PUCL, October 2003

South India Coalition for Sexuality Rights
Flat 13, Royal Park Apartments, 34 Park Road, Tasker Town, Bangalore -
560051 Phone: 080 2868680/2868121 Email: sicsr@hotmail.com


14th October, 2003

Launching of ‘South India Coalition for Sexuality Rights’ and ‘Campaign for Repealing of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)’

Around 100 activists belonging to various organizations working on issues
related to sexuality minorities, sex-workers, women, dalits, human rights, sexual health, trade unions, students, youth, social action etc.. in South India have gathered in Bangalore for a full-day deliberations on the issue of Repealing Section 377 of IPC. The groups have resolved to launch a campaign to sensitize the state, media and the civil society about the need to Repeal Section 377 of the IPC, the law used to criminalize homosexual/bisexual/transsexual people. IPC 377 is used often by police and criminal elements to harass, abuse (physical as well as sexual), extort and intimidate homosexual/bisexual/transsexual populations. This law stands as a hindrance in seeking justice when human rights of sexuality minorities are violated. This law even criminalizes certain forms of sexual activities between consenting heterosexual adults like ‘oral sex’
and ‘anal sex’.

This archaic law was imposed on our sexually tolerant society 135 years ago by British colonial rulers. Though Britain has decriminalized homosexuality 50 years ago, we continue to serve our erstwhile masters through this law. The recent affidavit filed by the central government in Delhi High Court stated that “homosexuality should not be decriminalized because: 1) Homosexuality is not accepted by Indian culture and Society, 2) Criminalisation of homosexuality is necessary to "provide a healthy environment by criminalizing unnatural sexual activities" and also, that "it can open the floodgates of delinquent behavior", 3) The criminal law should represent the wishes of majority of the population and homosexuality should be a crime as a majority of Indian are intolerant towards it” (emphasis added). This only shows how the present central government, which claims to uphold the Indian traditions is actually a reactionary force, and has very little understanding of tolerant Indian traditions towards homosexuality. What gives us hope is the positive support extended by the visual/print media through editorials, reports, talk shows etc..

The activists at the Bangalore meeting have launched ‘South India Coalition for Sexuality Rights’ to fight not only for the rights of sexuality minorities but also for the rights of all people who are facing oppression due to sexual intolerance including sex-workers and people living with HIV/AIDS through public education and campaigns. The constituents of the coalition include: Alternative Law Forum (ALF), DISC, Federation of Voluntary Organisations for Rural Development in Karnataka (FEVORD-K), Garment Workers Union, Gelaya, Good As You, Indian Social Institute, Jagruthi, NESA (New Entity for Social Action), PUCL ­ Karnataka, Sakya Balaga, Samraksha, Sangama, Saturday Sex- workers’ forum, Queer IISc (Queers in Indian Institute of Science) and Vividha from Karnataka); Sexworkers’ Forum Kerala, Vaathil and Foundation for Integrated Research in Mental Health (FIRM) from Kerala; Social Working Association for Men (SWAM) and Theni Mavattam Aravanigal Association from Tamilnadu, Darpan Foundation, Duties, Jyothi Welfare Society, Mithrudu, PASCA, Saathi and WINS (Women’s Initiatives) from Andhra Pradesh.

We request you to carry this news in your publication/television in support of our struggle for equality and justice.

Yours truly,

Elavarthi Manohar, Maitreya
for Coordination Committee


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