Celina is vocal about gay rights

MUMBAI: It will become a landmark in the cultural revolution of India for having officially opened its doors to the gay community. And I, with tears in my eyes, and an ecstatic heart, am proud to say that homosexuality is no longer illegal and has been decriminalised.

This decision by a court as senior as the Delhi HC, with such respected judges, has given a decision which sends a powerful signal across the country and I am confident that the judges, lawyers and police officers will follow it’s lead all across India.

This judgement is against the alien law imposed by the British on Indian culture as the law was imposed almost 160 years ago on a more tolerant tradition of Indian culture. India, the world’s largest democracy — where millions of people from every caste, religion and creed live together, has overcome a major hurdle which challenged the fundamental and human rights of its minorities.

It’s a victory of human rights and a personal victory for me as well because now all the people who raised fingers against me, and my movement, are now elegantly silenced. And, most importantly, all my friends of the LGBT community will now lead a protected life and walk with their heads held high. It’s a victory of common sense over unreasoning prejudice.

A lot of gays will be encouraged to come out of the closet and meet each other in safer environments instead of secretly and quickly meeting in places where it’s hard to have safe sex. As a result, it will help in fighting against the growing HIV AIDS epidemic. Authorities won’t harass and blackmail anymore...

God, my family, my gay friends and the immense support of The Times of India has made gay rights awareness possible. Kudos to Times for standing up against all odds and giving me a platform for such a non-diplomatic cause. This has proved that the media is for the people, of the people and by the people. I received over one lakh messages from all over the world. God knows how people got my number, but this fight has been for all my beloved friends and it was worth so much the effort.

However, I feel the battle has just begun and after legal acceptance, social acceptance is going to be a great hurdle to cross... not to forget the immense cultural opposition. But as Martin Luther King said, “Just take the first step...” and that has happened. Unfortunately, the fight against the rampant discrimination and hatred of homosexuals is still not over. Our movement lives on and grows stronger every day. I am very proud of that, but at the same time devastated that our society has not truly progressed, but only learned to mask its intolerance and hatred.

However, time has come to live and accept every one as equals and not judge people on their sexuality because if it was all about what people do in their bedrooms... half the straight couples would be criminals thanks to Section 377. As for me, my journey towards accomplishment of human rights will continue... for there are ‘miles to go before I sleep.’