City Homosexuals to March for Their Rights
December 1, 2003
By A Mid Day Correspondent
The city’s gay and lesbian community will be out in
full force this evening at Sion hospital. On the occasion of World AIDS Day
today, homosexuals will take to the streets in a candlelight march to compel
Mumbaikars to open their eyes to the community’s problems.
“The march is to highlight the ignorance and shame that
surrounds homosexuality in India, and the resulting grave effects on the
physical and mental health of the community,” said gay activist Ashok Row
Geeta Kumana of Aachal, a lesbian NGO said that not only
gays and lesbians but also heterosexuals would participate in the march.
Nitin Karani, guest editor of Bombay Dost, a publication
catering to the homosexual community, said the march aimed to raise a debate
over Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits “unnatural sex
between the same sex, either male or female”.
“The section is forcing a lot of people to go
underground and not reveal their true selves. The act makes it all the more
difficult to teach them about safe sex and also to counsel them and inform
them about testing centres,” said Karani.
Karani said the harm the act was causing was evident as
estimates by the National AIDS Control Organisation reveal that around 16 to
20 per cent of the homosexual population in Mumbai is HIV positive.
The march will start from Sion hospital at 6.30 pm and
will wind its way up to Maheshwari Udyan at Matunga.
Dr Hema Jerajani head of the department of dermatology
and sexually transmitted infections at Sion hospital, will address the
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