ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Gay and Lesbian Movement

Gay and Lesbian Movement THOUGH Sherry Joseph's analysis of the gay and lesbian movement in India (August 17) is mostly an accurate and faithful account of what has been transpiring in the movement to free sexual minorities in India, there are some unconscious discrepancies. Joseph has written (p 2229) thus: "None of the publications have a lesbian on their editorial board and the columns are male dominated. It is also known that the lesbians who were members of the editorial board of Bombay Dost in 1990, no longer serve in that capacity." The facts of the matter are as follows. Bombay Dost started with an editorial collective of three gay men and three lesbians. There was no imperative or necessity at all for the gay men to work with the women except for a sincere desire towards both gender justice and equity. Bombay Dost was started not just as a platform for gay activism but primarily to confront issues related to unprotected homosexual transmission of HIV/AIDS and STDs. As pointed out by this author in the important session on "Male- to-Male-Sexual Transmission' at the Second International Conference on AIDS in the Pacific held in Delhi in 1992, there is a wilful and purposeful refusal to accept the existence of homosexual behaviour in India. From the very beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the contention of the Indian government has been that homosexuality is a result of "western bourgeoise decadence". The very refusal of the West Bengal government to agree to sero-surveillance for HIV in the general population can be traced to this refusal to accept some uncomfortable issues on sexuality in India. Not only did this attitude lead to the victimisation of female sex workers but it also cleverly diverted attention away from studying the sexual behavioural patterns of the male population.

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