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Greater acceptance of gay sex in India: Survey

Crimes against gay people and misbehaviour by cops have dived,says a survey.

There has been greater societal acceptance and decrease in police harassment of lesbian,gay,bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community after the Delhi High Court’s landmark verdict of banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,a report said.

The research by Haryana-based Jindal Global Law School has found that the High Court’s judgement passed in July 2009 on decriminalisation of gay sex led to “increased self- confidence” of LGBT members and there has been a positive impact of the verdict.

“There is a growing societal acceptance for Gay,MSM and Kothi men. Many respondents (LGBT members) stated that the societal perception of homosexuals is changing and people were treating them with respect,” said the report of a research team from the Centre for Health Law,Ethics and Technology (CHLET) at the law school.

The study,first of its kind after the High Court’s verdict,assumes significance as the Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of petition filed by anti-gay rights groups challenging High Court’s verdict of legalising gay sex.

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Gay sex was earlier a offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code punishable up to life imprisonment but the High Court decriminalised the act among consenting adults done in private.

“It is evident from the study that decriminalization of section 377 has led to increased self-confidence and self-acceptance amongst the respondents. Some respondents also reported that they could now argue with the police since they know there is no section 377 in the law books any more,” the report said.

“The study reveals that police harassment has substantially reduced among MSM outreach workers,” the report said,adding that media and movies also played a vital part in making LGBT acceptable to mainstream society.

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A statement released by the law school said the study was conducted for over a period of six months from February to October 2011 comprising face to face interviews with 32 members of the LGBT community.

Professor C Raj Kumar,Vice Chancellor of O P Jindal University noted that,”The study points towards the positive impact that the high court judgement has had through a first-hand account of those impacted directly through an empirical evaluation of the people who are affected by the judgement.”

The author of the study,professor Dipika Jain of the law school,said,”It is evident from the study that there has been a positive impact on the LGBT community in Delhi and a country wide decriminalisation is bound to positively impact the lives of this community and their right to live with dignity.”

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The statement said that a copy of preliminary interviews was filed as a part of the intervention by the legal academics in the Supreme Court.

Kavya Kommareddy,a student researcher with the team said,”It is heartening to see the law having a real impact on the people by giving them self-confidence and a sense of empowerment and courage to fight for their rights”.

First published on: 20-02-2012 at 04:54:29 pm
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