Yeh Hai Life!

Gay Rights And A Tale Of Two Beauties On Two Continents

In Bollywood, Human Rights, India, Legal, Women's Issues on May 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm
Former Miss India Celina Jaitley

Former Miss India Celina Jaitley

Earlier today Miss California Carrie Prejean was allowed to keep her crown after California State Pageant officials charged that she had abandoned her duties to lead the charge against same-sex marriage. There was also the matter of seminude pictures she hadn’t told them about, but that’s another story.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world in India, actress and former Miss India (2001) Celina Jaitley has become the first Bollywood celebrity to openly call for gay rights in India. Writing in her blog this week, Miss Jaitley called on Indians to “stand up for the human rights of sexual minorities in India society.”

Homosexuality is criminal in India under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which reads “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

This criminalization dates back to 1860 when the British ruled India and brought this code to all their colonies. Speaking out against Section 377 Miss Jaitley said, “The biggest hurdle in India (the world’s largest democracy) which stands in the way of gay rights is Article 377, which has been used to systematically persecute, blackmail, arrest and terrorize sexual minorities. Section 377 is also seen as an anachronism from a less tolerant era and health care officials struggling to contain India’s AIDS epidemic warn that it is constantly hampering their efforts to contact vulnerable groups.”

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