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East India’s First Gay e-zine

January 2010

GAYLAXY

2009 A year of celebrations


gaYlaxy

EDITOR’S NOTE

GAYLAXY The gay scene in India has undergone a sea change within a decade, with 2009 being the most defining year. Kolkata has been in the forefront of the movement always, be it organising the first Gay Pride March of India or the first Lesbian helpline. With the industry too recognizing the power of “pink rupee”, it was time the Gay community of India had its own monthly magazine. Thus was conceptualized GAYLAXY- a magazine with an eye on the various queer happenings in and around Kolkata and focused on the needs of the community. So, while the first issue is an ode to 2009, expect a lot more in the coming months. We hope to be the voice of not only Kolkata, but the whole of East India. I would also like to thank all my friends who have constantly supported me in this endeavour, and without whose encouragement and help the magazine would never have seen the light of the day. Do send us your comments and suggestions. Wish you all a very happy and gay new year. Sukhdeep Singh Editor-in-Chief

IN THIS ISSUE

Editor-in-Chief: Sukhdeep Singh Cover by: Pawan Koserwal Contributors: G. Singh Saurabh Sharma Pinaki Ghosh Mukesh Prasad Sukanya Mahata

2 A New Dawn 4 Path to Freedom 6 G- News from around the World 8

My Coming Out Tale 10 Straight Talk 11 HIV/AIDS 13 Cinema

15 Test Your GQ That Dare 16 Love Not Speak Its Name 17 Cope-n–Selfhelp Summit 18 NGO 1

January 2010


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A NEW DAWN As we enter 2010, a look at how 2009 marked a new era

bestowing true equality.

We declare that ‘We declare thatinsofar Section Section 377 IPC, it 3 7 7 I P C , i n s o f a r i criminalises consensualt criminalises sexual acts ofconsensual adults in sexual acts of adults of in private, is violative private, 21, is 14 violative of Articles and 15 of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The the Constitution. The provisions of Section 377 provisions Section 377 IPC will of continue to IPC will continue to govern non-consensual govern non-vaginal non-consensual penile sex penile non-vaginal sex and penile non-vaginal andinvolving penile minors… non-vaginal sex sex involving minors…’

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Fear has been replaced by pride and euphoria. Not that things have changed all of a sudden. Change always takes it sweet time to get rooted. For the first time, we enter a year as a de-criminalised citizen. In this first issue of Gaylaxy, we analyse the slow, but steady and significant changes that this historic judgement has brought about. The Queer Azadi March that was to be held in Mumbai on 16th August 2009 now had an altogether different mood. Marchers were celebrating their new found freedom. It saw the participation of over 1500 LGBT people and friends/family, making it one of the largest pride marches in India. All this, when Mumbai was already reeling under the fear of Swine Flu! The verdict surely helped many people open up and express their support.

hese are the very words which broke the shackles of LGBTs in India and would go down the annals of the LGBT history of this country as the most historic event. 2nd July 2009 would be remembered as a day when a marginalised community in an independent India was officially set free, In what would be a first of its kind

January 2010

old age home in Asia, India's gay prince Manavendra Singh Gohil set up an old age home in Gujarat for gay men. The Rs 25 crore project, being developed in association with Lakshya- an NGO working for gay rights- would be housing 50 elderly gay men. A Gay Bombay Parents' and Relatives' meet was held in Mumbai, where over 130 participants took part. The meet organised at Liquid Lounge, Charni Road, was one of the largest gatherings of parents and relatives of homosexuals in the city. Parents expressed their solidarity for the cause and shared their stories and experiences of dealing with the issue. Such gradual acceptance in family would surely give courage to many more to come out. In a major victory in their fight for equal rights and integration with m a i n s t r e a m s o c i e t y, I n d i a ' s

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gaYlaxy personalised services. Though the website was set up a year ago, its founder Sanjay Malhotra registered it only after the Delhi HC verdict decriminalising gay sex. Since then, there has been no looking back, and it has been constantly receiving requests from both Indian and foreign gay travellers.

India's gay prince Manavendra Singh Gohil has set up an old age home in Gujarat for gay men Transgender community was finally accorded the recognition that it had been denied for so long. The Election Commission agreed to add the category “other” to forms and web pages asking for gender identity, moving away from stereotypical definition of sexual identity. The Commission instructed electoral registration officers through Chief Electoral Officers of all states and union territories to implement the decision immediately. India also received its first travel agency catering to gays in 2009. IndjaPink, a gay travel lounge with its office in Delhi, organises customised tours in India for gay couples. The agency promises to offer a gay-friendly atmosphere and

Though in existence since 2006; when they would sell devil horns, feather fans and handmade jewellery and accessories at gay parties in Mumbai; Azaad Bazaar launched their website in July 2009. Proudly calling themselves as India's first LGBT pride store which is “straight friendly”, they expanded to selling a wide variety of products from T- shirts, key chains, mugs, handcuffs etc. Their price range varies from Rs 30- Rs 2000. After remaining an 'online store' for about 6 months, on 12th December they finally opened their first store in Bandra, Mumbai. With the fear of raids gone, clubs/groups that organised gay parties could now advertise themselves too. So we have a plethora of events being advertised in the various gay networking sites. There's Boyzone, BoyzRus from Delhi; Pink-Nation, Party Square from Bangalore; Chennai Dost, The Brotherhood from Chennai and many more.

IndjaPink, India’s first gay travel lounge show its acceptance and gay – friendly ads of Hindustan Times and Amul were soon being beamed across the nation. There were also reports of the Government planning to allocate Rs 55 crore for raising awareness among the masses on LGBT issues, though a final word on this is still awaited. A decade of struggle finally paved some way! People are surely becoming more accepting, and business houses are also recognizing the power of pink rupee. To sum it up, 2009 saw many a barriers being broken and marked the beginning of a new era. As we step into 2010, we hope that the process of change that gained pace in 2009 continues in this year too.

Corporate India was also quick to

Azaad Bazaar opened its first store in Mumbai in December

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January 2010


gaylaxy

PATH TO FREEDOM Tracking down the LGBT movement in India

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Society wasn't so easily available. Thus, Bombay Dost became the Dost of many a troubled souls. However, due to lack of advertising support and paucity of funds, the publication was on this side of the world too, and the rights that we were deprived of suspended in 2002.

he struggle has been a long one…The case dragged for 8 years…But alas, the sun shone

were finally bestowed. The citizens of the country could finally live a free life, devoid of fear, harassment and criminalisation of love. Gaylaxy traces back the arduous journey of this fight. Early Ripples

Even in its limited capacity, Bombay Dost had succeeded in what it had set out to achieve. Apart from disseminating information regarding HIV/AIDS and addressing LGBT issues, it had kindled the fire and shown the path to the community. Another major development that cannot be ignored is the release of Deepa Mehta's film 'Fire' in 1997. The film depicted intimate relationship between two married women and evoked sharp criticism and violent protests from right- wing Hindu organizations. It was probably the first attempt from mainstream Bollywood at dealing with the topic sensibly.

The earliest attempts at the need of a voice for the community can be traced back to 1990, when Bombay DostIndia's first registered LGBT magazine, was launched. Though it was a hush- hush affair, with limited copies and underground circulation, it touched the lives of many who lacked a platform to express themselves, or understand themselves. It is significant to note that it was the preinternet era, and information over Pride Marches & Internet topics considered taboo in Indian The seeds of a movement had been

January 2010

sown, and the first ever Gay Pride Parade was held in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1999. It was organized as a “Friendship Walk” by the Integration Society; where a small group walked through the market streets of Kolkata handing out flowers to onlookers, and was later christened as 'The Rainbow Festival'. It has been an annual event since then. Later in 2008, Delhi, Bangalore and Puducherry too held their first Pride Marches. Mumbai too joined in, with Queer Azadi March in August 2008. The role of internet, which arrived in India in mid 1990's cannot be ignored either. Free access to unlimited information while sitting in the comforts of your home along with the plethora of chat sites and instant messengers meant that people could network more easily, and support one another without the fear of raids and harassment from the police. The role of Indian

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gaYlaxy media was also crucial, which has, through its various reports and articles highlighted the plight of this marginalized community and the difficulties being faced by various NGOs to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS among the community. The Battle Begins The next turning point came in 2001, when a group of men working in an interactive program with gay men were arrested by the police in Lucknow on the charges of abetting a crime under 377. The activists were in jail for 45 days before being finally released on bail. This prompted the NAZ Foundation (India) Trust- a NGO working on HIV/AIDS to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in September 2001 in Delhi High Court to scrap Sec 377 of India Penal Code (IPC) as it violated the fundamental rights of homosexuals and came in the way of its antiAIDS campaign. The NDA government filed a reply in the court that Indian society by and large disapproved of homosexuality and thus the section should be retained. However, the Delhi High Court rejected the PIL in September 2004 on the technical ground that there was no prosecution pending against the petitioner, without going into the merits of the case. Voices Against 377- a coalition of various NGOs and progressive groups was also formed to raise this issue, and exhort the Indian Government to read down the Section. In September 2006, acclaimed writer Vikram Seth along with scores of other prominent Indians in public addressed an open letter demanding that 'In the name of humanity and of our Constitution, this cruel and discriminatory law should be struck down.

2004 Rainbow Pride Walk in Kolkata

Supreme Court asked Delhi High Court to examine the constitutional validity of the law. On October 5, 2006 Naz Foundation filed an affidavit before Delhi High Court and toned down its demand from a repeal of Sec 377 to reading it down to keep its ambit away from consensual activities between two adults.

Govt's conflicting stand In the High Court, while the Health Ministry under Anbumani Ramadoss supported a change in the law to help in the fight against AIDS/ HIV, the Home Ministry under Shivraj Patil opposed such a move pointing out that the law was also used in child abuse cases and on grounds of public morality. The Law Ministry of H.R. Bharadwaj was also not in favour of any change in the law. Upon returning to power and in its 2nd term, the UPA governments stand on this matter seemed to be getting soft. On 28th June 2009, Law Minister Veerappa Moily pointed out: “Many sections of the IPC are outdated and government is exploring possibilities of amending such laws and updating legal provisions so that they were in tune with the times.” This raised hopes that the Government may soon be amending the law. On 3rd February 2006, on an appeal However, in the face of opposition filed against the Delhi High Court from various religious bodies, the ruling, a four- judge bench of Law Minister soon backtracked,

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pointing out that he had been misquoted. Judgement Day Finally, on 2nd July 2009, Delhi High Court; after considering the various scientific facts, evidences of prevalence of homosexuality in ancient India and Indian scriptures, as well as the recommendation of NACO; declared that the Section should not be applied to consenting adults as it violated the fundamental rights granted to an individual by the constitution. The Indian government too decided not to appeal against the verdict, calling it a “balanced judgement.” The verdict was greeted with celebrations by the LGBT community. H o w e v e r, t h e v e r d i c t w a s challenged in the Supreme Court by religious bodies. But, the petition seeking temporary stay on Delhi High Court's judgement was thrown away recently by the Chief Justice of India. The CJI dubbed the claim that the judgement would boost male prostitution as a “figment of (the petitioner's) imagination”. 2010 has surely begun on a good note. A fight may be over, but the battle has just begun. The battle to change society's misguided perceptions regarding the community and for social acceptance of such people.

January 2010


gaylaxy

G- NEWS FROM AROUND

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009 has been an eventful year not only for Indian LGBTs, but also for queer people all around the world. Attacks, hate- crimes, civil partnership bills, change in US policy- the LGBT movement all around the world gained momentum. Here's a look at some major events in various parts of the world, reminding us that a lot needs to be done when it comes to LGBT rights.

THE WORLD

The year did not begin on a high note for Nigeria's queer population. In January, the

Find out how 2009 affected everyone

January 2010

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gaYlaxy effects” on minors. Outgames 2009- the gay sports meet in Copenhagen- which were held in July were marred with violence. Bombs were dropped on the tracks, injuring some participants. However, the event went on uninterrupted.

In September, Cinema Diverse- a Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Palms Spring- entered its second year. The festival saw the screening of 13 feature- length films and a number of small films from across the world.

International condemnation of Uganda's Anti- Homosexuality Bill grew stronger in November, with US and European Union both openly criticising the discriminatory law and threatening imposition of economic sanctions and withdrawal of aid. The draconian bill that was introduced in October proposes stringent action against homosexuals and those abetting such acts. Under this inhuman law, a person engaging in homosexual act would face life imprisonment, death penalty in case of a repeated offence. A person who fails to report homosexuals to the police would also be sentenced to 3 years in prison.

October had its share of ups and downs too. The death of Boyzone's Stephen Gately while on a holiday trip with his partner numbed his fans and the world alike. On the other hand, US President Barack Obama was hailed for signing the Hate Crime bill into law, making it a federal crime to assault a person based on his/her sexual orientation/identity. Obama also announced his plans to end the ban on gay people serving openly in the military. USA had a “don't ask, don't tell” policy, whereby a gay person can serve in the army until he remains closeted and is not open

The year ended with unusual bustle in our neighbouring country. In an unprecedented move, Chinese government opened a gay bar to spread the message of safe homosexual sex. On the other hand, New York lawmakers rejected a bill granting homosexuals the right to marry. LGBT organizations in UK criticised the Equality Bill for failing to protect the community in various sectors. The bill fails to protect LGBT people from harassment by school authorities, by the owners and managers of properties and by the providers of services.

The world was shocked yet again in August on learning about the attack on a gay support centre in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. While two were killed, 10 others were wounded in the attack.

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir House of Representatives approved a bill to punish people of the same sex who live together "as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship" with up to three years of imprisonment; and those who abet, aid or witness such a relation with up to five years of imprisonment. February had some cheering news though. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the Prime Minister of Iceland and the world received its first openly gay head of government. She had been Iceland's Minster of Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security from 1987–1994 and 2007–2009. February was also the month of Oscars. While the awards were swept by Slumdog Millionaire, Milk did make its presence felt with Sean Penn winning the Oscar for Best Actor in Leading Role and Dustin Lance Black bagging it for Original Screenplay. Another milestone was achieved in June when Ireland finally granted civil partnership for same- sex couples, with many of the rights of civil marriage. The month also had some bad news in store. Lithuania passed a legislation banning any positive information or “propaganda” about gays, arguing that homosexuality has “detrimental

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about his sexuality. The AntiHomosexuality bill was introduced in Uganda's Parliament.

Stephen Gately (left); Protesters protesting against the Anti- Homosexuality Bill of Uganda(above)

January 2010


gaylaxy

MY COMING OUT TALE by G. Singh

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t's been a bumpy ride for me till now. No, not my coming out experience; but my life before that .

Before I proceed further, let me give a brief introduction of myself. I hail from a small village, which is rural in true sense. Issues such as homosexuality and heterosexuality are unheard of. Not that it does not exist, people just aren't aware of such possibilities and everything is hunky dory until you are quiet about it. After all, it's just some masti that they engage in. As for me, I would say I was born as gay. Had it been a choice, I could have definitely changed myself. Since my childhood, I had an attraction towards boys. However, I did not realise that I was different from others. While in school, talks centered around girls never interested me. I thought of it as a temporary phase and that I would change as I grow up. To tell the truth, I had read somewhere that our body u n d e r g o e s va r i o u s transformations till we turn 18, and so, I was sure I would change. As I entered puberty, things only became worse. My feelings towards other boys in my school grew stronger. Mentally, I was always tensed. I kept thinking: 'What will happen if my parents come to know about it? Am I

January 2010

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gaYlaxy the only one who is like this?' At times I felt like I should die, I had no one to discuss these things, and I did not know why it was happening to me. This drove me into depression even more, and I would remain in my home (my gay closet). But this also meant that I would spend more time studying, which helped me get admission in a reputed engineering college. I spent the first 3 years of my college in denial. I would be attracted to my batch mates, and at the same time feel guilty. Though always with a smile on my face, I was a troubled soul from inside. While in first year, I planned that as soon as I get a job, I would consult a doctor and get myself “treated”. Such feelings continued in the second year too, driving me all the more crazy. I started hating myself. So finally, I tried talking to a friend of mine; though I only hinted to him, telling him that of late I had been having such feelings. He said: “Such things can never exist in India. You have been spending a lot of time by yourself in your room, and the loneliness has led you to think such nonsense. You should go out, hang in the canteen. Once you have sex with a girl, such things would change automatically.” He suggested that I consult some doctor. Our conversation ended with he telling me: “You must change.”

thinking that things would become normal now. I started watching porn. But, I wouldn't feel anything sexually, and my sexual drive started fading. This scared me even more. I had learnt that people become addicted to such medicines at times. I would listen to Baba Ramdev, and remain content that there is a solution. But after 2 months of “treatment” and with no improvement or change in me, I stopped visiting the psychiatrist and accepted the fact that I wouldn't change.

“”

I found out that true friends remain so, despite your orientation

At the same time, I learnt that one of my friends is gay too. My initial response was: “Why did he have to say so? He should have never confessed to that.” Although I had accepted my own orientation, I was still homophobic. After much deliberation, I gathered the courage to tell him regarding my own orientation. I could confide in him because I knew that he would be able to understand me as he must have gone through a similar situation. He helped me

further in accepting my own self and enlightened me on LGBT issues, gay relations etc. With his support, I came out to a few more of my friends. Initially I was apprehensive and thought: “What would they think about me? Would they stop talking?” But I found out that true friends remain so, despite your orientation. Now, I am happy and good things are happening to me. I am in a relationship too with a person I met over the net. I am happy because I don't have to pretend each day or remain on my toes to hide my emotions. At times, I even think that had I accepted myself in first year itself, I could have performed much better in my academic and extra- curricular activities. I know that God loves me, and I am a better human being. As for the first friend I confided in, we are no longer on talking terms. At times, I pity him over his ignorance. But on the bright side, I now know who my true friends are. My friends even say that I have gained weight. May be because now I smile from my heart. You can send your coming out story to editor.gaylaxy@gmail.com

With no respite in sight, I went to a sexologist. He told me that it was a “psychological problem” and I should consult a psychiatrist and gave me the address of one. Next I fixed an appointment with the psychiatrist and went to see him. He prescribed anti- depressants, probably because I was too depressed. Each time I visited him, he would write more of the medication. At first I was happy,

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January 2010


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STRAIGHT TALK by Saurabh Sharma

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efore RTI came into existence, we would either ignore our queries ourselves or lead ourselves to believe that there is no solution, other than to remain silent and bear with the babudom. But since the RTI Act was passed, our views have changed and we found the babus answerable. By citing the aforementioned example I just want to state that majority of us- The Indians- don't think much before following the age old customs or traditions or remaining mute spectators. If someone questions them, his voice is usually crushed and he is branded a threat to Indian Culture. In my view, a similar scenario exists with the LGBT community. After the ruling on Sec-377, many of the “straights” were forced to think on this issue. The matter came out of the closet and became a topic of dining table conversation. Being straight myself, I can say that it wasn't entirely our fault. We never had much relevant information on this topic. Although all of us have seen eunuchs or transgenders at our homes during ceremonies seeking money etc, still we have hardly ever pondered over the reasons, or discussed it seriously with anyone. Their mockery had become so much a part of our growing up that eventually, we stopped thinking about it and followed the age old customs without being aware of the reasons behind them. From our childhood, we have been taught to follow the preaching of Saints or Maulvis, who spread the word of God and they too have always criticised

LGBT's by saying that it is unnatural or against the Will of God. Being one of the “traditional Indian”, I also either ignored my queries or followed the Saint's view on LGBT related issues. But when I came to know that a close friend of mine is gay, I was shocked. Not because of his sexual orientation but because it was hard to accept the fact that gays are as normal as we straight call ourselves and that they account for close to 5% of the population. All my beliefs had come crashing down. The honourable judges of Delhi High Court could look beyond the

“”

Straights are an ignorant lot when it comes to LGBT issues. traditional prejudices and thoughts, and thus delivered their historical judgement on Sec 377 of Indian constitution. I think it gave a sigh of relief to most of you and confidence to some to throw away the mask in this straight dominated society. I can understand it would have been hard to pretend what you are not. But the awareness about this issue through dailies, magazines etc or by merely organising colourful rallies in metros won't work. You need to come out of your shell. Straights are an ignorant lot when it comes to LGBT issues. Even I used to think that it “happens” to someone just because he/she doesn't find a woman /man (as we saw in some

Bollywood movies), thus looking at the issue as a problem. So, I too asked my friend to have sex with a girl. I thought by doing this he'll feel better and will become “normal” soon. When I discussed this issue with my near and dear ones, they also suggested the same. But later, when we explored the matter, we found that it's not upto someone's choice, that it's not an abnormality. So please come out. Time is changing; people's point of view is changing. Everyone is not the same. Open up to your near and dear ones, who may act as a medium of communication between you and other's initially. I know it is easier said than done. There must be a thousand apprehensions in your mind. But you would find that most of them were just “apprehensions”. Acceptance will surely take time. Initially it'll be hard to speak on a topic that you have always dodged. Some might try to make things bad due to their sheer ignorance. But it'll be even harder for us to understand the situation and clear our prejudices until “you” discuss it with “us”. Clarify all the “doubts” one might have regarding orientation, marriage, future etc. No one can explain these better than you yourself. I know that LGBT's are not confined to the metros and are all over India. So, try to achieve your goal with combined efforts. I hope the day won't be too far when you'll be sharing an ice-cream with your partner in a park. Have a nice time.

“We're going to convince the 90% to give a s**t about us 10%. We have to let them know who we are... We have to let all those people out there know that they know one of us.” -Harvey Milk in the movie Milk

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gaYlaxy

HIV HOW YOU CAN AND CANNOT GET INFECTED

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ccording to the National Sentinel Surveillance Data 2005, more than 8% of the population of MSM is infected by HIV while the HIV prevalence among the general population is estimated to be lesser than 1%. The figures are alarming enough and in the absence of any vaccine or antibody against this deadly virus, prevention is the best cure. It is also important that each person has correct information regarding HIV/AIDS and its symptoms, for knowledge is power. So, if you still have only bits and pieces of information about the ways a person can get infected, make sure you follow each and every line of ths section and spread the knowledge too.

HIV TransmissionVarious ways in which HIV can be transmitted are: Vaginal sex HIV is found in the sexual fluids Ü

of an infected person. For a man, this means the pre-cum and semen fluids that come out of the penis before and during sex. For a woman, it means HIV is in the vaginal fluids which are produced by the vagina to keep it clean and to help make intercourse easier. If a man with HIV has vaginal Ü

intercourse without a condom then HIV can pass into the woman's body through the lining of the vagina, cervix and womb. The risk of HIV transmission is increased if the

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woman has a cut or sore inside or around her vagina; this will make it easier for the virus to enter her bloodstream. Such a cut or sore might not always be visible, and could be so small that the woman wouldn't know about it. If a woman with HIV has sexual Ü

intercourse without a condom, HIV could get into the man's body through a sore patch on his penis or by getting into his urethra (the tube that runs down the penis) or the inside of his foreskin (if he has one). Any contact with Ü

blood during sex increases the chance of infection. For example, there may be blood in the vagina if intercourse occurs during a woman's period. Some sexually transmitted diseases– such as herpes and gonorrhoea – can also raise the risk of HIV transmission. Anal sex Receptive anal intercourse (i.e. Ü

being the “bottom”) carries a higher risk of HIV transmission than receptive vaginal intercourse. The lining of the anus is more delicate than the lining of the vagina, so is more likely to be damaged during sex. Any contact with blood during sex increases the risk of infection. If a man takes Ü

the insertive (“top”) position in anal sex with a man or woman who has HIV, then he too risk. Oral sex Oral sex with Ü

an infected partner carries a small risk of HIV infection. If a person gives oral sex

(licking or sucking the penis) to a man with HIV, then infected fluid could get into their mouth. If the person has bleeding gums or tiny sores or ulcers somewhere in their mouth, there is a risk of HIV entering their bloodstream. The same is true if infected sexual fluids from a woman get into the mouth of her partner. There is also a small risk if a Ü

person with HIV gives oral sex when they have bleeding gums or a bleeding wound in their mouth. Saliva does not pose a risk. Injecting drugs Injecting drug users are a highÜ

risk group for exposure to HIV. Sharing injecting equipment is a very efficient way to transmit bloodborne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Sharing needles and “works” (syringes, bloodcontaminated water) is thought to be three times more likely to transmit HIV than sexual intercourse. Disinfecting equipment between each use can reduce the chance of transmission, but does not eliminate it entirely. Mother to child transmission An infected pregnant Ü

woman can pass HIV on to her unborn baby during pregnancy, labour and delivery. HIV can also be transmitted through breastfeeding. If a woman Ü

knows she is infected with HIV, there are drugs she can take to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected.

January 2010


gaylaxy Blood transfusions

Myths Busted- You cannot mosquito or another sucking or

been infected contract HIV by: through a transfusion of infected Kissing blood. It is important that the blood Saliva does contain HIV, but is tested for HIV before transfusion. the virus is only present in very Infection in health-care small quantities and as such cannot settings cause HIV infection. Unless both Hospitals and clinics should partners have large open sores in take precautions to prevent the their mouths, or severely bleeding spread of blood-borne infections. gums, there is no transmission risk These measures include using from mouth-to-mouth kissing. sterile surgical instruments, Sneezing, coughing, sharing wearing gloves, and safely glasses/cups, etc disposing of medical waste. HIV does not survive well in Health-care workers have on the open air, and this makes the rare occasions become infected possibility of this type of with HIV by being stuck with environmental transmission needles containing HIV-infected remote. In practice no blood. A few have also become environmental transmission has infected by HIV-infected blood been recorded. This means that HIV getting into the bloodstream cannot be transmitted through through an open cut, or splashing spitting, sneezing, sharing glasses, onto a mucous membrane (e.g. the cutlery, or musical instruments. You eyes or the inside of the nose). also can't be infected in swimming Proper precautions should be taken pools, showers or by sharing by them in this regard. washing facilities or toilet seats. Tattoos / piercing Insects Anything that potentially Studies conducted by many allows another person's blood to researchers get into your bloodstream carries a risk. If the equipment has not been have shown no sterilised before having a tattoo or evidence of HIV piercing, there could be a transmission through significant risk of exposure if the insect bites such as mosquitoes. HIV only person before was HIV positive. lives for a short time If you are thinking of having a and cannot reprodutattoo or piercing, ask staff at the -ce inside an insect. So, shop what procedures they take to even if the virus enters a avoid infection. People have Ü

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biting insect, the insect does not become infected and cannot transmit HIV to the next human it feeds on or bites. Protected sex Condoms are Ü

effective at preventing HIV during both vaginal and anal sex and can help to reduce the risks during oral sex too.

Safe sex is the best sex

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Oral Sex is low risk, not no risk q

There is still no cure for HIV/AIDS q

Condoms are the most effective way to q prevent HIV transmission

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gaYlaxy

CINEMA MILK

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ach new year we celebrate, with a 'hope for a better tomorrow… because without hope, life is not worth living.' It is this hope that exudes in each and every frame of Milk, and it is this hope that we should begin our year with. A truly inspirational film, Milk is based on the life of Harvey Milk- the first openly gay politician of USA to be elected to public office. Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black, the movie has some stirring performances by Sean Penn, James Franco and Emile Hirsch. Sean Penn plays the lead role of Harvey Milk, while James Franco plays his partner Scott Smith, whom he meets at a subway. The film uses real- life footage from the 70s, beautifully woven along with the movie. The credit opens with black and white footage of visibly embarrassed men being

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rounded up by police and Milk recording his voice in a tape recorder, to be played in case he is assassinated. Next, the movie goes on to track his life from 1970 to 78. After meeting Scott in a subway, the two decide to move to Castro in San Francisco- already a favourite among gays- where they open a Camera Shop. With the shop becoming a hangout zone for gays, union leaders seek Milk's help to ask gay people to boycott Coor's Beer. The successful boycott raises his aspirations, and he runs for the City Supervisor's post in 1973. After losing the elections for three times, he gets elected in 1977 as Castro's Supervisor after a change in law. But this political activism takes a toll on his love- life, and Scott decides it time he leaves. As a Supervisor he tries to befriend Dan White, played by Josh Bolin, Supervisor of an Irish Catholic neighbourhood of Castro.

However, political rivalry gets the better of them. The movie then goes on to portray the fight for gay rights that Milk took, by challenging Anita Bryant and her supporters for a repeal of laws protecting LGBTs. He challenges Briggs, an ally of Bryant, for an open debate. Briggs was introducing Proposition 6 in California, which would lead to firing of all gay teachers or their supporters. What follows are a series of public debates, where Milk intelligently thwarts each of Briggs arguments. He urges each gay man to come out to their near and dear ones, so that people may know they exist and how their loved ones would be affected. Prop 6 is finally defeated. However, political rivalry comes to play its part, and Dan White murders both Harvey and Mayor Moscone. The movie beautifully tracks down how Milk's life changed the lives of many. The message of 'hope for a better tomorrow' is so ingrained in it and is also depicted in every frame; as in the scene where a physically challenged boy Paul calls Milk to thank him, for it was his victory in the elections to the post of Supervisor that gave him hope to live. The spirited portrayal of Harvey Milk got Sean Penn an Oscar for Best Actor, while Dustin Lance Black bagged one for Best Screenplay. If you still haven't watched this masterpiece, go grab yourself a DVD, there can be no better way then to start the year with “hope”.

January 2010


gaylaxy

PHILADELPHIA

his lifestyle. Beckett also reveals that the homophobic comments of his peers kept him from telling them about his sexuality. After a bitterly fought court battle, the jury rules in his favour. However, Beckett soon succumbs to the disease.

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his movie that was released in 1993, dared to venture into territory unexplored till then. It was an attempt by director Jonathan Demme to deal seriously with the issue of HIV/AIDS as well as homophobia. Written by Ron Nyswaner, the movie is inspired by the story of Geoffrey Bowers, an attorney who in 1987 sued the law firm Baker & McKenzie for unfair dismissal in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases. In the film Tom Hanks plays the role of Andrew Beckett who is employed with a large corporate law firm in Philadelphia as a senior associate. He however hides his sexuality and disease from his coworkers. But lesions begin to appear on his skin and he is increasingly being questioned about his health, with some of his coworkers even suspecting him of having contracted the disease. He takes a few days off from office, although he keeps working from his home for an important case. Soon, he is dismissed by the firm on a flimsy charge of negligence. Now

his actual fight against discrimination- both in his office and society- begins. No lawyer, including personal injury lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) is ready to take up his case fearing they would contract the disease too. Andrew decides to be his own attorney. Later, however, Miller has a change of heart and he take up his case. The defense not only questions his competence but also

It is remarkable to note that the movie was released in the early nineties, when awareness on HIV/AIDS wasn't too high among the people. It does a fine job of portraying both homophobia and AIDS discrimination simultaneously. Scenes where Miller goes for a check- up after shaking hands with Beckett or when while researching for his case, he is suggested by the librarian to move into a private room lest others feel uncomfortable, go on to portray some of the hardships that people afflicted with the disease have to face. Antonio Banderas as Beckett's partner also makes his presence felt. Tom Hanks even won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Critically acclaimed, the movie would also make you wonder whether there's been much change even after two decades.

HAPPENINGS

Kaushik Ganguly's Aarekti Premer Golpo(Just Another Love Story), where famous Tollywood director Rituparno Ghosh forays for the first time in the field of acting by playing a gay documentary filmmaker in love with his cinematographer, has been selected as an official entry in the 60 t h Berlin International Film Festival's prestigious Panorama section, to be held from February 1121.

January 2010

Chha E Chutti , directed by Aniket Chattopadhyay was released on 18th December. The plot revolves around the cast and crew of a TV serial set who are holidaying on a beach. Things go awry when the manager of their resort dies after being slapped by one of the members. The movie explores relationship issues, sexuality and professional rivalry. Watch out for Tollywood actors Locket and Dona engaging in a lesbian love act in the movie.

In the much awaited upcoming Guy Ritchie's movie Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, the relation between the two has been given slight gay overtones, admitted Downey Jr. The mantra these days seem to be shifting form Jai Ho! to Gay Ho!

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gaYlaxy

TEST YOUR GQ So, you think you are sufficiently aware of the gay things happening around, the people who support you? Take this quiz and put your gay quotient to test. 1) Belonging to the renaissance period, he was a multi- talented person. A scientist, a sculptor, painter, engineer and inventor; he even designed a flying machine. He is?

2) A famous poet, author and playwright of London, he was prosecuted for his homosexual affairs in 1895. Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest are some of his greatest works. He is?

3) This day is commemorated all over the world with Pride Marches. It was the day when gays for the first time fought back for their rights. The day was? 4) She was the mixed doubles partner of Leander Paes for a long time, and the duo have together won many tournaments. Originally from Czechoslovakia, she sought political asylum from US and was granted US citizenship. She is ? 5) American Idiot, Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Wake Me Up When September Ends are some of the evergreen songs sung by this lead vocalist and guitarist of this band. Though married since 1994, he admitted as being bisexual in 1995 in an interview with The Advocate. He is? 6) An openly gay Olympic diver, he won the gold in Men's 10m Platform Final diving event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 for Australia. He is?

7) The director of the movie with cowboys falling in love. The movie touched many hearts, but couldn't bag the Oscars for Best Movie in 2005. The director is? 8) An openly gay fashion designer of India. Also called the “bad boy� of Indian Fashion Industry, his clients include Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell and Pamela Anderson. He is? 9)

The most famous couple of Hollywood, they have supported the homosexual cause in California against Proposition 8. If she has luscious lips, he is the heart throb of millions. They are?

10) Co- founder of Facebook, he was the man behind My.BarackObama.com, canvassing support for Barack Obama online. He is? 8. Rohit Bal 9.Brad Pitt and Angelina Joile. 10. Chris R. Hughes

ANSWERS

5. Billie Joe Armstrong of Greenday 6. Matthew Mitcham

.

7.

Ang Lee

th 1. Leonardo da Vinci 2. Oscar Wilde 3. 28 June 1969 4. Martina Navratilova

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January 2010


gaylaxy

LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME “The love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as "the love that dare not speak its name," and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.� - Oscar Wilde, defending himself during his trial in 1895

January 2010

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gaYlaxy

COPE-N-SELFHELP SUMMIT

T

he Head of States may not have been able to arrive at a legally binding agreement at Copenhagen World Summit on Climate Change, and India might have decided to just “take note� of the Copenhagen Accord; but there is more than enough that we can do on our part. While the governments may decide to dilly- dally on this

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issue, we can surely bring a change if each one of us decide to cut down on our own energy requirements and pledge to save Mother Earth. If you still haven't been able to figure out the ways to go about it, we provide you with the various options. Make sure you incorporate some of them in your regular life!

January 2010


gaylaxy

SUPPORT GROUPS FOR LGBT WEST BENGAL

http://sapphokolkata.org/ Target Population : Lesbians and bisexual women

THE PRATYAY GENDER TRUST

Prantik Bongaon

Contact person : Anindya Hajra Address : P251/B Purna Das Road, Calcutta, Pin 700 029 Phone : 033 2464 1893

Contact person : Niloy Basu Address : C/o Niloy Basu, Peada Para, P.O. Bongaon, Pin 743 235 Phone : 91 3251 257 029, 9332254855 E-mail : ajnil@rediffmail.com / ajnil123@rediffmail.com Target populations : Hijras, Kothis, MSM in general

E-mail : pratyaygendertrust@yahoo.co.in Target populations : Hijras, MSM (particularly kotis)

DURBAR MAHILA SAMANWAYA COMMITTEE

Northern Black Rose

Contact person : Mrinal Kanti Dutta Address : 12/5 Nilmoni Mitra Street, Kolkata West Bengal, India Phone : 033 2543 7451 / 7560, +91-33 2530 3148 Email: dmsc@durbar.org Website: http://www.durbar.org/ Target populations : Female, Male and Transgender sex workers

Contact person : Souvik Ghosal Address : C/o Hori Roy, M. B. Mukherjee Nursing Home, Hill Cart Road, Rajani Bagan, Khudiram Palli, Silliguri 734 401 Phone : 91-9433009116 E-mail: northenblack_rose@yahoo.co.in Target populations : Hijras, Meitis, other sexual minorities, street children

Astitva Dakshin

SAATHII CALCUTTA Contact person : Pawan Dhall, Chief Coordinator Address : CD 335, Sector I, Salt Lake City, Calcutta, Pin 700 064 Phone : 033 2334 7329 E-mail : saathii@yahoo.com / pawan30@yahoo.com Website : www.saathii.org Target populations : MSM in general, male sex workers, transgender people, bisexual

Sappho Contact person : Malavika Address : C/o A.N., P. O. Box No. EC-35, Calcutta, Pin 700 010 Phone : 033 2281 3462 Email: malvi99@hotmail.com , sappho1999@rediffmail.com Website:

Contact person : Debasish Mitra Address : C/o Bablu Bajikar, Baruipur Ukilpara, Kolkata 700144 Phone : 91-9836185589, 9830837440 E-mail : astitvadakshin@yahoo.co.in Target populations : Hijras, Kothis

Madhya Banglar Sangram Contact person : Arunava Nath Address : Kazi Ali Aftab Vill. Goaljan, P.O. Radharghat, P.S. Berhampore Phone: 91 9932760967, 9232694700 E-mail: sangram_06@hotmail.com Target populations : Hijras, Kothis, other sexual minorities

BIHAR Alpa Sankhyaka Seva Kendra Contact person : Madhu Address : Dr. Siviki Lane, Chaturbhujasthan, Muzaffarpur, Pin 842 001 Phone : 91 99314 70900 E-mail : aasra@vsnl.net aasra@dte.vsnl.net.in Target populations : MSM & TG

AASRA CHARITABLE TRUST Address : 101 Gauri Shankar Apartments, Kurji, Patna, Pin 800 010 Phone : 0612-2271598 E-mail : aasra@vsnl.net, aasra@dte.vsnl.net.in Target populations : Gay and bisexual men

Orissa SAATHII, Bhubaneswar Contact person : Mitali Mohanty, Address : N-6/313, Opposite Bank of Tarini Bhawan, Jayadev Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Pin 751015 Phone : 93372 72644 E-mail : saathii@yahoo.com Target populations : MSM, TG people, PLHIV and other vulnerable populations

Santi Seva Contact person : Sk. Jalaluddin Address : Santi Seva, C/o Fellowship, Tarini Bhawan, Baliorada, P.O. / Dist. Bhadrak, Orissa, Pin 756 100, India Phone : 93487 87724 E-mail : santiseva@yahoo.com Target populations : Hijra, Maichiya and other male-to-female transgender people

Inform us about any gay events being organised in or around your area Send us your feedbacks, suggestions, articles and coming out experiences to:

editor.gaylaxy@gmail.com January 2010

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Gaylaxy Jan issue  

Gaylaxy is a monthly gay e-zine published from Kolkata The magazine would cover events of gay importance happening in and around Kolkata, as...

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