Gay in India, Where Progress Has Come Only With Risk

Source: The New York Times

BILASPUR, India — If you had told Ayesha Kapur 10 years ago that she would help lead the fight against one of the world’s oldest laws criminalizing gay sex, she would never have believed you. For most of her life, Ms. Kapur was afraid to ever speak of her sexuality.

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Growing up in New Delhi during the 1980s, Ms. Kapur knew of no gay women, no reference points from Bollywood movies that could provide the vocabulary for what she was feeling. The word “lesbian,” she said, was “like a bad word.”

Three decades later, Ms. Kapur, who describes herself as deeply private and mostly apolitical, became a member of the first group of gay petitioners to challenge the law, known as Section 377.

In stepping forward, Ms. Kapur, 43, and other petitioners admitted to the court that they were criminals under a law routinely used as a cover to harass, blackmail and sexually assault gay people.

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