Kolkata Activists Highlight Gay Issues
Sify (India), July 23, 2003
Kolkata—Gay activists will take to the stage on Thursday in Kolkata in
their latest bid to win more acceptance for homosexuality in India.
‘Kinara’, which translates roughly as ‘The River’s Edge’, centers
on a dialogue between male partners growing up in rural India who mull the
social stigma of same-sex love.
The Bengali-language play is open to the public and activists are
distributing tickets free to the media in hopes of highlighting the cause.
“Gays are fighting for acceptance and peaceful coexistence in society,”
said activist Rafiquel Haque Dowjah, who wrote and acts in ‘Kinara’.
“They want to make their presence felt and spread awareness about
same-sex love in a conservative society like ours,” he said.
The play is part of a series of events in Calcutta aimed at increasing
awareness about gay issues.
On June 29, more than 100 activists held a rare gay rights parade in the
city coinciding with worldwide marches on the anniversary of New York’s 1969
In the past month, gay groups here have also launched a music video and
organized a panel discussion on the status of sexual minorities.
Calcutta in 1996 saw the premiere of India’s first gay-themed ballet,
‘The Alien Flower’.
The ballet, which chronicles a gay man’s life, was performed afterward
across India and in Malaysia and Australia.
India’s courts are reviewing laws that, while rarely enforced, make
consensual gay sex an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
While there are few open homosexual communities in most of India, Mumbai
and Bangalore enjoy reputations as more hospitable to gays and lesbians.
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