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Tamil Nadu's first homosexual society
A Ganesh Nadar in Chennai | March 16, 2006 13:11 IST
The Men Community Development Society is a milestone in Chennai, a city definitely not known for its liberalism. The Society is for homosexuals.
Started on Wednesday by the anti-AIDS non-governmental organisation Indian Community Welfare Organisation, the Society was formed to address violations of homosexual men's human rights, help them get help from the government, to provide them support in times of need, and to help them form more such organisations in other districts of Tamil Nadu.
At the inauguration, most of those present complained of regular police harassment.
One member related how the police suspected them to be prostitutes just because they carried condoms.
"On one hand the government advertises on radio, TV and newspapers to use condoms and on the other hand the cops arrest us for carrying them," he said.
Some of them had been thrown out of their jobs when their colleagues learnt of their sexual preference.
One man said his family had accepted his homosexuality, but not society.
Another narrated how he got married just to satisfy his family and still went out looking for love.
The event's chief guest, Dr Jaya Shreedhar, said homosexuals are born with their sexual preference; it is innate and cannot be 'changed.' Homosexuality is not 'abnormal,' she stressed.
Gays are accepted in Western countries but not here, she said.
In fact, a Bill is being mooted to make homosexuality legal, she pointed out.
The Society -- which has started off with 300 members and has identified more than 7,000 future members in the city -- will educate its members about sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, help them become financially independent, encourage them to save and provide them medical help.
The members of the Society said they would help others like themselves. They would stop them from becoming prostitutes, make them health conscious and train them to make money without resorting to commercial sex.
To address the common grievance of doctors treating homosexuals with disdain, the Society has its own doctor and clinic.
It will have computers, driving, tailoring, beautician and folk art courses for its members.
The ICWO, which was formed in 1992, has been working with homosexuals for the last six years in its efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.
The Men Community Development Society can be contacted at: 044-2618 4392 and 044-55515742.