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Sexual Orientation

India: Row after minister calls homosexuality a disease

July 5, 2011

India's health minister has sparked a furious row over comments in which he described homosexuality as a "disease". Ghulam Nabi Azad told a conference on HIV/Aids that gay sex was "unnatural". Later he said he had been misquoted. One leading Aids campaigner said the minister was "living on another planet". 

Gay sex was decriminalised in the country in a landmark judgement in 2009 but anti-homosexual discrimination remains widespread.

Mr Azad told the meeting in Delhi on Monday that homosexuality "is a disease which has come from other countries".

Italy: LGBT Christians want Pope Benedict XVI to defend their human rights

June 10, 2011

Today the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups has sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI asking for true respect of the human rights and the personal integrity of LGBT people. They appeal to the Pope for a clear statement against homophobic violence and any pressure by religious authorities to undergo „reparative therapy“, often causing harmful psychological damage.

Prostitutes of God

October, 2010

In Prostitutes of God, VBS travels deep into the remote villages and towns of Southern India to uncover an ancient system of religious sex slavery dating back to the 6th century. Although the practice was made illegal more than 20 years ago, we discover there are still more than 23,000 women in the state of Karnataka selling their bodies in the name of the mysterious Hindu Goddess Yellamma. They are known as Devadasis, or ‘servants of God’. From city red light districts to rural mud huts, we meet proud brothel madams, HIV positive teenage prostitutes, and gay men in saris. Our intimate exploration into the life of the Devadasi reveals a pseudo-religious system that exploits poverty-stricken families to fuel modern India’s booming sex trade.

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