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Removing Discriminatory Portrayals a Step Toward Rights-Respecting Care

India’s National Medical Commission has ordered publishers and medical schools to edit their textbooks and curricula to exclude discriminatory and unscientific portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people. The…
A participant waves a flag during Queer Azadi Pride, an event promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, in Mumbai, India on February 1, 2020.
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Delhi Child Rights Commission Recommends an End to Risky Surgeries

The child rights agency for India’s capital city this week recommended a ban on medically unnecessary “normalizing” surgeries on children born with intersex variations. This follows the southern state of Tamil Nadu banning such operations in 2019…
The Intersex flag
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New Government Committee Should Include Intersex Perspectives

India’s Tamil Nadu state government has issued an executive order banning medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex variations. “Intersex,” sometimes called “differences of sex development” in medical literature, refers to…
The Intersex flag
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Supreme Court Ruling a Momentous Victory for LGBT People

As a young reporter back in 1991, when I interviewed a senior government official on India’s response to the HIV crisis, I recall him ranting about men who have sex with men for their “perverted” and “criminal” behavior, blaming it all…
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Netherlands Court Cites India, Nepal Cases

A Netherlands district court cited supreme court judgments from India and Nepal when it ruled the Dutch legislature should provide a way for citizens to legally identify as neither male nor female if they prefer. The Supreme…
Bhumika Shrestha, a transgender woman in Nepal, holds her citizenship certificate, which listed her as male in 2011. Nepal legally recognized a third gender category beginning in 2007, but it took Shrestha and other activists and transgender citizens unti
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Revised Legislation Would Secure Legal Recognition

The Indian government will introduce a revised Transgender Persons Bill in the session of parliament beginning March 5. The legislation promises to enshrine the hard-fought battle for legal recognition and access to social services for India’s…
Participants hold placards during a protest demanding an end to what they say is discrimination and violence against the transgender community, in Bengaluru, India October 21, 2016.
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Government Should Now Repeal Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

In a landmark unanimous ruling, India’s Supreme Court said today that the right to individual privacy is an “intrinsic” and fundamental right under the country’s constitution. The court’s 547-page judgment also emphasized the…
Gay rights activists hold placards as they shout slogans during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013.
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New Parliamentary Report Finds Crucial Gaps in Draft Law

“While there is no shame in being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex or even straight,” says Ramesh Bais, a member of parliament from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, “there is most certainly shame and dishonor in…
Participants hold placards during a protest demanding an end to what they say is discrimination and violence against the transgender community, in Bengaluru, India October 21, 2016.
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The list of activists falling victim to efforts by Indian authorities to curb criticism is growing by the day. On June 17, 2016, the government announced that Sabrang Trust – a group run by activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed…
A police van transports some of those convicted in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat, India on June 2, 2016.
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The 15-year-old boy was seen by a neighbor in a park with his male partner. News spread, and teasing and harassment followed. Humiliated, he locked himself in his room for two days. On Sunday, he doused himself with diesel fuel and set himself on fire. "…
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“Everyone has a fundamental right to be recognized in their gender,” the Delhi High Court declared this week in a short but powerful judgment that vindicates the rights of India’s transgender people. The court stepped in to…
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The day after International Human Rights Day, India’s Supreme Court published its ruling on whether the country’s sodomy law, which had been overturned by the Delhi High Court and then appealed, was unconstitutional. I’ve been a lawyer, a judge and a…
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Preventing needless suffering of the terminally ill in India

In January, years of joint advocacy by Human Rights Watch and Indian palliative care groups culminated in the Medical Council of India recognizing palliative care as a specialization of medicine and approving an MD Palliative Care program. Over time, this…
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Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has granted special asylum rights to lesbian and gay Iranians. According to the ministry’s October 18 statement, the decision was motivated by Human Rights Watch’s forthcoming report on serious and systematic abuse…
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Citing Human Rights Watch’s work, Dutch members of parliament successfully pressured Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk not to deport lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) asylum-seekers back to Iran, where they face the threat of torture, ill-…