India has made progress by introducing third gender category

India has made progress by introducing third gender category

In the backdrop of the attack on a night club in Orlando last Saturday in which 49 people were killed, the American Center Friday hosted a discussion on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) rights with diplomats from several countries to mark ‘Pride Month’.

Diplomats to India from the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the European Union (EU) delegation said Indian society needs to exert pressure on the government to decriminalise homosexuality.

In response to a question on the engagement with the Indian government for promotion of LGBTI rights, Counsellor, political affairs at the Delegation of EU to India, Thibault Devanlay, said, “It is difficult, yet there are human rights dialogues between the EU and India. There are a lot of things that are discussed and India raises very valid questions for us. It’s not us pointing fingers at India… It’s a tough dialogue.

I wouldn’t say that LGBTI rights are very prominent in these dialogues but it is increasing.” Devanlay appreciated transgenders in India being granted the ‘third gender’ status. “I was impressed how this is being implemented in various states.

I don’t think France or any of the countries we represent have this. India has a law for the protection of the third gender,” he said.

US Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Pelletier said, “Every country advances in its own way. Different aspects of the issue will be more important to one country but may be different for another country. For change to be resilient, it has to come from and be rooted in society.”

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