clearing stones and glass shards and giving brooms to residents.

Clashes between Hindus and Muslims broke out on Diwali for unknown reasons in the Trilokpuri area of the capital.

Modi tweeted, 'Good effort by Laila Shah & her friends towards Clean India.

'Such efforts are a big strength for Swachh Bharat Mission!'

October 31, 2014

Group of transgender women held off an armed mob then cleaned up after

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised a group of transgender women who have been cleaning the streets of east Delhi where riots have been taking place.

The media has reported that the 15 women have been clearing stones and glass shards and giving brooms to residents.

Clashes between Hindus and Muslims broke out on Diwali for unknown reasons in the Trilokpuri area of the capital.

Modi tweeted, 'Good effort by Laila Shah & her friends towards Clean India.

'Such efforts are a big strength for Swachh Bharat Mission!'

October 16, 2014

Transgender students in the Indian capital also qualify for the 25% school quota for disadvantaged children

Transgender children in New Delhi now qualify as 'disadvantaged' and are eligible for free education at public schools.

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung said transgender students belonged to the 'disadvantaged category' under the Right to Education Act and were therefore eligible for 25% reservation under the economically weaker section and disadvantaged students for admission.

October 6, 2014

The man's partner shot his mother first for opposing their relationship

An 18-year-old Indian man shot dead his boyfriend on Saturday after his partner first shot his mother for opposing their relationship.

The incident took place in a slum in Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat province.

Inspector P D Parmar told the Indian Express, ‘The youth shot his homosexual partner killing him on the spot when he tried to kill the accused’s mother following an argument.'

September 16, 2014

The country's UN ambassador says LGBTI rights 'go against our values'

A top Bangladeshi diplomat has said the Muslim country will oppose any recommendations on LGBTI rights at an upcoming UN conference on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Abdul Momen, Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN, told the Dhaka Tribune, 'It goes against our values. Like many other countries including those Muslims and Christian, we opposed it.'

September 8, 2014

Chetan Bhagat says Section 377 is a relic of India's colonial past

Bestselling Indian author Chetan Bhagat has blasted his country's anti-gay law as 'sinful' in a blog post published on the Times of India website.

He wrote, 'We make 100 million Indians criminals and go about our daily lives as if their concerns are irrelevant to us. To me, this is nothing short of a collective sin.

August 9, 2014

Proposed legislative change is the latest move in the country’s clampdown on LGBTI rights

Indian’s Union Government has moved to stop same-sex couples from adopting children. The decision was taken while the federal cabinet reviewed amendments on Wednesday (6 Aug) to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

Although LGBT single people are not currently banned from adopting, campaigners in the country now fear that the ban on same-sex couples could be extended to single LGBT people too.

August 3, 2014

The Universities Grants Commission in India has created a separate category to include trans students in applications for scholarships and fellowships 

The University Grants Commission (UGC) in India has officially recognized trans people, creating a separate category for them in applications for scholarships and fellowships.

This means applicants filling out university forms will not be restricted to only choosing ‘male’ or ‘female’ gender identities.

August 1, 2014

Hospitals in the country look likely to perform surrogacy services from 2015 – but under strict rules and regulations that prohibit gay couples from applying

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has announced plans for a small number of Vietnamese hospitals to perform surrogacy services – but for married heterosexual couples only. The policy echoes a recent clampdown by the Indian Government on its country’s surrogacy services – outlawing surrogacy for same-sex couples from India or abroad.

July 18, 2014

Top female sprinter banned from competing in Commonwealth Games. Raises issue of intersex competitive sport ban

One of India’s top sprinters has been banned from competing in the Commonwealth Games because she has too many male hormones.

While Dutee Chand’s gender identity is not in question, she has too much male testosterone in her body to make it fair for her to compete against other women, sports bosses have claimed.

June 6, 2014

The Senegalese Government has forced the closure of all LGBTI themed exhibitions at the Dak’Art 2014 biennale after a gallery was attacked by Islamists

The Senegalese Government has forced the closure of an LGBTI themed exhibition that was being held as part of the Dak’Art 2014 Biennale of Contemporary African Art after the gallery that was housing it was attacked by Muslim extremists.

‘Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness’ opened at Dakar’s Raw Material Company on 11 May but after only one day the building was attacked and vandalized.

June 2, 2014

The first ever count of India’s transgender population has found nearly 500,000 who were prepared to say they were transgender in filling out census papers – though activists say the real number may be far higher

490,000 people listed themselves as ‘third gender’ or transgender in India’s most recent census – the first time the Indian Government has sought to ask how many people identify as such.

55,000 of those were under six and were thus recorded by their parents as being transgender.

66% of the people who chose the third gender box lived in rural areas – close to the 69% of the Indian population in rural areas.

May 16, 2014

LGBTI rights activists warn under the new government, homosexuality could stay illegal for another five years and the persecution of the community can only increase

Gay sex in India could be banned for another five years now a homophobic political party has gained power in the national election.

The opposition Hindu nationalist BJP party is on course for a landslide victory, as suggested by early results.

Although final results are not expected until later, the scale of the predicted victory is on course for a landslide victory. More than 500 million people voted in the election.

Narendra Modi, the leader of the BJP, tweeted: ‘India has won. Good times ahead.’

May 8, 2014

A campaign using transgender women to remind motorists to use seat belts has become an online hit in India with nearly 2 million people viewing the video online

A seat belt safety campaign in India has become an online hit after it enlisted the help of India’s transgender community to remind people to buckle up while driving.

Almost 2 million people have watched the campaign video on YouTube and other platforms in which the transgender women, known traditionally in India as Hijras, step out into stopped traffic to remind drivers to use their seat belts.

Despite being marginalized Hijras have traditionally been believed to confer blessings and are often asked to bless births and other auspicious events.

April 30, 2014

In support of LGBTI equality around the world, the UN’s Free & Equal campaign releases a new music video to encourage change in India

‘It is a new look. It’s a new attitude. You might wonder where the old way of living has gone. But who is worried about who like what, as long as in the world of love two people want to be with each other.’

With some words of encouragement the matriarch of an Indian family welcomed home a gay member of the family and his partner.