Alex Blaze

Queer Canadians in India!

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 10, 2007 4:24 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Canada, India

A Canadian gay diplomat and a Canadian lesbian diplomat aren't able to get immunity from India's sodomy law. From CNN-IBN:

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which came into effect 145 years back in 1862, bars sexual intercourse between same-sex people and provides for life sentence for violation.

According to The Telegraph, while the Canadian High Commission has requested Delhi to offer "diplomatic privileges" for the two officials, MEA says the requests cannot be granted. Canada allows gay marriages and the two couples are said to have got married legally in their country.

What's interesting is that both countries had the same sodomy law from colonial days because they were both British colonies. And they're both currently members of the British Commonwealth.

So I'm sure that there are Canadians who would see India's sodomy law as an anachronism, part of a less enlightened era. Overturning such a law is more than just overturning that law; it's a symbol of higher social evolution to many people instead of an actual step towards making the world a more fair and just place. India's reaction, on the other hand, might not have much to do with the gays either. The whole Richard Gere affair from this past month demonstrates how many countries will tie themselves to social conservatism to maintain a different identity from Western countries, which is strange since India has a long history of same-sex loving (the Kama Sutra contains a how-to guide for guys who want to give another guy a blow job) and the original sodomy law itself was imposed by colonizers.

So, in the end, we're just thrown around as footballs in other people's games. Gay men in India are being thrown in prison for having sex, and it isn't helping that country fight AIDS. Then these Canadian gay diplomats could be thrown in jail as well since they can't get diplomatic immunity under the Geneva Convention, and while it's the easy choice to point out their privilege relative to Indian gays and lesbians, they're definitely not being treated as equals to the other straight canadian diplomats and may have to give up their jobs over this. And all this is being done as part of a much larger and somewhat unrelated question of cultural protectionism.


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