- In 2013, India announced the controversial decision to restore the illegality of homosexual relations four years after they were decriminalized. Prince Manvedra Singh of Rajpipla called for an end to homophobic legislation that criminalizes and discriminates against the country’s homosexual population. He is gay himself and has been speaking on behalf of LGBTQ rights for years.
- Just last July, it was established that gay, lesbian and trans people will not be able to donate blood in India. This decision was made by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). A few days ago, on the occasion of the celebration of Blood Donor Day in India said that everyone could donate blood.
- A 29-year-old transgender woman became the first transgender judge in India. Her name is Joyita Mondal Mahi, who has been known for defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those living with HIV. In her new office, she has pledged to work on the basis of justice.
- The Indian Minister of Health revived hope among the country’s LGBT community when asked about his views on gay rights and the decriminalization of consenting gay sexual acts among adults. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that everyone has human rights and that it is the government’s job to protect them.
Another look into the future
With the Pride Parades being a worldwide affair, and the new wave of millennials having open eyes to diversity, India has also been opening its doors to welcome all kinds of people. Recently, on the Mr. Gay World International Competition, Rohan Pujari rose as one of the main figures of the show.
With a slender, but well-toned figure, Rohan comes from Arnala Beach, a fishing village right outside of Mumbai. He is 30 years old and he says he is exactly where he wants to be. Hailing from a humble background, he loves the beach and nature, small pleasures found in simple life, and has now become the image of the fight for human rights. Rohan works today with The Humsafar Trust (HST) which is India’s first registered LGBTQ organization.
How did you handle opening up as gay in the Indian society?
“Where I come from, my sexuality has not been accepted till date.”
When did you decide you would be the face of LGBT equality in India?
How was it to compete for Mr. India Gay?
On top of everything, it was a HUGE challenge. I gave it my full dedication and hard work because I had never done anything like that before. I had only a few months to prepare and I still had a lot to work on: My English was not good, my public speaking skills were poor and I had no idea about how much work styling and grooming is. On top, I had to work on my charisma and my body, which also played a big role in the competition. My friends and coworkers helped me get my personality and English skills up to speed, while I worked on my body. I went from 92 kgs to 67 kgs in a few months and I set myself to win it.
I ended up being the 1st Runner Up and I was proud of myself and my accomplishments. Although I did not win, it opened a lot of doors for me. I will continue working to achieve equal rights for everyone in my country.
“Love is love: we spread love, we give love, we share love. Love has no gender and no identity.”
If you could share a message with Indian people, what would it be?
And if you have issues or are struggling with your sexuality, a disease or simply want more information, you can find Rohan in the Humsafar Trust offices.
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