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Being gay still illegal in Indian Army, 'high time' military gets in sync with times

Counterview Desk 

An online petition has been floated, addressed to Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister of India, stating that, in a landmark judgement handed down in 2018, the Supreme Court overturned a colonial-era law that criminalizes homosexual activities.
"After all these years, it’s high time the military gets in sync with the spirit of the time", the petition insists, pointing towards how his ministry is "censoring a film that shows a gay soldier", calling it "a major blow to the creativity of an industry India should be proud of."
"Mr Singh, we call on you to reverse the Ministry of Defence’s decision to reject a film about a gay man in the Army", adding, "The ministry should rethink its stand on this issue, which is inspired by a real-life struggle."


In India, any film showing content relating to the defence forces is required to get clearance from the Ministry of Defence.
That’s why, on December 16, 2021, Indian award-winning filmmaker and gay rights advocate Onir submitted to the Ministry of Defence the script of his new film, inspired by the story of a gay Major who quit the service.
After working freely on movies portraying queer lives and showing police abuse of gay characters, even when same-sex relationships were criminalized in India, he couldn’t expect that a fictitious story about a gay man in the Army, would be met with censorship in 2022.
But that is what has happened, despite the script being very respectful of the Army: On January 20, 2022, the Ministry of Defence communicated to the filmmaker that the script “has been analysed in detail. It is regretted to inform that the script has not been cleared by IHQ of MoD (Army).”
On questioning, Onir was told on a call that there was no specific problem with the script, but it cannot be cleared as being gay is “illegal” in the army.
Despite the Indian Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual same-sex relationships in 2018, it looks like the Indian Army have not recognized it yet and still treat anyone from the queer community as illegal.
This story has already been in the public domain for over two years, since Major J Suresh, who has retired now, gave an interview to New Delhi Television (NDTV) about his not being able to be himself in the Army and, therefore, having to quit it, to be honest to himself.
This story has to be told because it’s unacceptable that being queer still does not allow someone to serve the nation that they love by joining the Army.
Click here to sign the petition 



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