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Greetings to India – and the way forward

    I was thrilled to read this morning that the Delhi Supreme Court had overturned the colonial law banning consensual homosexual relations. The president of the Indian court, Mr. Deepak Misra, who presided over the five-judge panel, wrote in his decision: The LGBTQ community has the same fundamental rights as citizens. The identity of a person is very important and we have to vanquish prejudice, embrace inclusion and ensure equal rights.”

“Intimacy and privacy is a matter of choice. We have to bid adieu to stereotypes and prejudices.”

     This ruling is the result of a protracted struggle by the LGBT community in India, where homosexuality was until recently considered a crime and a social taboo. Now, says Abhishyant Kidangoor, "India joins 17 Commonwealth nations that have overturned laws criminalizing homosexuality, a legacy left behind in most of these nations by the former British colonial rulers. Homosexuality still remains illegal in 36 Commonwealth countries, including Singapore, Kenya and Sri Lanka."

For much of the period before British rule, homosexuality featured prominently in Indian religious texts and sculptures.

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     According to an article that was published by Abhishyant Kidangoor in the Times, homosexuality appeared prominently in religious texts and Indian statues in the period before the British conquest. The law that made homosexuality a crime was enacted in 1861, and punishes all those who "willingly carry out an animal relationship against nature with any person, woman or animal."

    The author of the article expressed hope that this new ruling will also change the stigma towards HIV-positive people in India. Activists of the LGBT community in India, who have been fighting for this change since 2001, say the next step in their struggle is the demand for equal rights in marriage and property rights.

     As a veteran activist in the LGBT community in Israel, and now, together with my colleague Imri Kalmann, as a co-founder of the LGBT Israeli party, I would like to congratulate the LGBT activists in India for their impressive achievement. We in Israel are happy with your achievement and see you as our brothers and sisters. Many of us feel deep gratitude for the egg donors, surrogates and fertility clinics in India, which have made us proud fathers. I myself am the father of the twins, Michael and Daniel, who were born in India, by the aid of an Indian donor, an Indian surrogate, and dear Dr. Shivani, in New Delhi.

     The decision of the Indian Supreme Court to ban surrogacy abroad for unmarried and / or gay couples and / or individuals in India has caused me great distress and regret. At the same time, an amendment to the surrogacy law, initiated by MK Yael German, was under legislation in Israel, which would limit the age of future parents to 56 and forbid individual surrogacy for those who already have a biological child. However, I had another four frozen fetuses in New Delhi, and I did not want my state to take custody of my fetuses. Thus, I immediately tried another surrogacy cycle in Nepal. Unfortunately, this experience failed. I lost all my fetuses. For me, the result of the legislation in India and Israel against surrogacy is that I cannot bring a brother or sister to my kids, and so do many other men like me.

          Therefore, I ask the LGBT activists in India to include in the goals of your struggle the re-permit ion of surrogacy for unmarried and / or proud couples and / or individuals in India, whether for local or outside community members. Many LGBT members prefer to do surrogacy in India because India is an English-speaking country with a good Western health system. A renewal of surrogacy in India should be supervised, fair to donors and surrogates, those noble Indian women, whose grace made us fathers.

     Bless are you, my friends. May you come to visit Israel, our annual Pride Parade, and enjoy the life of the vibrant community here, and may you achieve the abolition of the prohibition on surrogacy in your country. This will benefit the Indian society and the international LGBT communities as well.

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כתיבה וקריאה הן בעבורי אורח חיים וגם הכרח. אני אדם המגלה את עולמו במלים. התחלתי לכתוב בגיל ארבע-עשרה, ומאז אני כותב שירה וסיפורת, מחזות ותסריטים, ספרי הדרכה בכתיבה ועוד, למבוגרים ולילדים.

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