“Why Would Anyone Choose to be Gay in a Society that is so Negative Towards Homosexuality?”: An Interview with Anjali Gopalan

07 February 2016
AP Photo/Gurinder Osan
AP Photo/Gurinder Osan

On 2 February 2016, the Supreme Court of India referred a batch of eight curative petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a constitutional bench of five judges. The law, dating back to colonial times, criminalises sexual acts considered to be “against the order of nature,” including homosexuality.

India has seen much popular debate over the issue especially after the Naz Foundation (India) Trust (a Delhi based non-governmental organisation that works on HIV/AIDS and sexual health) filed a case in the Delhi High Court in 2001 to strike down Section 377. The high court finally passed a judgment to decriminalise homosexuality in 2009, but the Supreme Court decided to reverse the decision in 2013, claiming that changing the law was the prerogative of the parliament and not the judiciary.

On 4 February 2016, Ishan Marvel, a reporter at The Caravan, spoke to Anjali Gopalan, the founder and executive director of the Naz Foundation over the phone. Gopalan discussed the journey of the Naz Foundation over the years,and the problems concerning the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights in India.

Ishan Marvel is a reporter at Vantage, The Caravan.

Keywords: Section 377 homosexuality Indian Supreme Court high court HIV/AIDS LGBT Naz judgment Anjali Gopalan