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Talk on the History of the U.S. Gay Rights Movement, American Center (Mumbai), Nov. 19th, 6pm

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November 15, 2009 at 11:02 am

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India’s third gender gets own identity in voter rolls

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India’s third gender gets own identity in voter rolls

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN

November 12, 2009 — Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)

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A member of the gay, lesbian and transgender community holds hands with a eunuch after a court ruling on gay sex.

NEW DELHI, India (CNN)

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November 12, 2009 at 11:46 pm

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Our Own Place for the Older lGBT–write to ashok kavi directly

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Courtesy lgbtindia

From: arowkavi
> Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 07:32:01 +0000
> Subject: [lgbt-india] Our Own Place for the Older lGBT
>
> An LGBT Refuge and Old Age Home
>
> Everyone has a place in society and most of us must create one; we are different and diverse in culture, creed and color but most understand that our orientation is something unique only to us.
> Well, my little Prince, Manavender Singh of Rajpipla, has an old age home planned in Rajpipla but as an urban Indian, I’m not sure I want to end up in the backwaters of this great turbulent nation at the cross roads, far from immediate medical help. At the same time, I will not be a relegated to the past so easily. Not only will I be alone but I will also be lonely if I don’t have a partner.
> The concept of an Old Age Home for LGBT people has been discussed within the Board of Humsafar Trust, friends and colleagues across the spectrum. After studying some of the sad cases of gay men of means becoming bitter and badly-mannered faggots in their old age, it’s better to stop the slide downhill for our older brethren and that’s what this concept is all about.
> Can we have a communal living unit under one roof without the vulnerabilities of either being alone or lonely built out of the system? Yes we can if it’s well planned.
> This is an effort to do that – and its been shaping up over the last five years after talking to scores of people.
> If there are older LGBT people out on this list please write to me so I can share the concept and go forward with it seriously. I need a quorum of at least 25 to move this forward and I don’t think it’s too much to find them within our communities. Humsafar has always had a tradition of being innovative and pioneering in many ways. Maybe we can all pull this off with support from the Humsafar Parivar and INFOSEM.
> Thanks for reading this. So if you’re 55 or above, do write in and we can chat, exchange emails or meet to give shape to this project as soon as possible.
> Ashok Row Kavi

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November 12, 2009 at 8:55 pm

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The pressures of professional play (Gay Angle)

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The pressures of professional play

By Clare Murphy
BBC News health reporter

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Every sport has its own particular pressures

The suicide of German footballer Robert Enke has raised fresh questions about the particular pressures of sport on the psyche.

Every case is unique, and Enke had suffered intense personal tragedy with the death of his baby daughter from a congenital heart problem three years ago.

His widow Teresa said he had battled depression for years, and that he lived in fear the daughter they had subsequently adopted would be removed from them if his condition became public knowledge.

His career was also dominated by the extreme highs and lows that characterise sporting life.

A goalkeeper who was sidelined before finding favour again, he said openly that the threat of being usurped by a younger, better player made him falter, not flourish – and that it was faith in his talents that he needed to perform, not the challenge of competition.

After a stomach illness ruled him out of recent friendly internationals, a headline referred to his promised appearance in next year’s World Cup as the "comeback of the man thought dead".

Researchers have sought to unpick the various threads that may tie sport with suicidal tendencies. But the picture is a complex one, with each sport throwing up very different issues.

"We also have to keep this tragedy in perspective. There are particular pressures associated with sport but people do commit suicide – it is the most common form of death among young men," says sports psychologist Victor Thompson.

‘All consuming’

"We pay attention to this young man because he’s famous, but arguably many sports stars have access to the kind of support – from their team members, their club – that others could only dream of."

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Mind Games – Inside Sport (UK users only)

Former cricket player turned writer David Frith does however believe there is something inherent to his sport which means English cricketers are apparently twice as likely to commit suicide as the average male.

"It is the all consuming nature of the sport, the number of hours you spend not necessarily playing but sitting around waiting to play – quite different to football say. You live and breathe it in a very intense, nerve-shattering way, and then very suddenly you’re spat out, it’s over," he says.

"But we’re also starting to see problems at the other end of the spectrum, when players are just beginning their career. In India in particular, where there is glamour and fervour akin to the English football premiership, we’re seeing youngsters take their lives as they realise they’re not going to go all the way."

The England career of cricketer Marcus Trescothick was ended by a stress-related illness, although he dates the onset of anxiety attacks back to when he was just ten years old.

Taking to the stand

The most high profile footballer to commit suicide in England was Justin Fashanu – the first professional footballer to admit he was gay.

image006 image007You live and breathe it in a very intense, nerve-shattering way, and then very suddenly you’re spat out, it’s overimage008

David Frith
Cricket writer

He was found hanging from the rafters of a London garage in 1998, at the age of 37. He was at the time facing a court charge in the US of sexually assaulting a teenage boy, and wrote in a suicide note that while innocent he felt he would be treated unfairly because of his homosexuality.

His career had already nosedived by the time he spoke about his sexuality, but to his own mind it was a deep-seated prejudice within the English game which led to his demise.

The consensus remains that the sporting arena remains a difficult place to be gay, but regardless of sexuality all athletes live under the constant threat of injury, pressure to perform, and early retirement in which the commentators’ box is not always an option.

image006 image007I had clinical depression and I’ve probably had it all my life. It’s just that, for most of my life, I couldn’t admit to having something wrong image008

Wendy Williams

Injuries clearly take their psychological as well as their physical toll, but there is also growing evidence that head injuries may have a role to play in suicidal behaviour.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), associated with repeated blows to the head, is a risk for boxers and wrestlers – and has also been diagnosed in American football players – including two who had recently committed suicide.

Mind over matter

Chicken and egg theories also abound – and the question has been raised as to whether sport attracts a very particular type of personality.

There are athletes who have attained a high level of success in spite of psychiatric disorders such as manic depression, but also those who have perhaps chosen sport as a way of dealing with a problem like Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, Antonia Baum, a psychiatrist at the George Washington University Medical Center, has argued.

Eating disorders, which are associated with suicide, may also have started as result of involvement in sports which require the leanest body possible.

The American Olympic diver Wendy Williams said she became preoccupied with finding a way to commit suicide before finally getting the help she needed.

"I had clinical depression and I’ve probably had it all my life. It’s just that, for most of my life, I couldn’t admit to having something wrong.

"I was an athlete. I was supposed to be able to get over it. Mind over matter."

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November 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

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Britain Ready to Admit: No Good to Reason to Ban Gay Blood Donors

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Britain Ready to Admit: No Good to Reason to Ban Gay Blood Donors

http://www.queerty.com/britain-ready-to-admit-no-good-to-reason-to-ban-gay-blood-donors-20091028/

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That utterly retro policy that prevents gay men from donating blood? Britain is actually considering joining New Zealand, Spain, and Italy to overturn it. How come? Because as it turns out, the risk of letting men who have sex with men put their blood into a bank is effectively nil.

The scare tactic used to defend the ban surrounds a heightened infection rate among gay men. So, the thinking goes, keeping gay blood out of circulation, by default, cuts down on the possibility of infecting transfusion recipients. Except all blood is screened for HIV before it’s used — so why keep out healthy, willing gay donors?

There’s no reason: "While all blood donations are screened for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis B and C and syphilis before they can be used, very recent infections may not be detected. Health officials have argued that the only way to protect patients against this ‘window’ of early infections is through careful donor selection. Since 1985 only two patients have been infected with HIV through blood transfusions."

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November 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

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‘Docs worst informed about homosexuality’

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‘Docs worst informed about homosexuality’

http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/oct/211009-Ashok-Row-Kavi-gay-activist-homosexuality.htm

By: Hemal Ashar Date: 2009-10-21 Place: Mumbai

As Mumbai gears up for a mammoth conference on sexuality, gay activist Ashok Row Kavi slams sexologists for their ignorance. Hemal Ashar referees a face-off

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What do they know? Ashok Row Kavi. file pic

Ashok Row Kavi
Gay activist
"Doctors are the worst informed about homosexuality. At one talk, stupid questions like, ‘Are there injections to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals’ were thrown at me by docs. I answered with sarcasm.
I told them I know of injections that turn heterosexuals into homosexuals. They must understand human sexuality as a spectrum of different sexualities without being judgmental."
"Sexologist Dr Rajan Bhonsle, for instance, is homophobic. He claims homosexuality is a "choice" when it is a sexual orientation. Bhonsle wrongly equates same sex with anal sex.
A large number of gay men I know do NOT have anal sex. Bhonsle induces many homosexuals to go in for aversion therapy. His writings and lectures come in the way of creating a more tolerant and healthy society."

Dr Rajan Bhonsle
Head of the dept of sexual medicine at KEM Hospital

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WHO IS HE ACCUSING?
Dr Rajan Bhonsle. file pic

"Kavi calls me homophobic, but has he read my writings or listened to my lectures where I have said that every person of any sexual orientation has equal rights? I have not stated that homosexuality is only a choice, only said that there are certain unknown factors that might make a person veer towards it. I have never stated that all gay men have anal sex and have also said that heterosexuals too have anal sex.
"I do not believe in aversion therapy. Only if an individual, who approaches me, has the right reasons, and a willingness to develop orientation towards the opposite sex, do I help him. I have hundreds of patients who have developed heterosexual orientation following therapy and are now happily married."

Sex mahamela
The 25th National Conference of Sexology by the Council of Sex Education & Parenthood International (CSEPI) in partnership with the Indian Andropause Society (IAS) and Andrology India will be held from October 23 to 25 at the Nehru Centre, Worli. About 200 doctors from across India are expected to attend this event.

Is homosexuality an orientation?
Homosexuality is definitely an orientation. but homosexuals can change their orientation; they can become bisexuals. Also, some medicines, along with psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy, may be used to change their orientation. I would not term homosexuals as abnormal or mentally ill, but I do think their orientation defeats the purpose of human evolution.
– Dr Madhav Pakhare, psychiatrist and sexologist

Homosexuality is an orientation, it is genetic. No medicine can change orientation. Though we do not need to promote homosexuality by saying homosexuals are more creative and all that nonsense, gays need to be accepted and respected. All these medicines and tonics in the market designed to change orientation just exploit the desperate.
– Dr Prakash Kothari founder, professor, dept of sexual medicine, KEM Hospital

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October 22, 2009 at 10:29 pm

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Transformation, Emancipation

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Transformation, Emancipation
Written by Hira Nabi
Sunday, 18 October 2009 03:17
On July 2nd, 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that the law outlawing homosexual acts was discriminatory and a “violation of fundamental rights.” The ruling overturns a 148-year-old colonial law, which describes a same-sex relationship as an “unnatural offence.” The recent ruling decriminalising homosexuality in India, being touted as India’s Stonewall, is generating debate and controversy. This ruling comes at a time when there is much unrest and agitation around the notorious Proposition 81 and other lesser-known rulings around hate crimes and non-discrimination acts and marriage rights.

A piece of legislation insofar as it remains encoded in legality is not of much use. Granted, it provides recourse to law and aims to safeguard rights and protect from vulnerability those whose rights have been dispossessed. In this case, homosexuals and transgendered peoples, who have been Other-ed by the draconian laws written into existence by bigotry and privileged intolerance. Securing human rights, however, remains a process. New rulings and laws must be accompanied by social campaigns that must explain and create acceptance and understanding around new unprecedented pieces of legislation. The judicial framework even remains inaccessible to many. How can this ruling be extended beyond red tape bureaucracy and provide a real solution to the queers and non-straight-identifying people of India?

At the same time, credit must be given where it’s due. The fact that the Delhi High Court was able to overturn this ruling is proof of a vibrant and clamorous lobby for queer rights. It is of course an indicator of the change in the Indian society and state, towards granting rights and protections to queers. While it is clear that LGBTQ organizations and activists have been advocating rights for homosexuals for a long time, the State must now build upon those efforts through the legal framework (initiated on July 2nd) to make this change more palatable.

Essentially, the new queer movement seeks to broker alliances across all kinds of social binaries, of gender, sexuality, class, race, ability and create a wide range of opposition to counter the status quo. It needs to and has broken away from old patterns in which there no alliances between gay men and lesbians. The idea of ‘queer’ as imagined by radical activism and organising challenges to heterosexism, though a movement built by the collective experiences of all those who have been Other-ed and their allies. This battle is being waged to deconstruct the existing power dynamics by challenging the heteronormative ideology to be able to garner meaningful change.

Despite the collective and coalitionist nature of this movement, ‘India’s Stonewall’ seems to be set in celebrating and protecting only gay men. Where are the voices of the lesbians and the transgenders? Where indeed are the queers? There has been a lot of publicity around gay men and gay activists and organisations that support homosexual men, and indeed a lot of anger too; however, men have dominated the discourse. In conservative patriarchal societies it is difficult to be a gay man. Coming out requires a great deal of courage, a lot of patience and indeed a lot of love. As Che Guevara famously said, “a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” To be queer is tantamount to heralding a revolution. Yet, female-identified, female-bodied and transgendered people have all been sidelined and excluded from this revolution. Gay men are socially ostracised, stigmatised, attacked and murdered at worst; tolerated at best; and in some few cases, accepted.

It is however, lesbians and female-bodied people who do not identify as straight that cannot be tolerated. Male privilege must not be forgotten when it comes to the oppression of heterosexism upon those who exist on its margins. Is it is easier to be a man and to be gay than to be a woman and to be gay? Governed by mores where it is socially inconvenient and a social liability to be a single woman, it is at times unthinkable to be a woman loving or living with another woman in a society that has grown old and rigid in enforcing different standards of acceptable and appropriate behaviour for men and women. However, is it even judicious to be asking such reductive questions? I was made to re-think the need for this question through an email conversation with a friend who pointed out the “unique violence and threatening nature about the inherent machismo quality within societies that makes coming out as gay for men particularly affronting.” We need to measure the different impact of heterosexist norms upon queer male bodies as opposed to queer female bodies, however to create yet another hierarchy would be conceding the battle. It has been argued that privilege can be manipulated in a radical way to use that space and visibility to the movement’s advantage. I have my own concerns about this as this strategy can oftentimes fail in its methods and instead reinforce the existing system by pandering to its hierarchies instead of deconstructing them. However, insofar as this can be empowering and empathetic, it should remain a part of organizing and activism.

In conservative patriarchal societies, it is often noted that it is not just homosexuality that is closeted; heterosexuality also needs to come out into the open. It is clear that this is as much an issue of social emancipation and raising social consciousness, as legal rulings. It is an issue that must not abandon or isolate the lesbians or the trans communities in favour of those who are male-bodied and male-identified and indeed male-privileged. This is a movement for all of us, queer or straight, male or female, cis or trans, gender conforming or genderqueer, to come together and challenge the existing paradigm.

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October 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm

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