Human Right Violation of Homosexuals


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Human Right Violation of Homosexuals

  1. 1. Human Right Violations of Homosexuals Amit Kumar Anand Rohit Maheshwari Dr. Munmun Jha(Guide) IIT Kanpur, Kanpur-208016, India Abstract 2 Historical Background This paper addresses the plight of homosexual Homo erotic practices were widely present, and inte- rights.Historically,homosexuals have not only been grated into the religion, education, philosophy and treated as social outcasts but also their legal right to military cultures of various societies and also con- equality has been denied.We have made an attempt demned by many. to portray homosexuality as an alternate way of life rather than perversion or a crime. 2.1 Ancient history 1 Introduction Athens and Sparta are both well known for encour- Homosexuality is defined as sexual orientation char- aging same-sex relationships as part of a youth’s ed- acterized by aesthetic attraction, romantic love, and ucation and socialization. In both societies, though, sexual desire exclusively for members of the same once a youth came of age he was expected to take on sex or gender identity. another youth as beloved, and eventually to marry The potential for homosexual behavior appears to and continue the family line. be a basic part of human sexuality, since many peo- Roman attitudes toward same-sex relations varied ple experience homosexual interest, curiosity, or ac- over the centuries. In the early days of the Ro- tivity at some point in their lives. Homosexual man Republic, pederasty was considered a degener- behavior has also been observed in most animal ate Greek practice. Greek attitudes gradually be- species. Many homosexuals prefer to be called gay came accepted in Rome during the late Republic or, in the case of women, lesbian because of the ex- and early Empire. clusively sexual connotation of homosexual. When The emperor Nero appears to have been the first individuals engage in both heterosexual and homo- Roman emperor to marry a male. According to Ed- sexual behaviors, they are said to be bi-sexual. ward Gibbon, writing in 1776, of the first twelve em- The practices associated with the erotic attraction perors only Claudius was exclusively involved with of people to one’s own gender have been around women. All others took either boys or men as lovers. since the dawn of humanity. Throughout most of the history of ancient Israel, in- Homosexuality, one of the many different sexual be- tercourse between males was condemned outright as haviors exhibited by humankind, has been rejected, an ”abomination” and Mosaic Law demanded the persecuted, and denied.In many countries homo- death penalty for those men who ”lie with a man as sexuality is illegal.It is seen as a perversion.In re- with a woman”. cent times, societal attitude toward homosexuals has changed.They are gaining acceptance in soci- ety or at least in the eyes of law.The recent ruling of Delhi High Court on Section 377 has legalized 2.2 Modern History homosexuality in India. In this report the word homosexual and gay is been Activism for gay rights has started majorly used interchangbly and by homosexual or gay we since 1960’s.Still it is illegal in many coun- refer to LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) tries.Homosexuals are living in an environment of community. state sponsored homophobia. 1
  2. 2. 2.2.1 Stonewall Riots 3 Religion Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, traditionally for- On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the bid sexual relations between people of the same sex Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, in or- and teach that such behavior is sinful. der to harass and intimidate its gay clientele under In Confucianism, Chinese folk religion and Tao- the pretense that they were serving bootleg liquor. ism, passionate homosexual expression is usually Tensions between New York City police and gay discouraged because it is believed to not lead to hu- residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more man fulfillment. protests the next evening, and again several nights Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, teach- later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly orga- ings regarding homosexuality are less clear. Un- nized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on like in western religions, homosexuality is rarely dis- establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open cussed. But most contemporary religious authority about their sexual orientation without fear of being see it negatively. arrested The Stonewall Riots were a turning point in the his- tory of gay rights. It was the first instance in Amer- 4 Law ican history when people in the homosexual com- munity fought back against a government-sponsored Homosexuality is illegal in about 70 out of system that marked the start of the gay rights move- the 195 countries of the world.In sixteen na- ment in the United States and around the world. tions, the punishment for sodomy can be life in prison or even death.The most severe penal- ties are in the Islamic nations that adhere to traditional law based on interpretations of the 2.2.2 Gay Pride Parades Koran.As of October 2007, homosexual acts are punishable by death in seven countries through Sharia Law in Iran,Mauritania,Nigeria,Saudi Ara- Pride parades for the LGBT community are events bia,Sudan,United Arab Emirates, Yemen. celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender In most European countries homosexuality is valid, (LGBT) culture. The events also at times serve it is generally believed that private sex in any form as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex between two consenting adults do not violate laws, marriage. Most pride events occur annually and only thing is age vary from country to county. many take place around June to commemorate the In Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the modern Cambodia there are no laws against same-sex sexual LGBT rights movement. activity. On 26 June 1994, on the 25th Anniversary of Iran is perhaps the nation to execute the largest the Stonewall Riots,Progressive Organization of number of its citizens for homosexuality. Since the Gays in the Philippines (ProGay Philippines) and 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the Iranian govern- Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Manila ment has executed more than 4,000 people charged organized the First LGBT Pride March in Asia. with homosexual acts. On June 29, 2008, four Indian cities (Delhi, Ban- galore, Pondicherry, and Kolkata) saw coordinated pride events. A rainbow parade was held at Chennai 4.1 World the next day.These were also the first pride events 4.1.1 Gay sex Laws of all these cities except Kolkata, which had seen its first such event in 1999.These pride parades were a In Bulgaria gay sex between adults (over 18) was success as no right-wing group attacked or protested legalized in 1951, in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in against the pride parade.On August 16, 2008 (one 1961. In England and Wales, gay sex was legalized day after the Independence Day of India), the gay in 1967, for consenting males aged over 21. Scotland community in Mumbai held its first ever formal followed in 1980, and Northern Ireland in 1982. The pride . age of consent was lowered in 1994 from 21 to 18. 2
  3. 3. 4.1.2 Same sex marriage laws public and public authorities; they are also dis- criminated in jobs also. There is no right to In 2001, the Netherlands became the first coun- privacy which is implicit in right to life and lib- try to recognize same-sex marriage, and same-sex erty. As no aspect of one’s life may be said to be marriages were subsequently recognized in Belgium more private or intimate than that of sexual re- (2003); Spain and Canada (2005); the U.S. states of lations, and since private, consensual, sexual re- Massachusetts (2004), California (2008 ),Connecti- lations or sexual preferences figure prominently cut (2008), Iowa (2009), Vermont (2009), and Maine within an individual’s personality and lie eas- (2009); South Africa (2006); Norway (2009); and ily at the core of the ”private space”, they are Sweden (2009). an inalienable component of the right of life. Which is interfered by a public authority? 4.2 Section 377 in India 3. Violates right to assembly/right to move Chapter XVI, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code freely/freedom of speech: Right of associa- is a piece of legislation that criminalizes sexual ac- tion/assembly and right to move freely as to en- tivity ”against the order of nature”. This law read gage in homosexual conduct are restricted and out like this: Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter- curtailed. course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprison- 4.2.2 Indian Health Ministry and NGO’s ment for life, or with imprisonment of either descrip- stance on Section 377 tion for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. So this act criminalizes The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) same sex sexual behavior irrespective of the age and deals with three deeply stigmatised and invisible consent of the people involved. core populations: intravenous drug users (IDUs), Groups Opposing removal of Section377 male and female sex workers (SWs) and men hav- ing sex with men (MSM). All these three ”infected 1. Home-ministry of India and affected” core populations were not just invis- ible to the health infrastructure; they were stigma- 2. Religious and Cultural Communities. tised and criminalised under Indian law. So the gov- ernment had to ”search and hunt” for these pop- Groups Favoring removal of Section377 ulations. While considering MSM in India which 1. Homosexuals/LGBT Community are around 25 lakhs in population,NACP acknowl- edge that MSM populations were not just ”highly 2. Health Ministry of India infected and affected” by HIV but were also a core group that required urgent attention. This 3. NGO’s working on HIV/AIDS was based on evidence from its sentinel surveil- lance data .The National Sentinel Surveillance Data 4.2.1 Homosexual Communities Stance on 2005 shows that more than 8% of the population Section 377 of MSM is infected by HIV while the HIV preva- lence among the general population is estimated to It violates the Fundamental Rights granted by the be lesser than 1% and According to the submis- Constitution of India. sions of NACP, those in the high risk group are 1. Violates fundamental right to equality: This mostly reluctant to reveal same sex behavior due right prohibits discrimination on the basis of to the fear of law enforcement agencies, keeping a sex, but section 377 violated the rights of 25 large section invisible and unreachable and thereby lakh homosexuals in the country. pushing the cases of infection underground mak- ing it very difficult for the public health workers 2. Violates freedom from discrimination and to to even access them. It illustrates this point by re- life and personal liberty: Homosexuals are dis- ferring to the data reflected in the National Base- criminated as they cannot access health system. line Behaviour Surveillance Survey (NBBSS of 2002) They are subjected to abuse harassment from which indicates that while 68.6% MSM population 3
  4. 4. is aware about the methods of preventing infection, 4.2.3 Home Ministry stance on section 377 only 36% of them actually use condoms. NACP has The altered law would result in an increase in crimi- further submitted that enforcement of Section 377 nal incidences of sodomy or offences involving sexual IPC against homosexual groups renders risky sexual abuse of children, particularly boys and the rape practices to go unnoticed and unaddressed inasmuch of males. According to home ministry, Law does as the fear of harassment by law enforcement agen- not run separately from society and deletion of 377 cies leads to sex being hurried, particularly because would lead to moral degradation of society. these groups lack safe place, utilize public places for their indulgence and do not have the option to consider or negotiate safer sex practices. It is 4.2.4 Religious and Cultural communities stated that the much hidden nature of such groups stance on section 377 constantly inhibits/impedes interventions under the Most Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, religious National AIDS Control Programme aimed at pre- authority refer homosexuality either as ’western’ or vention. Structural discrimination against those forbids it. The Indian society is still not prepared who are vulnerable to HIV such as sex workers and for such a change, particularly the religious groups MSM must be removed if our prevention, care and and if this law is abolished, it might lead to a pub- treatment programmes are to succeed. lic outrage and make work around sexual minorities Indian Health Ministry : more difficult. Health ministry concern is purely on health grounds because Section 377 in its present form interferes with health ministry’s efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS 4.2.5 Fear among homosexual community epidemic, as it prevents homosexual people, from On 2 July 2009, Delhi high court striked down sec- having access to HIV/AIDS treatment as even doc- tion 377 by saying that Moral argument cannot tri- tors treating gay patients could be punished hence, umph over the constitutional rights in a democratic is discriminatory. Hence unless appropriate steps society .But the fear among homosexuals is that this taken it would be difficult to check the spread of miracle could be short-lived.As Religious organiza- the aids virus and the rates of new infections among tion and scholars representing Hinduism, Islam and men who have sex with men continue to go up. Christianity are condemning the high court’s judg- NGO : ment. Their argument is that legalizing homosexual NGO’S who are working among a section of the pop- sex is not just a judicial issue; it is also a socio- ulation vulnerable to HIV infection have same con- religious issue. The High Court judgment has now cerns about MSM as the health ministry .This act been challenged in the Supreme Court of India. The pose one of the most significant challenges in effec- groups who filed lawsuit said if it is allowed then tive HIV/AIDS interventions with sexual minorities the evil of AIDS and HIV would further spread and as ”Highly prohibitive legal frameworks” against harm the people. It would lead to a big health haz- homosexuality were aiding the spread of an HIV ard and degrade moral values of society. epidemic among homosexual men. Some NGO’s who worked among the sexual minorities popula- tion vulnerable to HIV infection also reported ha- 5 Hate Crimes against homosex- rassment by the police due to section 377.for exam- uals ple on July 6, the Uttar Pradesh police arbitrar- ily arrested four members of two non-governmental A hate crime is an act of aggression against an indi- organisations (NGOs) involved in Human Immun- vidual’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religions, odeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency disability, sexual orientation, or gender. Examples Syndrome (HIV/AIDS)-related work, raided their include assault and battery, vandalism, or threats office premises and seized educational material. which involve bias indicators - pieces of evidence In December 2002 Naz Foundation (NGO) filed a like bigoted name-calling or graffiti. Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to challenge IPC Gay people have been the target of violence for their section 377 in the Delhi High Court. sexuality in various cultures throughout history. Vi- olence against gay people reached its height during 4
  5. 5. the Holocaust, when at least 15,000 homosexuals anterior hypothalamus - which is believed to control were killed and many more imprisoned and insti- sexual behavior was, on average, more than twice tutionalised as insane. Violence against homosex- the size in heterosexual men as in homosexual Men. uals continues to occur today, fueled by anti-gay For much of the 20th century, the dominant think- rhetoric. ing connected homosexuality to upbringing. Freud, Regardless of the powerful shift in public opinion for instance, speculated that overprotective mothers on homosexuality during the last twenty years and and distant fathers helped make boys gay. It took the outcry for more government intervention in the the American Psychiatric Association until 1973 to case of hate crimes and other such atrocities, the remove ”homosexuality” from its manual of mental laws have remained invariable. disorders. 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians experience All these results proves that homosexuality is not physical or verbal assault in high school.28% of these because of behavorial upbringing but it is an in- young people feel forced to drop out of schooldue nate characteristc of an individual.That is why ho- to harassment based on sexual orientation.Lesbian, mosexuality term was dropped as a disease from gay and bisexual youth are at a four times higher medicine.Persons are born with homosexual traits risk for suicide than their straight peers.Some are which cannot be altered. driven to suicide, some to terrible depression and mental trauma and most others succumb to family 6.2 Is it Unnatural ? pressure to get married. Homosexuality is quite rampant in animal king- dom.Homosexuality is well documented in over 400 5.1 Instances of Hate crimes species.Examples of animals showing homosexual On April 6, 2009, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11 behavior are, Black Swans , Gulls , Mallards , Pen- year old boy in Springfield, Massachusetts, hanged guins , Vultures , Amazon Dolphin , American Bison himself with an extension cord after being bullied all , Apes ,Bottlenose Dolphins , Elephants , Giraffes school year by his peers. His peers said he ”acted , Lions , Pole Cat , Sheep etc. So the argument feminine” and was gay. of homosexuality been unnatural in human species On April 11, 2009 a gay man in Gloucester, Mas- fails in light of this information. sachusetts was attacked and beaten by as many as six people outside a bar. Justin Goodwin, 36, of 7 Societal Attitude Salem suffered a shattered jaw, broken eye socket, broken nose and broken cheek bone. Since the 1970s, much of the world has become more These are some recent instances of hate crimes accepting of same-sex sexuality between partners of against homosexuals. legal age. People in Africa and the middle east strongly ob- ject to societal acceptance of homosexuality. But 6 Nature of Homosexuality there is far greater tolerance for homosexuality in 6.1 Is it a choice ? major Latin American countries such as Mexico, Ar- gentina, Chile and Brazil. Opinion in Europe is split The Kinsey Reports found that approximately four between West and East. percent of adult Americans were exclusively homo- Heterosexuals with positive attitudes towards ho- sexual for their entire lives, and approximately 10 mosexuality are more likely to be female, white, percent were for some portion of their lives. young, non religious,well-educated, politically lib- In 1993 Dean Hamer found that gay brothers shared eral or moderate.Heterosexual males exhibit slightly a specific region of the X chromosome, called Xq28, more negative attitudes toward gay men than to- at a higher rate than gay men shared with their ward lesbians, and some (but not all) have found straight brothers.This was a major step in gene the- that heterosexual females exhibit slightly more neg- ory which propagated the idea that the homosexu- ative attitudes toward lesbians than toward gay ality is because of genetic factors. men. LeVay showed that a tiny clump of neurons of the Israelis were found to be the most accepting of ho- 5
  6. 6. mosexuality among Middle Eastern nations. 9 Gay Life in India More than half of the Fortune 500 offer domes- tic partnership benefits and 49 of the Fortune 50 Normal Indian family mentality is that,if they found companies include sexual orientation in their non- that their son/daughter is homosexual then they discrimination policies (only Exxon Mobil does not) treat it, if not as a disease of the body than of the mind, that need to be cured.They will take them to doctors, vaids, magicians, Bengali Babas, gurus in Table 1: Should homosexuality be accepted by so- the hope that the devil of homosexuality will either ciety ? be medicated out or beaten away.If ”treatment” Country Yes No fails, they try emotional blackmail.When that also fails they try to hide it from the society eye.If India 10% 81% that too fails they strike a deal that says their Bangladesh 4% 84% gay children can do what they want privately but China 17% 69% publicly they should be seen as ”normal” and Canada 70% 21% married.Some are driven to suicide, some to terrible USA 49% 41% depression and mental trauma and most others Brazil 65% 30% succumb to family pressure to get married. France 83% 17% Things are, however, beginning to change in India Britain 71% 21% today. Gay groups have mushroomed in the last Russia 20% 64% decade, some in previously un-thinkable places Israel 38% 50% like Lucknow and Bijapur, with several of them Jordan 6% 89% bringing out their own newsletters and magazines. Egypt 1% 95% Source:The Pew Global Attitudes Project Indian newspapers, mostly English dailies, are devoting more space to gay issues than ten years ago, and in certain circles it is quite acceptable to From the statistics in Table 1 we see that homosex- be openly gay orientation.On 16 April 2009, India’s uality is still unacceptable in India. Western and first gay magazine Bombay Dost was re-launched latin american countries have high tolerance for ho- by Celina Jaitley in Mumbai. Time Out (Delhi) has mosexuality and middle east countries strongly op- a dedicated column covering gay events in Delhi pose the idea of homosexuality. every week. All of them are city-based, though increasingly little groups are sprouting in smaller towns as well. 8 Media on Homosexuality More public places are open to hosting gay parties or film shows, like Gay Bombay, a gay social More and more gay characters and gay-themed group who has been hosting parties at Razzberry movies are emerging from Hollywood and in re- Rhinoceros, The Voodoo Pub, Copa Cabana and cent times some successful movies have been also Mikanos. produced in Bollywood on homosexuality theme. Globalization of information is very much respon- These characters and movies often tend to fully sible for that, The Internet, news and media have personify the homosexual stereotypes that exist in brought the world right to our doorsteps, and our society today. Many gay-themed movies have the closeted Indian gay man or woman doesn’t made their way into the lime-light and gay char- feel so alone and lonely. This has led to increased acters are popping up in dozens of mainstream comfort levels. But this increased visibility is rather movies. Various gay magazines are available in mar- restricted to urban India. In semi urban and rural ket discussing homosexuality. Print and film media India, there is still great pressure to ’act’ straight has brought this issue to forefront and has helped and to marry a heterosexual partner and almost people forming postive attitude towards homosexu- 80% of gay men buckle down to this pressure. More als. Some of the successful gay theme movies are than fear of expressing their sexuality, it is the fear Milk,Dostana,Girlfriend,Beautiful thing,Brokeback of displeasing their families that still keeps gays in mountain etc. the closet. Particularly in India, patriarchal family 6
  7. 7. structures and close-knit familial bonds make the 10.1.4 International Lesbian, Gay, Bisex- process of coming out much more difficult but the ual, Transgender and Queer Youth metros like Mumbai offer greater anonymity as well and Student Organisation (IGLYO) as the distance from immediate family which makes It was created in 1984 as a reaction to the need for it easier to lead alternate lifestyles. The educated better cooperation among regional, local and na- and the upper class, more so the English speaking tional LGBTQ youth and student organisations. As classes are more emancipated, but there is still a peer-led membership-based network organization, not too much opening up as far as middle-class or IGLYO is a meeting point for youth in theEuropean- working class gay men are concerned. Region. IGLYO is registered inBrussels,Belgium. 10.1.5 International Lesbian, Gay, Bisex- 10 Gay Organisations ual, Transgender Intersex Law Asso- ciation (ILGLaw) There are various international and indian organi- Is is an international association ofLGBTandinter- sations working for the rights of homosexuals. sex lawyers. The group also welcomes law profes- sors, judges, law students, paralegalsand laypersons, as long as they are committed toLGBTI equality 10.1 International under the law. 10.1.1 Gay Straight Alliance Network In- ternational (GSANI) 10.2 India GSANI is non-profit international GLBT youth 10.2.1 The Naz Foundation network headquartered in the Philadelphia a New Delhi based NGO is at the forefront of the Metropolitan area. Its mission is comprised of campaign to decriminalize homosexuality. The or- several very important principles: Education, Lead- ganization aims to sensitize the community to the ership, and Community. Within these principles, prevalence of HIV, as well as highlight issues related GSANI constantly develops new ways to advance to sexuality and sexual health. GLBT youth health, community, education, and leadership. 10.2.2 The Humsafar Trust The Humsafar Trust the first and premier gay Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Mum- 10.1.2 International Lesbian and Gay Asso- bai, running successful health programmes on HIV ciation (ILGA) intervention with its clinics, community centre, Created in 1978 ,The International Lesbian, Gay, workshops, seminars and cultural activities. It pro- Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is aworld- vides a safe space for gay men to interact and dis- wide network of national and local groups dedicated cuss their problems. It also helped kick-start several to achieving equal rightsfor lesbian, gay, bisexual NGO across India - in Calcutta, Hyderabad, Goa, and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people ev- Gujarat, Maharashtra erywhere 10.2.3 Humrahi 10.1.3 International Gay and Lesbian Hu- This is an organisation for gay and bisexual men man Rights Commission (IGLHRC) based in Delhi. The group was officially started in February 97, with an object of becoming a platform It addresses human rights violations againstLGBT for discussing the needs of Delhi’s Gay Community. people and people withHIV/AIDS.IGLHRC was It’s objects include creating awareness about issues founded by Russian and US activists in 1990, and relevant to us and providing a support system to incorporated as a US non-profit organisation in 1991 members of our society. The group works closely 7
  8. 8. with the Naz Foundation, a premier sexual health [11] NGO. [12] india 10.2.4 Sangini Sangini was set up in 1997 under the umbrella of [13] The Naz Foundation (India) Trust and provides in- [14] formation, counselling, support, help and advice, through operating a telephone help line service, for lesbians and women exploring their sexuality. 10.2.5 Aanchal Aanchal is the first helpline solely for lesbian and bisexual women in Mumbai, India. It has basically arisen because of the complete invisibility that les- bians and bisexual women have had and continue having in the city 11 Conclusion Homosexuality is not a perversion it is an alternate lifestyle. Homosexuals are as normal as any hetero- sexual. And they cannot be denied of their rights on the basis of their sexual orientation. References [1] 47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey ,The Pew Global Attitudes Project),2007. [2] National Baseline Behaviour Surveillance Sur- vey,2002. [3] Delhi High Court Section 377 Judgement, Naz Foundation Vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Oth- ers,2009. [4] Daniel Ottosson,State-sponsored Homophobia, 2007. [5] APA Help Center - Health Emotional Wellness Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] 8