GayBombay Special Sunday Meet: “High Fun High Risk”: Substance Abuse (12/2015)


By Sachin Jain

'A vortex of dependence'; Image: Brijesh
Image: Brijesh

Date & Time: December 13, 2015, 5:30-8pm

Venue: The Hive, Chuim Village, Khar (West), Mumbai 400052

Participants: 43

Facilitator: Deepak Kashyap

  • Introduction

We are not aware of statistics in the LGBT community in India on drug usage. In the gay community users seem to be a minority, but within that minority, usage appears to be significant. It has been difficult to find resource persons for holding this workshop though Gay Bombay has wanted to for many years. This is because their philosophies tend to be moralistic and while not condoning usage, we wanted a non-judgmental approach. The aim of this workshop is to develop awareness of risks in order to foster assumption of responsibility by LGBTIQ community members.

  • Resources
    • Websites:
  1. The Science of Addiction
  2. Commonly Abused Drugs and Prescription Medicines
  3. Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse
  4. A Provider’s Guide to Substance Abuse Treatment for LGBTI individuals
  5. Others: Effects of individual drugs: Bluelight.org, erowid.org; underlying issues: Chasingthescream.com
  • Videos:

1) Rise of Chemsex on London’s Gay Scene: In the video, users in the London gay community grappled with deep rooted problems of avoidance, intimacy, hiding self, and hyper-vigilance. Smartphone apps have normalized drug use, with no frame of reference. No causal link between chemical sex and HIV but incidences were on the rise. Study of PREP (pre exposure prophylaxis) use saw reduction in HIV.

2) Addiction and the Rat Park experiments: Persons access to functioning social life as important as reducing availability and penalizing usage. Lack of confidence and experiencing loneliness can make it difficult to quit.

  • Exercise

Participants were asked to write their life aspirations on one side of a sheet of paper and substances they knew on the other, with a tick mark for the substance they came into contact with. Differences between ‘drug’ and ‘substance’, ‘dependence’ and ‘addiction’, ‘substance’ and ‘behavior’ dependency were clarified.

  • Stories

“I think it is a problem in our community. My friend started doing crystal meth, few months later he tested positive for HIV, mainly due to lack of judgment and taking more risks.”

“Sex lives viewed as intrinsically connected to drug usage.”

“Using stopped him from caring and protecting himself. Got into a 12-step recovery program, he feels alive again.”

“A gay friend couldn’t go out and speak what he was feeling. He lost job, got into prostitution. Then he had a grand wedding with a woman who didn’t know he was gay. He was taken to mental hospital 3 months later. Now he is completely incommunicado. As friends we tried reaching out at every stage, but didn’t succeed.”

“His father was alcoholic, and partner of 3 years uses drugs. People want to blame everything on drugs, for not doing things right, for failure. They do take vodka shots as dancers before going on stage. A friend has lost partner due to overdose on drugs, but he has also seen moments of pleasure. They take it as artists when they don’t want to feel nervous or judged.”

  • Aspects

(1) Defining addiction or dependence

“Addiction is a behavior that gets in the way of normal day to day duties and life, doesn’t let you achieve your goals in a persistent way. There is a correlation between factors like loneliness etc, but not necessarily causation.”

The role of neurotransmitters, high and low effect of drugs (highs included feeling loved, acceptance, absence of stress), secondary effects (like weight loss), and difference between physiological (body effects like tremors) and psychological addiction (rationalization with ‘but I only have…’), excitatory and inhibition lowering drugs were discussed.

(2) How it begins

“Friends who are not into drugs, met persons through dating site, and try it on their behest. How to be careful about not getting into it?”

“Curiosity, peer pressure, low self-image, thrill, boredom, ignorance, propensity to try everything once, the need for pleasure, the need to appear cool, narration of a user’s positive experience, cause people to begin. There are few healthy spaces for gay men to meet like picnics or socials. Meeting is largely on hookup sites or parties, where you don’t want to talk about anything, just enjoy. Clusters of guys are formed which are very tight, and these may drive behavior of drug use.”

“Nobody reads the “conditions applied” fine print in life. Blame it on the modern world, but we want something more all the time.”

“I have many friends addicted to methadone, with the idea that it gives you glorious sex, though it is not true, as it kills the erection but makes it horny. Before shooting up, they take Viagra and shoot up, so two substances are taken. And it works. Sex is a sure-shot biological way of feeling accepted, desired and wanted, to be let inside their body, a biological evidence of acceptance.”

“Use not only associated with sex, but there is also the party, socializing drug. People do it for these reasons too. Can you be a healthy user, become an abuser, or get out?”

“It is tough to be disciplined all the time, get to work on time everyday, so these parties become our way to unwind. It’s also a way to process past hurts, like a breakup. When you are emotionally low, you are vulnerable and likely to.”

“Drugs replace some kind of a void, like not being successful at work. It may have nothing to do with sex.”

“A friend who does a lot of weed says it is a natural product so it is good for digestion. Is it really good? Medical marijuana was offered to my mom to reduce pain. A form of heroine, morphine given in a way people can manage, dosage on advice of doctor. Frequency, duration and intensity has to be decided by prescriber.”

For Aspects (1) and (2) please see the website provided in the Resource List above: “The Science of Addiction”

(3) Problems from usage

  • Financial both in terms of cost, as well as lost earnings in future.
  • Health: physical and mental aspect.
  • Socio-cultural
  • Interpersonal
  • Productivity

“In India, a big problem with all illegal substances is there is no quality control and adulteration, side effects. Bad stuff may cause higher intake, without knowing the adulterant.”

“One very common substance right now is Meow-Meow: There is a strong desire to re-dose, craving to recapture initial rush, to increase dose to overcome tolerance, uncontrollable changes in body temperature, dehydration due to not drinking water, impaired short term memory, insomnia, teeth grinding, etc”

“If you have sex with a drug user, does it heighten your risk of infections?”

-“ In case of unprotected sex, yes, but consumed drug is likely not transmitted through body fluids. Please look at resources indicated for accurate information.”

“I feel that drugs help with the creative process when taken correctly. I have a friend who does marijuana every night, but is very spiritually evolved, and talking to him makes me feel better. Sensitivity is different in people, and hence effects vary based on internal make-up.”

“There is a spectrum of education available on different substances. For alcohol, the message nowadays is enjoy responsibly. After a few years, that may be so for certain drugs too. There is not enough support for drug usage, forget about for LGBT.”

“MDMA is the main focus, as that is happening a lot in the community. Risks spiral out of control. People who can’t afford, start injecting (slamming) rather than oral. Then issues with needles begin, most don’t know how to inject, no equipment, not sterilized, bacterial contamination, leading to blood to blood contact for sero-conversion.”

“Initially everyone conscious of individual needles, but in a users party, as progressive control of reality is lost, needles start getting shared.”

(4) Usage Persistence

“Human propensity for short-term pleasure, the attraction of forbidden fruit.”

“A person started seeing someone and quit friends, and when broke up, was all alone. Hence took solace in drugs. When you want to leave it and are not able to you must ask for help.

“A doctor didn’t know what weed is, can we have access to doctors who know more about drugs?”

“Drug use and failure can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Low frustration tolerance is one of the major reasons to continue any addiction.”

For Aspects (3) and (4) please see the websites provided in the Resource List above: “Commonly Abused Drugs and Prescription Medicines” and “Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse”.

(5) How to help

“I have a friend who badly needs help, but if I tell him, he reacts badly. How can I help as he can afford it. Do we have support system within the city?”

“If someone is not willing to get help, when they are in good mood, keep encouraging them by giving them resources and support contacts. Talk to a counselor in earlier stages to figure out the need to get help. Psychotherapist can work on deep seated issues. Clinical psychologist can give you intervention based on which drug you use.”

“In case of an overdose, rush to emergency department of any Grade 1 hospital for anti-toxic treatment.”

“Harm reduction techniques include the ‘gatekeeper policy’, or having a trusted person at hand to make sure one doesn’t do anything harmful to self or others, addressing loneliness and leaving an authentic and social life.”

For Aspect (5) please see the website provided in the Resource List above: “Providers Guide to Treatment for LGBT individuals”

LGBTIQ-positive counseling and support in Mumbai:

1) The Humsafar Trust

2) Ascend Psychology

Gay Bombay Special Sunday Meet: “Privacy & The Law” an A-Z: Report (09/2015)


Sachin Jain

Introduction: People are becoming open online when technology, from WhatsApp to Grindr, collides with real world. Extortion cases and breach of privacy are hot topics now. Even the Supreme Court has been asked to define privacy by government. Vijay Hiremath, an independent human rights lawyer practising in Mumbai, has been dealing with cases related to privacy with LGBT community for over a decade. This report is a transcript of conversations which may provide insights on contemporary privacy issues in Mumbai. It is in no way prescriptory and opinions expressed in discussion are not necessarily of Vijay, Gay Bombay or the report writer.

Blackmail: IPC 389 against blackmail under 377 exists to prevent misuse of 377. Also you have autonomy to reveal if you had sex or not.

Complaints: Cases normally happen in triangles, jilted lovers, etc. That’s the only time police comes. Belgian gay fashion photographer arrested; He had photographed one person, thanks so much reply received. He had rejected another for photo shoot and friendship, who complained. Even though no minors were involved, they still filed case under IT act as nude photo sent on email.

Condoms: Carrying condoms with you, anytime, anywhere, is not a problem and does not signify intention to have sex.

Cross-dressing is not an offense though harassment exists.

Dating Apps: Grinder and PR are a grey area. Men meeting for sex or friendship? Having an account is not an offence, but putting self porno material on is an offense, if someone complains. Nudity as pornography is a grey area, as “prurient interest” is not defined. Previous communication like sexual likes can be used as evidence.

Extortion: After 377 went, extortion cases reduced, but now cases have increased after recriminalization. Typically post-party stranger home-taking drink spiking leading to robbery are common.

Hotels and bars: Using hotels is extremely risky for the community. Precaution may be to use high-end hotel, end up paying more but is safer, and police will think twice. Recently in Mumbai the police raided hotels and took out couples from rooms to police station. They had given correct IDs, and charged them in indecency in public, and produced in court and released them as bailable. It was very humiliating. Case is before high court. Despite backlash, there is no guarantee that this will not happen again. Raids in hotels are easiest even in heterosexual cases, under pretext of cracking trafficking rackets. A Colaba cabaret bar had some topless performances decades ago, patrons filed case of being offended, court dismissed saying you went there yourself. Basic point is not to get paranoid, most of the police or government is not interested despite some busybodies, but its still relatively rare in Bombay. Court has said they will frame guidelines about raids, but none exist yet.

Lawyers: At first instance itself you can ask for a lawyer and wait for 5-10 minutes to speak to lawyer. Technically they need to keep for 24 hours but they can call you everyday and harass you. You can refuse to answer questions, but name and address have to be given.

Minors: Even if counselling informally, always make good intentions clear. If counselling unknown person over email, declare presumption that all conversations are with majors.

Office: In office harassment, document it by sending an email to your boss, and companies take action even when there are no rules.

Parties: Nowadays they are assumed to be easy. The amount of work behind the scenes, who know how to handle cops and excise issues are difficult. Parties also advertise about dark rooms, and sex, which opens self to police raids.

Police entry in premises: Do police have right to enter premises? Generally no, you can ask why you have come, but there is no blanket ban. Only if they fear crime (even sodomy) is being committed, like suspect taking a minor to the bedroom they can enter without a warrant. While dating, anyone even a day below 18 years could cause massive problems due to POSCO law. Case can be filed any time in life, there is no time limit so see ID of people you take things further with if young.

Pornography: Sections 292, 293 and 294 of IPC deal with pornography. The basic rule is that you cannot circulate it, can use it for yourself, including pics and stories. Don’t send it. Child pornography punishable for 5 years. Ensure you do not have any such porn even mistakenly. It is easy to find out through phone or hard disk. Emailing, clips by Whatsapp or DP pictures can be problematic. Police also ask people for passwords to mobile to check for pornography. This is also a grey area. You try to get away by asking reason for why checking phone. Storage of porn is fine: on a raid the police found a room full of porn CDs, and the guy said they are for consumption, the Court and accepted. Watching porn in public, with others watching can be a problem if they complain. Do not send video clips of yourselves having sex on the internet. Carelessness and stupidity have no solution.

Public obscenity: If you show a play or movie where 2 men have sex it is not an offence as long as people don’t object. Then court has to decide, which is why those who come for film screenings we have people sign an undertaking saying they have come here of their own free will and don’t object to films shown. Obscenity in public is not defined. We live in a country where spitting is okay, kissing isn’t.

Resistance: IPC 353 is stopping public servants from performance of duty so it is not possible to stop the police. False cases have been filed when guys get aggressive against the police, so be careful. If somebody stops you in the middle of the night, asks for address, give some address but don’t refuse. Under Bombay Police Act after sunset anyone caught with anything that can be used to break open a lock, for housebreaking. 197 CRPC requires government sanction for prosecuting police while on duty. Important thing is calibrating risk. Anyone can be picked up from questioning anywhere, not only cruising place. If you are scared, they come after u so if u hold your own, rather than crying, don’t tell my parents/wife etc.

Section 377: The biggest problem continues to be 377 sword hanging on our heads and Victorian laws. As long as that is there, peripheral problems, arrest and extortion will continue. 2 consenting men having sex and being found out is an offence and can be prosecuted. Type of prosecutions including wives of gay men finding out their affairs. RTI across Maharashtra reveal numbers are huge. Not only men having sex with each other file cases, but also wives against heterosexual husbands, when they can’t prove rape, or when they discover husbands are gay. What the government is arguing is that 377 is not used is not true; as shown by RTI. Similar RTIs have been filed in Karnataka, Orissa and Manipur. Oral and anal i.e. penetrative sex counts as sex.

Sex toys: Selling is a problem, but having it is not. NGO having dildo to demonstrate condom was used as evidence for sex racket. But there are also NGOs doing programs with police where they learn to put on condoms on dildos.

Suicide notes: IPC 306 most misused, was originally for harassed married women. Cops can question or arrest for abetment, but courts take liberal view, grant bail and quash case. Such things are happening on email, and sending pictures of self-suicide on Whats app such chatting in case gets serious you should tell the police. If you don’t tell and it happens then you are in bigger trouble.

Videographing: Taking videos of police or vigilantes is up to you based on the situation but could lead to aggression so ask first or take a call.

Gay Bombay Special Sunday Meet: ‘Living With The Law”: Report (03/2014)


–       Sachin Jain

Venue: ‘Zouk’, Teli Galli, Andheri East, Mumbai.

Date and time: March 09, 2014; 4 to 7:30pm.

Attendees: 70

Resource Person: Vijay Hiremath

Facilitator: Vikram Doctor.

Disclaimer: This report is a recording of the discussions in this meeting. It is not meant to be recommendatory. The case studies are anecdotal and the author does not take responsibility for their veracity or for the opinions expressed.

Introduction:

Vikram introduced Vijay. Vijay is a lawyer at Mumbai High Court. He previously worked at organizations like ‘India Center for Human Rights and Law’, and ‘Lawyers’ Collective’. He is one of the best criminal lawyers and excels at handling police situations and talking to them as he is thoroughly acquainted with their way of functioning. He has especially been invaluable to the LGBT community. He has taken emergency calls in the middle of the night as well as on Sundays, and done so much, never charging a fee.  This is a meeting about the community, the law and the police. Real life cases without names or details are going to be discussed in a free-flowing, interactive discussion.

Present Situation:

The history of the 377 case, the July 2, 2009 decriminalization as well as the December 11, 2013 decriminalization was laid out. Pre-2009, blackmail was a big issue. Post-2009, families issues like can my son adopt a child with his with partner, property rights after sex change, etc. were coming forward. Now after the December 2013 decision, blackmail cases are being recorded and a resurgence is feared. SC  decision has in a way handed a gift  to blackmailer and abusers.

———————————————

A-Z of Living With The Law:

Adoption

After 2009, there was excitement  about the possibilities of queer people adopting. As a single man there is no problem, no bar. There is no bar against gay-identified men, but adoption agencies have discretionary powers. 2-3 single men have adopted in the past. For a gay couple, each adopted 1 child. There are restrictions for single men more than single woman, like can’t adopt female child etc, age of child, etc. Now all adoption, even within a family, has to go through the court process, and child welfare committee which as to declare child is free for adoption. Lot of gay couples were coming for surrogacy, though their laws allowed, they were not both given child in India. Now they do single parent adoption, go back and show it as done jointly.

Affidavits

An affidavit means writing on a stamp paper, notarized from a notary outside court, keep original give copy to lawyer. In the absence of an affidavit, a kidnapping case can be filed in case of runaways (see under R). When leaving the house to live with a lover, make an affidavit saying you are not taking anything.

Late 40s guy from one city fell in love with early 20s guy from another. Both came to a third city. They wanted to make it look legit, as the younger guy was from a  politicians family. So they decided to make a rent agreement between the two, the older guy landlord, younger, tenant. Their body language was holding, touching, and no notary willing to sign affidavit.

In another case parents took a guy in a gay relationship home and locked him up. He tried to escape but failed. Once he ran away and went back to boyfriend. His parents tried to file a case of kidnapping. But police said you can’t as he has gone off on his own will. We faxed affidavit to the police that he went off his own will, and then told parents. Friends can be witness or lawyer identifies.

Age of consent

Pre-2009, a couple were holding hands on beach and sitting. They were arrested saying you were having sex. One guy said yes we had anal sex. The police claimed other guy was underage. But when it came up at high court level, persons were both adults.

Don’t date or have sex with person below 18 years. Talking about sex is also not okay. In a state’s Children’s Act, onus is on people having sex not to be seen by child. It can go up to life imprisonment. Just being in communication may not be a problem. It may be a problem if parents get involved. Check person’s ID document, and make sure person is 18+. Gay sex unwittingly with minors will become an acute problem and could damage the case for decriminalization and reading down of 377. It is also an offence if you know about underage sex happening and don’t inform anyone.

Aiding and abetting

For adult gay sex, aiding and abetting is not being currently prosecuted. It is normally in terms of robbery or murder. Tomorrow will you arrest a chemist for giving a condom that got used in gay sex? That will not happen.

Asylum

To get gay asylum abroad is not so easy. Criteria is persecution. Here is there persecution like Uganda of people coming to house, arresting or killing you? There needs to be basis, documentation that life is in danger.

Beating

“After a Halloween party a policeman hit a gay man who was dressed ‘pansy’ and smoking. We just said sorry and left.” For smoking the police can ask for a fine but they can’t hit.

Blogs

If there is a complaint about nudity or obscenity on your blog or website, it can be taken down or made age-restricted by the I&B ministry. So be careful with what you post.

Breakups

Messy breakups and bitter exes are the easiest way to screw happiness. One guy put intimate pictures of his ex on the Net. In another case a very bitter ex emailed the anti-terrorism that his ex and his new boyfriend are terrorists. They raided their place. But to their credit the police and anti-terrorism entrapped the bitter ex-boyfriend who made a false complaint. One of those involved tried making money out of them, and according to the couple one of them even wanted to sleep with one of the guys, further complicating matters.

Bribes

It is not the concern of the police whether there is less or more gay sex. They only want money. If you argue it, they may slap some vague charges. For example, Bombay Police Act has proscriptions against carrying ‘housebreaking’ implements at night, even a screwdriver in your car.

Can we ask police questions? How to react when accosted? These are common sense things. React according to the situation. Don’t argue with the police. Preferably talk in Marathi as mostly the force is Marathi. Understand what the police want. They are least bothered with making a case. It is a lot of work to take to court, prepare a charge sheet, investigate the matter. Unless it is a grave case, like child below 18 years having sex.

Community

Members are often unsure and a little scared of legal matters: how to meet a lawyer, court fees etc. Organizations like Gay Bombay frequently get calls from asking for help. Even after getting resource information, community members are reluctant to take matters forward. Though it is not always necessary to come out, the hope is to continuously push forward a little bit.

Dating Websites

Planet Romeo is registered in The Netherlands. To remove something on PR, it needs a huge scrutiny within Dutch laws. For identity theft, they would remove it for 12 hours, then it would be back on PR. Indian Cybercrime departments also sent complaints. But Dutch laws don’t allow tampering with website content unless there is a court order. We actually thought of going to court recommending to Planet Romeo  to remove things. But it is a huge risk since court will say ban PR, and everyone would suffer. So did do it. Planet Romeo was unwilling to disclose IP addresses. Cybercrime will get IP address and catch impersonators. Planet Romeo said get a court order and then only we will give the IP address. Even Gaydar, Grindr servers are abroad.

We don’t want anyone to go away saying, “Oh my God I will never use any online tools, and hide. But be aware and don’t behave like there are no risks. All of you having come here is great, the bigger problem is all who haven’t come. People come in to crisis and then call. This is always much more difficult. It’s ironic that you are not scared to go cruising and take someone home, but you are scared to come to this safe space meeting, and to take this knowledge to your friends.

Documentation

If facing police excess, note description of police and write letter to Commissioner or court saying this is what happened. Some cases have been taken up. It also becomes a good documentation for supreme court how people are getting targeted.

Dos

Fall in love, hold hands, kiss, date, put profiles on dating websites.

Don’ts

Get caught having sex, don’t fear being arrested for being gay.

Email

Make sure you don’t use “Reply All” with dates you don’t know well when you send a festival greeting etc. to relatives’ and office email ids. A bitter ex composed an email saying, “He is gay, I am his boyfriend, we have been involved in sex.” Fortunately the boss summoned the guy and said, “Do you work properly, I am not concerned with your private life”. Don’t give details to person you don’t know properly.

Exes

Harassment form disgruntled ex-boyfriends, and consequently from law enforcement agencies has been seen.

Expenses

Lawyer rates will vary on who is starting, and what kind of lawyer they are. They see what you do to charge. 20,000 is the minimum that anything normally takes.

Extortion

One story after the SC 11.12.13 decision: A guy met an alleged model, went to the model’s house. While they were together, there was a knock on the door. 3 people claimed to represent the model’s landlord. They said the model had not paid rent, they knew what was going on was illegal. They threatened him, took his ATM card and withdrew money.

Fake Accounts

Making a ‘gay account’ and ‘straight account’ on Facebook is a useless waste of time because both can be easily tracked back to you.

Fake Police

In a recent case after the 2013 verdict: When police asked for car papers, they saw his lubes and condoms in the glove compartment. The police took him and forced him to have sex. The city police came across 3-4 cases of 2 guys in dress of police harassing people and getting money.

Films

Is a film depicting gay sex protected? Is the venue protected? Article 19 is about Freedom of expression and speech. If any religious group is hurt, or any linguistic or right-wing group, there could be a problem.

Foreigners

Gay men from abroad are seen as particularly good targets for harassment. Some hotels in Colaba coordinate with the police. It is perfectly fine to be openly gay and meet people, But be careful of where you are, whom you are picking up.

Housing

For example buying adjoining flats with partner in new construction. If not adjoining, in same building; can rent out one and stay with him.

IPC 389

In IPC 389 somebody harassing with blackmail under 377, can be prosecuted under 389 with 10 years imprisonment. This includes the police. Problem is you need sanction from Government to prosecute the police. But it is helpful against street blackmailers. In the cases of house-luring, door-knocking, it is the best response.

Law

Though the main focus is not on the Supreme Court decision on the Section 377 case, we will talk about the present situation including the curative petition. It will be filed before 5 judges, who will decide whether to give a hearing or not. A lot depends on the composition of the bench. It may eventually come before parliament but if we want decriminalization and rights sooner, we it may have to be through courts. But chances are we will have to live with this law for some time to come. We are convinced we will ultimately win. But for now how do we live our daily lives with the law against us?

Media

Story now on the Orinam website, is of someone who took a guy home,  and 3 people claiming to be from the media were there. The empowered guy asked to change his clothes and cheerily faced the cameras, at which the alleged media people lost their nerve and went away.

Memory

On WhatsApp so many pictures get stored automatically on the memory card, and automatically uploaded to Google Plus. If somebody wants to harass u it can be used.

Neighbours

If neighbours say they saw you having gay sex, you are taking a huge risk and you can be investigated. So please close your curtains and doors before indulging in anything. Be mindful of behaviour in common spaces like elevators or building compounds.

Online Identity Theft

If your profile picture is stolen and used under a different name, it is clearly an offence. A bitter ex gave his boyfriends mother’s landline and father’s office # on Planet Romeo for a hot date.

Outing

Do people have a choice of telling the police whom to call and whom not to call from a police station? It’s your right, but they will call whomever will induce fear and they can get money from the guy. For example for a married gay man, they may threaten to inform wife about it. Technically yes but power equation is bad, and they realize you have something to hide, and more blackmail may happen. If you have supportive parents then its fine else may be outed.

A fake online dating website case where someone denounced someone as HIV positive, on a fake profile. The first guy panicked, on his real profile he put his HIV report saying he is not positive. Outing of HIV status will soon be a criminal offence. The bill is in the Rajya Sabha.

Parties

Parties are targeted because the perception is that money is involved, the people coming are middle and upper middle class. So if someone stops and asks if you are coming from gay party, stand up and say yes. It is not illegal. If drugs are distributed or sold in a party it is definitely disallowed and endangers all the other attendees as well.

Phone

If a policeman demands to see my mobile, can I deny? Yes.

Phone number

Do not give your phone number out to anyone who extorts money from you as it just opens up the possibility of further demands.

Photography

A photographer from abroad met people on a dating website. He took their artistic nude pictures. A guy who was refused went to a police station, denouncing the photographer as being a pedophile taking pictures of young guys naked. The photographer was raided his cameras and laptop taken away and arrested under the IT Act. When the case was filed, there was no picture of the complainant and the police relied on previous pictures. However the photographer showed that he had emailed the pics, all with consent of the guys, and they had replied, “thanks for nice pics, now I will get many dates”. Nevertheless the police filed a charge sheet. The problem was multiplied because he was foreigner and it was a pedophilia accusation. Nobody stood surety for bail and cash bail not allowed. He spent 4 months in jail. One of his friends approached us. Vijay went to jail, talked to him, consulate took care of him. Ultimately the case was dismissed by the court.

Police station

If a policeman says come to the police station can I refuse? You can’t say a flat no. You have to give reasons, like I will call somebody first. Nothing stops the policeman as he can cite the fear of a cognizable offence and take you. No court will question it.

Police needs to wear proper name tag, make register entry etc. Depends on arrest or detention, so all things don’t come into the picture. If you enter a police station, you have a right to call a lawyer, friends to the police station and they can come there and meet you. Within 24 hours the police have to produce you before a court. It is your constitutional right.

Porn

Having porn on the phone is not an offence, except child pornography, which is an offence. If u feel the porn you are watching is of people below 18 years, twinks for example, do not watch it. Don’t keep any porn on laptop and phones. Watching is not an offence. Distribution is an offence. It is cognizable and not bailable, and punishable with 3 years imprisonment. Emailing porn, posting it on Facebook, sending it on What’s App etc. can also lead to arrest.

Privacy

If someone asks if you were having sex, say it is none of your business. Unlike in say Uganda, nobody will come to your houses and bully you.

Raids

The Police will not raid offices and houses and arrest you. If you are with someone, you need to be careful. Don’t open the door. Other district police cannot come without local police, so you can ask basic questions. For media you can just ask them to leave. The police don’t need a warrant to enter the house. That’s how parties get raided. They say we suspect minors were there.

Relationship proof

How to build a proof of relationship over many years? Have the same address on the ration or Aadhar card, show electricity  bill, government documents showing you staying together longer time, including telephone bill, joint bank account, insurance policy nomination, bank account nomination.

Avoid lying like opening like joint bank accounts as cousins. Also joint accounts are headaches on breakups. Bad case where older lover legally adopted younger one: when found out by the company they called the cops and forced the older guy into a psychiatric ward.

Runaways

Recent case of two girls who ran away from rich families. One was 20 and the other 30. The tuition teacher and the girl fell in love and left the house. For a long time the families could not trace them. Then they realized a group was helping them in a city. After a month the family filed case of theft that their own daughter has run away with rupees 10 lakhs in cash and 12 lakhs in jewelry. The police had to investigate it, and this gives them the legitimate right to go wherever the runaways are and arrest them. When the police came, they said we are in a relationship and support groups substantiated the story. The police had to come back. Finally we had to take transit anticipatory bail for girls. In another city it was a nightmare as the sessions judge kept asking what do these girls do. “I’m giving you one week i want to interview her in chamber then I will decide whether to grant bail or not.” The lawyer said, “You can reject it. It was volatile, 50 family members standing in court, waiting for girls, abusing and intimidating the 2 lawyers. Many times lower courts don’t understand issues, so we went to HC, who granted anticipatory bail to girls, asked if girls are in love, said yes, granted bail.”

Selfies

Couples having sex and putting the video or pictures in the public domain say on YouTube can be prosecuted.

SIM Cards

SIM cards give out location even if phone off.. After a party one guy picked up another on the road, went to the house. In the morning his cash and laptop were missing. The police tracked the guy with the help of the phone company and recovered part of money and all goods. The cheated guy was willing to go to the police. When asked why he got the guy home he said to talk to, didn’t say for sex. Another similar case of mixing something in drinks at home by the visitor and a robbery was cracked by tracking SIM cards.

Solicitation

Is it a crime to solicit sex  on FB or Grindr? It is up for interpretation. You can technically be arrested for solicitation, but not a single case of arrest for soliciting online has happened so far. You are just opening yourself for more harassment so be careful. Yes you can be accused of soliciting for walking around in drag at night. This is a discussion of risks and relative risks. Take calculated risks.

Visas

If I go to jail for being gay, will I get a foreign visa? You cannot go to jail for being gay.

Voluntary sex or Forced Sex

In a small town case, one guy went to police said I am gay. I was forced to have anal sex with many involved in an HIV-AIDS organization Once the groups were investigated, it was a disgruntled worker, and says he was forcibly made to have sex and now has become gay. Being a small town, he was able to shame and humiliate a lot of people.

How to prove sex voluntary or forced? Depends on medical exam, statements, varous other things. Simply calling someone home doesn’t imply consent.  That does not mean person can force you to have sex. At the time of the act also you can say you don’t want it, and then it becomes non-consensual.

Workplace

If a picture taken of you at a pride march appears on TV or in a newspaper, legally you cannot be fired from the company, society, or family property. If people want to come up with reasons, they will: you have not performed, you are disobedient etc. Hidden reason will be homophobia but nobody will say it.

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Conclusion:

One of the participants summed it up as: “In real terms, lives of gay men in urban India are much more vibrant. Gay pride marches have higher attendance than ever before, more younger people came out and there is tremendous strength to carry the struggle forward. This SC 377 decision does not prevent practical and political solutions to problems.”

Sunday Meet (Bandra) Report (03/2014)


By Saloni

When I found the GB website, I was just looking for someone to talk to. A judgement free and liberal environment. This Sunday’s meeting with the people associated with this group was actually my first interaction with the gay community in such an open fashion. I guess I was expecting a more serious discourse and a more meaningful discussion but what did transpire during the meeting did well for a start I suppose.

It was really nice of Harpreet and the Buas to welcome me into their home and their efforts in creating such a forum are in itself highly commendable. The food did wonders for calming my anxiety 😛

I got the chance to meet some really inspiring people and found information about the incredible work some people were doing to help bring everyone in this country on an equal footing.

What did make me a little uncomfortable was the talk about sex even though it was quite fleeting and harmless. But then this is just my personal perspective. Mind you…not talking about the discussion on HIV. Also, given that this was supposed to be a free and open atmosphere some people did come across as being judgemental with a holier than thou attitude. This is, of course, my personal perception and I’m sure that no one in the meeting meant any ill well towards anyone else. Also, I had expected the discussion to be a little more basic and related to real life personal issues but then again, this was my fault. Should not have expected a group which has been meeting and partying regularly for so long to dwell much on the basics which I’m sure have been covered multiple times in the past.

Having said all this, I am incredibly grateful to the organisers for this initiative. Interaction with a couple of really nice people post the meeting made the entire exercise completely worthwhile. 🙂

I sincerely hope my honesty is not too scathing.

15th Gay Bombay Parents and Relatives Meet: A Mumbai Pride Event: Report (02/2014)


By Sachin Jain

  • Date and time: Sunday, February 9, 2014; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Venue: Seva Sadan Hall, Grant Road (West), Mumbai
  • Participants:
    • Family members: (record-breaking!) 17 [9 mothers 3 fathers(!), 3 sisters, 2 aunts];
    • LGBTIQ community participants: 65

The session had 3 thematic parts:

  1. Personal strengths and struggles
  2. Family and Society (also includes a part of LGBTIQ children telling their parents what they feel)
  3. Politics

The parents meet reports are especially written as personal narratives, and not summarized or altered, because we believe there is a lot of power in recording, as-is, the testimonies of the parents. The questions posed by the facilitator or others to the parents are placed in italics. The ‘parents meet’ events are a safe, welcoming non-judgmental space where parents with all opinions, including those that may be perceived to be hostile to LGBTIQs are welcomed and respected.

Deepak Kashyap, facilitator, introduced himself, Gay Bombay, Gay Bombay’s Parents Meet and how they have been held as a part of ‘Queer Azaadi Mumbai’. He narrated a story of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) founder Jeanne Manford. At night her phone rang – a police officer called and asks if she was Monty’s mother. “Do you know your son was in a gay bar and caught? Do you know he is a homosexual?”, he asked. She replied, “Yes I know leave him alone.” She marched in 1972 New York Pride with a placard that read “Parents of Gays Unite in Support of Our Children”. Since then familial acceptance and love became powerful ideas in the gay rights movement. Our panel today of 17 parents and relatives epitomizes this support and love their kids and their kids’ friends or their kids’ friends’ parents in realizing dream of unconditional love for their child. A love that asks no questions without explanation or reason. It was made clear a little later that even parents with views opposing queer sexuality and not accepting of their children’s sexuality were welcome in this space and it was a safe and non-judgmental space for them. How Gay Bombay’s creation of social spaces leads to solidarity and confidence and ultimately empowerment was also explained. It was the marriage anniversary of one of the parents and yet she came, and she was presented with a bouquet. The context of Gay Bombay’s Parents Meets and their part in Queer Azaadi Mumbai was explained and there was a round of introductions.

Introductory narratives:

“I am very proud of my brother.”

“I learned about my son 8 years ago, and have been connected to Gay Bombay’s parents meet movement since then. I have come not just for my son. You are all like my children and I have come to support you all.”

“My son came out to me 15 years ago. For 6 months I did try to take him to psychiatrist. After that the doctor said it is inborn, we cannot change him. Why not accept it gracefully? It’s not in my hands.”

“I’m a psychiatrist, and coming out is very important. My son came out and everyone has accepted him in my family, they have even started accepting the gay community. If he is so good and successful why should it hamper anyone’s life? Parents are afraid their children will suffer and be discriminated against. If you and your relations accept, society will also accept. When more people come out you will no longer be called a tiny minority. Successful gay people should be role models so that people think there is no difference between you and others. Tell your friends to come out.”

“I have met so many parents in the past few years. , Ultimately they say “Maybe I will take my son or daughter to a psychiatrist so they can be cured. My daughter is a professor abroad. She came out to me in 1992. I accepted her immediately and all my family friends accepted her. One of my family told me later we were shocked initially. She insisted on going and telling people she was close to herself. Thinking logically and deeply we realized she’s the same person. All these years we have loved her. What has changed? Nothing. If she falls in love, it will be with a woman, that’s all. If she sets up a family it will be with a woman too. How has it made a difference in our relationship?”

“It was not easy when my son came out. I said don’t tell anyone. But he went about telling everyone that he is gay. So he made me come out of my phobia. Otherwise I would have made him sit at home and be quiet about it. It is very important for children to come out. I have seen him flowering after that. He used to be very afraid to speak even a word.”

“I am a proud mother also a proud mother-in-law to my son’s partner. I’ve accepted both of them, they stay with me together. I will support them throughout my life and support the whole gay community throughout my life.”

“You all call me bua. It has been so many years we have been in touch and we have such a strong bond. I wish from my heart that things are easier for your all. Never say your sexuality is a choice, it is not a choice.”

“My son came out in 2007. I have supported him since then and will support all of you forever. I know the situation you all are in. You can call me 24 hours a day. It was difficult for my son to come out. He took very long to tell. It was I who asked. He started crying and said yes. He asked if I hate him or feel shame. I said no I am very happy so stop crying. We went out for dinner in a restaurant and we slept well. I am very proud of him.”

“I teach sociology at University of Melbourne. Deepak invited me, as I had researched and documented gay men’s life stories across the globe. He wanted to speak on importance of parents and coming out experience. “

“I am meeting you all for he first time. My sister and I never talked about this but my niece knew. She said we want to go to this program. I asked my sister and she said, what’s the big deal? A load was taken off my shoulders. Humans are humans. I had a dream of his marriage. He said I will marry and your dream will come true. It feels very good to meet you all and hear your thoughts. I would like to participate in future as well.”

“I am a father, our son told us 6 months ago. Seeing the support system here I’m feeling better. Didn’t know what is gay and lesbian and have started discussing now.”

Section 1: Personal Strengths and Struggles

What inner strengths did you discover when your child came out?

“Knowing about something makes it easier to accept. If you find out suddenly, without knowledge, acceptance takes time. I’d studied about homosexuals in medicine so I knew about their existence. I’m a cancer survivor. During cancer counseling, when I accepted it I faced it and could find a way out. It’s the same thing. Without knowing something we should not oppose it.”

“It is very easy to accept my brother is gay. He came out on Facebook to me. Being born in this generation I can relate to him very easily. He is brave and inspires me. Being born in a conservative Maharashtrian family and loved so much by parents, he is doing what he is doing. Sometimes if I’m stuck I take courage from his example.”

“When the whole world tells you what you should want and your body and mind tells you something else, this fight is very hard. Hence those who come out to parents who can reject you, it is very courageous.”

“I was always strong, but that opened doors for me, made me observe more, be compassionate and tolerant. It shook me. Helped me move ahead with broad-mindedness.”

If you knew someone gay or lesbian before would have been easier for you?

“Not for me. When my son explained I got it.”

“I didn’t feel bad when she told me. She was 20-21 years old. She knew from the age of 14-15 of being different from her friends. Then why didn’t she tell me? She gave me the reasons that in the early 80s, novels, literature, films were only heterosexual. Any feminine boy or delicate boy was called names even by grown-ups. She was afraid her parents and other may treat her badly. I considered myself so liberal and progressive but I had not given her support when she needed it most. Maybe I make up for that now by trying to support others. I keep telling mainstream people never to take your child’s sexuality for granted. I knew almost no gay people in the 1970s.”

“Sexual behavior is one of the important facets of life. But people are hesitant to talk about it, it is a closed topic. Even with normal sexual behavior many people don’t know what is right or wrong. People don’t know that homosexuality does not mean pedophilia. Homosexuality is not antisocial behavior, pedophilia is. I think it is very good that things are now openly talked about. Once people understand that it is not abnormal or bad, it is not sinful at least as far as Hinduism is concerned. Even things like abortion considered a sin earlier have been accepted now. It is important to educate the public. I am happy that three fathers are here.”

“Are there any other mothers of lesbians? None. I have a complaint, we say LGBTIQ community and while the gay aspect is visible, lesbians are invisible. I would like the lesbian friends to be brought and invited and their parents whether accepted or not they should tell their experiences.”

“I discussed with my sister before taking him to the psychiatrist. The extended family never makes him feel he is different. My husband has not told his side of the family but I want the nephews to know.”

“Frankly I don’t care if people know or not. There’s no question of acceptance as he is what he is. When my son was in the 2nd standard his teacher hit him, his hand was red and swollen. He was scared to tell him and knew that I would fight so he didn’t tell me. At night I saw it and asked. Crying he told me what happened. The next day I went to the Principal’s house at 7am and told them about what happened. I asked are you going to talk to her should I? I have not allowed my husband or me to touch him. If this continues I will take my son out of school and teach him myself. So now that he is gay nobody can dare to open their mouth.”

Can a gay man get married and still leave a happy life?

“Yes he can but he won’t get happiness or satisfaction, he will keep going outside the marriage.”

“In 1970 gay men married women and saved themselves from social hatred. It began when feminism was strong, it was fine for the man, no way fine for the woman, as it treats the women badly.”

“If you try, solution comes. For me this is simply unnatural sex. You should make people be able to have a normal life.”

Will you allow your daughter to marry a gay man?

“You will be happy but the woman will suffer. Marriage is between two people, so any third person will create a problem. If a gay person marries and is loyal to his wife and satisfies his wife, but if he expresses his sexual behavior outside there is a problem. Without trust there will not be a happy marriage.”

“LGBT includes bisexual persons as well who are attracted to both genders. I have met people who are bisexual who are married to opposite gender, they could be bisexual. If they are gay, they can be happy only with other guys.”

Was there any point you regretted your child’s sexual orientation? Why?

“None of my sisters have sons, so we had hopes for daughter in law so we feel sad that will not happen.”

Section 2: Family and Society

How do you deal with relatives and neighbors who ask questions like why is your child not married yet?

“For a long time I didn’t understand that a political act was not just to demonstrate and march in the street, it is by telling their friends and members of their family and a political change takes place by the single act of coming out. Then people know a gay man or woman so they cannot be homophobic in abstraction.”

“My answer when they asked me about her wedding was to say girls don’t get married etc. and sometimes I’d take refuge in a joke. Just as she showed the courage, I must also come out and live honestly and not be hypocritical. I told my close friends who knew her partner, but nobody mentioned her name and it was insulting for her partner to be treated always as a family friend. Despite the Supreme Court judgment, I look people in the eye and talk about my daughter and her partner. Just be confident and talk about your child’s achievements.”

“There was no challenge when he told me. I’m a single parent. From the beginning I love my children very much. I used to watch movies at night and one day he came out to me. I made a comment about one gay person in the movie and he went inside and started crying. I asked him what happened, and he told me. So I said I know and I had sort of guessed. But till he told me I could not come out. I said I love you very much and whatever you are I accept you. My sisters-in-law love him as mothers, and even their daughters have come today. But my side of the family knows everything but don’t want to acknowledge. They don’t ask me anything. I have told those who have asked. Those who don’t I don’t go and tell them. For wedding invitations, they include my son’s partner now. Once step at a time.”

Why did you come out about your daughter to your domestic help?

“In Indian families the driver, domestic help are like a part of the family. I didn’t want anyone to gossip behind our backs. I take them in confidence and tell them. I told my cook that my daughter and her friend are lesbians. She is not only a friend, she is her partner like a husband or boyfriend and girlfriend. My driver is from a small town in Uttar Pradesh and educated only till 8th grade. But he accepted it.”

“One of her classmates in late 80s was very delicate. After 12th standard he came back as a girl after his operation. When everyone got into a car, the driver said he could still hear a boy’s voice. My daughter explained. Call him by his new name. The driver says he is so lucky that his father had money to do the operation. ‘In our village they don’t have money and so they can’t do it and have so much trouble.’ Let us not think that educated people are qualified or tolerant. There are good human beings and bad human beings.”

How did you talk to your son’s partner’s parents?

“When I found out he was settled I was very happy. Hence I told everyone the news at once. Reactions were weird. I thought I did something wrong. “Is it because he went to US to study? Call him back. We will do it a puja. How did this happen? He was such a good boy.” I didn’t get angry because they were ignorant. But after all these years all of them have accepted him. Some prayed for him to change. When I found out I said what will happen to his partner if your prayers work? What about a girl if he marries? I am proud that he has accepted himself, I feel proud that he is not taking a wrong path. Both lives would have been destroyed. Being gay is not a crime. I saw his life there, and his partner’s parents. His partner’s mother started crying. She said both our boys are good but I don’t agree with this. I asked her to stay with them. Along with food, clothing, shelter, in life we want companionship. It doesn’t matter if it is with a boy or girl.”

“Our nani lives with us and I never came out to my grandmother. That time I was dating a boy, and I told her that I love him. First she asked me if it’s a Punjabi. Then she asked Muslim? Gujarati? Then she asked Telugu? Bengali? After everything she asked South Indian? Tamil? Brahmin? Then she says thank God he is a Tamil Brahmin.”

Do you fear that your child will not find a partner or be alone or miserable in his or her old age?

“I think it’s a powerful myth. I came across it while interviewing gay men. Parents said it’s sad you will be lonely in old age. There are 3 interpretations of their reasoning: First, they don’t know any older gay men and have no picture of how life could be lived without an opposite sex partner. The second possibility is the assumption that by having children old age gets better, which in some cases is true and in some not. The third is a rather negative view of gay men as those who don’t settle down, can’t hold relationships and are destined to be alone. This is the least helpful view. The first two may be rectified on exposure. During my research I met a bunch of men in Mumbai in their fifties, leading fulfilled lives, both on and off scene, creating alternative families. A single life is not necessarily a failed life, and not necessarily what gay men are destined to have.”

“8 years ago I met a 60-year-old gay man. He said, ‘In my time there was no internet hence finding a partner was difficult. For kids now it’s not that difficult. Your son is your son, but I am also his mom, as much as you take care of him I will too.’ We come alone into the world, go alone. Why worry? And the fact is yes, they may be alone. Expecting children to take care of you all life is not necessary. This idea of birthing children to be caregivers is wrong. The important thing is that they are happy.”

How is it different from fathers as against mothers to deal with a child’s different sexual orientation?

“Fathers love as much as mothers but don’t know how to express it. Mother doesn’t care about prestige but father does.”

“Fathers identify with sons with ego. More aware of the difficulties the son will face. Hence more difficult to accept.”

“Initially there was a lot of disturbance, my father would see me on TV and say derogatory things. Even my brother would. But they never stopped me. After I came back from the show, they would speak. Now they are very mature. My brother talks about it, my sister said to her to-be husband ‘I will only marry you if you accept my brother.’”

LGBTIQ kids tell their parents present there what they feel:

“I love her a lot. My mom says you not going to the temple but for me my parents are my gods.”

“My mother has been put through a lot of torture because of me. Every show I went on, I said she didn’t support me initially. Yet she stands by me now. On TV shows against Section 377, she accompanies me. Till today my father didn’t accept but now he does and talks about it himself. I am really thankful to them for accepting me. They have worked for many years to understand so I am grateful.”

“I came out 6 years ago and today to get my mom to a Gay Bombay Parents Meeting is history in the making for me. Rather than mother and son, we are like best friends. We fight everyday and the next moment we go and cook together. For 6 years it was ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and now she came here. I can see that she is happy and my sister is here too. I am really glad. I hope the discussion will go on and on and we will fight the battle together.”

“I have three mothers sitting here today. The one who gave birth to me exemplifies love. I can’t imagine my life without her. Most of my decisions are based on thinking of her first and then me, and it’s same for her. she is my best friend. I can’t imagine not being honest with her or even not being with her. After I came out to her I came out to my elder bua in a paper letter. She wrote back to me. She said I accept you. I don’t care what you are. I love you for who you are and for what you mean to me. She has been a pillar of support. Lastly my other bua. She is the one I am very close to. She took me to discotheques and hotels. I lived the high life with her. I didn’t come out to her first surprisingly. If the social butterfly accepted me I supposed she would too. The three of them have made me who I am. I hope I am a good person because they are just brilliant.”

There was an interval of half an hour for tea and snacks, and many of the LGBTIQ persons approached the parents and had private conversations.

Section 3: Politics

Suddenly your children are now criminals before the law after 4 years of freedom. What is your reaction? How do you advise parents dealing with this new situation?

“Why is the Government after gay people when there are so many issues today?”

“When the verdict came, I was at Azaad Maidan. Before that I was thinking what to wear to celebrate, a party dress. When I heard the verdict I started crying. I waited for years to hear good news which didn’t come. So I felt very angry and sad. But later I realized that whenever change has to happen, it takes time. What we can do is spread awareness, talk openly so people will understand, and one day it will change for the good. A golden day will come someday.”

“When the Supreme Court verdict came I felt very bad and disappointed. I cried a lot. I felt bad for my son. Rome not built in a day. Maybe the LGBTIQ community has to struggle more. Freedom definitely will come, it will be possible. Don’t get caught in legal problems, be aware of cops.”

“Criminals harm society. Consensual adult sex can’t be called criminal. What you do in your own house and bedroom cannot be called a crime. The judicial and political class needs introspection. I’m sure they will change. I sincerely hope within the next 2 years it will change.”

“When we failed in the Supreme Court, I wondered what would happen to my son as he is openly gay and the law is now against him. I never expected this. I was very dejected. In the last 4 years we had gone so much ahead but now we are back to square one. There is always something good in all bad things. So much awareness and debates happened. Those who didn’t know all know now. This was evinced by how many people came to Mumbai Pride 2014. More people will come out, and we hope for the better in the future.”

“Because of the decision we have got more publicity. People have come to know about gay people and the media has helped quite a lot. So we should wait and watch, we cannot do anything else. I would just give a message that gay community should be more careful not to get caught.”

“Everyday there should be one article in the newspaper on sexuality so people are kept aware. Who went to ask the law? If there is no law for heterosexuals then why for homosexuals? Why worry so much about the law? Tell the law we will not change, it will have to change.”

“If you reflect on life even five years ago, men in Mumbai had already been in long-term relationships. This slight interruption is not gong to stop anyone from conducting intimate relationships lasting the distance. They have been conducting them in times of meticulous hostility in the past. If the state starts to peer into the bedroom, then it will be a good reason to take to the streets. But the Indian police won’t have money to spy on people. It will slow down the movement towards same-sex marriage. Take heart in what you did from 2009 and continue doing that in the face of this hiccup as history is on your side. This hiccup will reverse. Thing will be better. This will hold up inheritance rights etc. but that will eventually happen too.”

“We must educate our relatives that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Speak openly.”

“Be cautious that you are not caught, take precautions, the law is against you. Misconceptions like gay people will increase and HIV will spread abound. Some gay people don’t take precautions while doing sex since it is not going to produce a child. Just be careful when roaming around.”

“Society will be perverted, more people will become gay by watching, this is the accusation. This is not a choice. There is not going to be more gay people, some are intelligent, some are not, most are average. Are we going to reject those who are not within the average and who are at the extremes?”

The parents were given a standing ovation and presented with mementos. The meet concluded with thanks.