Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Orissa gay activists' thumbs up to Delhi high court ruling

Orissa gay activists' thumbs up to Delhi high court ruling

Author: Akshaya Kumar Sahoo
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: The Asian Age
URL: http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/asian-age-plus/news-plus/orissa-gay-activists'-thumbs-up-to-delhi-high-court-ruling.aspx

He did not have any qualms about declaring himself a gay while making his speech at a seminar on Sexual Rights and Health in Bhubaneswar. It seemed he felt proud in disclosing his sexual preference in the packed auditorium of a city hotel.

The audience, on their part, perplexed for a few moments, got engrossed as he continued to highlight the deplorable life of the gays and lesbians.

After making a thought-provoking speech for about 20 minutes on the behaviour, desire and aspirations of gay partners, Subham Mishra, a 22-year-old boy, tried to drive his point home that gays should not be looked down upon by the society and get recognition as normal human beings.

A master degree holder in social work and business administration, Subham is a leading social activist in the state fighting for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

"We, like you all, are normal human beings. The only difference is that we do not feel for a woman when it comes to meeting our sexual needs. Like normal human beings, we sincerely and mindfully discharge all our day-to-day responsibilities and obligations," says Subham.

Subham, a resident of Keonjhar, had a harrowing childhood, especially when his family came to know that he was a gay. His father, a school teacher, felt devastated. His brothers also did not like him any longer.

"My father was terribly shocked. The only support I got was from my mother and sister. The neighbours considered me abnormal, made fun of me. And finally, I was almost ostracised in my locality," says Subham.

The young man felt shattered. He firmed up his mind and decided to live with dignity, without keeping his basic biological desires and instincts secret.

After graduation, Subham pursued social work to study more on human behaviour and society. The subject helped him to have regular interface with social organisations working for restoration of the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals.

"During and after my post-graduation, I travelled extensively to different parts of the country and participated in seminars, workshops and symposiums on human rights. Exposure to such exercises gave me an idea that gays and lesbians are like normal human beings and they have every right to live in the society with dignity and honour; they cannot be discriminated against," he says.

Having acquired wide experience, Subham decided to float an organisation of his own, dedicated to the cause of same-sex people. He named it as Sakha (Friends).

"Initially, there were few takers as many frowned at us. Now, we have a strong network across the state with over 500 active members," he says, adding that the members include high-skilled educated professionals as well as illiterates.

How does the organisation help the members? "Unity is strength. When a group of people shout, the authorities at least do listen to them. Now, people have started believing that we are normal creatures and capable of doing everything that they do daily in their personal and professional life," he claims.

Recently, Subham's organisation submitted memorandums to Orissa government demanding equal treatment of the same-sex practitioners.

Subham welcomes the Delhi high court's verdict legalising the gay sex between the consenting adults.

"The Delhi high court's pathbreaking judgement has once again proved that India is truly a democratic country. The Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to people of all castes and religions. Now, it has given equality to same-sex practitioners," he says.

Orissa unit of Lepra Society, which has been working on Sexual Rights and Health (SRH) through its project Sakhyam, is equally happy with Subham's fight for rights of the gay.

"Subham and his friends have been doing a commendable job in awakening the society to the problems and plights of the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. It is because of their consistent efforts that people have started recognising these people as dignified citizens," says Harish Chandra Singh, regional director, Lepra Society.

Prasant Mishra, project coordinator of Sakhyam says: "Lepra Society has been making sincere endeavour to restore sexual rights and health needs of the gay, lesbians and transgenders. Our efforts, to a great extent, have yielded positive results. I hope in the coming days, they will be leading a more dignified and noble life."

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements