India: Tackling the archaic LGBT law

A 15-year-old Class XI student set himself on fire after he was caught by one of his neighbours getting intimate with a male friend.  News spread, and teasing and harassment followed. Humiliated, he locked himself in his room for two days. On Sunday, he doused himself with diesel fuel and set himself on fire. "He is unable to speak properly,” the boy’s anguished father said. “The doctors say he is out of danger but I will only believe it when my son will talk to me."

The boy’s suicide attempt is the latest, tragic reminder that much work needs to be done in India to change public attitudes and reduce hysteria over so-called traditional values. In 2010, Srinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor at Aligarh Muslim University, committed suicide after being vilified for his consensual gay relationship.

The most urgent need is repeal of India’s archaic law criminalizing same-sex relations. Even if rarely enforced, the law, section 377 of the penal code, reinforced the idea that discrimination and other mistreatment of LGBT people was acceptable in Indian society.  Read more via HRW