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Friday, 5 February 2016

LGBT community keenly awaits SC relook at Section 377 - Bangaluru

Just when they were coming out of their closet and mustered courage to tell the world about their choice of expressing their sexuality and unshackle themselves, LGBT community in India was jolted by the apex court's decision to recognize gay sex as an offence under Section 377. As LGBT community across the nation anxiously wait for Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday, TOI speaks to LGBT community of Bangalore who gathered at Cubbon Park on Monday to protest against the verdict and share their stories of surviving in a nation which sees them as different.

Community members sat around a tree with banners that read "Equal rights", "Scrap section 377" and "My body, my rights" and recited their life stories. While some preferred to just listen to stories of their friends in the serenity of the park, others decided to voice the struggles, endeavours and more than that their undying hope from a nation which gives them the right to vote but not to love.

Usha Kiran Nayak, 30, hailing from Telengana is physically challenged transsexual man or FTM (Female to male) who ran away from native town and came to Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka to support himself and partner.

"I was in high school when I first realized I am attracted towards girls and came out in the open about my sexuality in 2008 to the girl I loved. I and my partner travelled to Tirupati where we got married in a community marriage service. I was 22 and my partner was 20 back then and no one could tell I was a girl looking at my attire and body language. But the day we got married, police came looking for me because my partner's father had filed a case of kidnapping against me and in no time police and media came after us. I remember that I and my partner, Radhika, hid in a room with help of a friend and knowing that society would tear us apart, we decided to commit suicide. I crushed my partner's bangles. I was saved my phone call from Sangama that pledged their support to us. I and my partner can live with dignity if section 377 is quashed and we wouldn't have to live in fear," said Kiran, who is looking forward to sex change operation and become a man.

Similarly, when noted Kannada writer Vasudhendra (46) who wrote the first Kannada novel on homosexuality his readers were perplexed and society was shocked.

"I remember a friend of mine telling me how he had to hide the cover of a book with a newspaper because he feared his wife will be offended by his choice of reading a book on homosexuality. The entire regional media remained silent about my book, but it was social media that changed the game in the book to gain huge momentum. LGBT community in urban area is still educated and have courage to come, but those in rural areas are kept away from books" said Vasudhendra.

Christy Raj (29) a transsexual man ran away from his home and his adopted mother who herself was a transgender woman and was against the decision of her daughter to become a man.

"I was ousted by the girl I fell in love with in my school, I was in class 8. They threw me out of school, saying I was diseased and would spoil other girls. I went through torture, shaming and abuse because I mustered the courage to be open about my sexuality. I almost gave up my life, but decided to survive after meeting others who share same plight as I. I want to live with my partner with respect and dignity. Please don't criminalise us just because we are different. The government want us to pay tax, pay bills, vote but refuses to accept us as individuals with feelings, what kind of a double standard is this?

Source : TOI , 1st Feb 2016

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