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Vidya @VidyaKrishnan
, 8 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. Today’s #Section377 #PublicHealthHistory thread is about one of India’s first gay rights champion: Siddhartha Gautam (accd to me he's the first)
2. Gautam got involved in the gay rights activism in the US when he went there to study Yale in 1989.

He cofounded ABVA when he came back & published an outlandish pamphlet, which I still find full tilt mental in audacity- Less Than Gay 👇…
3. He came back & set up ABVA – which was the first to petition the court to scrap #Section377. ABVA also successfully got Narasimha Rao’s govt to stall the draconian AIDS prevention Bill, 1989
4. Mildly put, India's policymakers didn’t responded in a constructive manner to the first few HIV cases in the country. The AIDS Bill proposed segregation camps, mandatory testing; health authorities cld forcibly question, test, & isolate an HIV-infected person in a hospital
5. Gautam & a rag tag army of volunteers organized rallies outside the Parliament. Besides LGBTQ people, the first gay rights champions in India were sex workers & lepers (coz, more than anyone else, lepers knew what cruelty can be inflicted in the name of public health)
What Gautam demanded in Less Than Gay was plain crazy for that time. He demanded equal rights 4 years before Mandela passed anti-discrimination laws in South Africa in 1996. 👇🏼
7. Gautam died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, few months after publication of Less Than Gay. With him dead, ABVA didn’t turn up at the hearing for scrapping #Section377. The case was dismissed.
Thankfully, Naz filed a fresh PIL 2 years later.
He was just 29 when he died.
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