Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lessons from Jammu and Lucknow

It's an affliction that's widespread in our police force. They would rather harass and out two grown-up gay people rather than fight terrorism and real crime.

Two adult lesbians in Jammu were threatened and humiliated for living together, even arrested let off (because they had to be--there is nothing in the law books against lesbianism) but not without being forcibly separated and handed over to their respective families, with a (unofficial?) directive to stay separate.

No wonder we have blasts after blasts (and there's more to come, you bet!). Even if there's nothing in the law that makes it a crime for lesbians to cohabit or even have sex, the police will poke their idiotic noses in our affairs. It's time we stopped being diffident and told errant cops to get off our backs!

One big mistake on the part of the LGBT community is that the police have not been sensitized to our issues. So you will find the Lucknow incident where gay outreach workers who are spreading AIDS prevention messages or ordinary gay men who cruise the Internet being arrested and humiliated (in front of the national media too boot--and the National Human Rights Commission cares a whit about it). On the other hand there have been no such incidents in Bombay where the Humsafar Trust has (disclosure: I am a trustee) been regularly holding workshops for the police force in different areas of the city.

It's time LGBT communities everywhere became more proactive instead of reacting to crises.

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