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‘Favorable political scenario for decriminalizing homosexuality’

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source: ibnlive

New Delhi: AP Shah, Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, who had decriminalized homosexuality, said on Saturday that the Supreme Court overturning his verdict was a “mistake” and added that the current political climate was favorable for a rreconsiderationof the issue.

Justice Shah said that the pending curative petition to decriminalize Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) would give the SC a chance to rectify its “mistake” which it had failed to correct in the review petition.

Section 377 of the IPC prohibits consensual sexual intercourse between people of the same sex.

The judge criticized the top court for its decision to “criminalize the existence of a class of people who are now condemned to live in shadow of fear”.

“Today, the Supreme Court has the opportunity (while hearing curative petition) to correct the mistake it made… and redeem its glorious status as protector of fundamental rights,” he said.

Recently, the SC decision to retain Section 377 also came under fire from senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley and P Chidambaram of Congress, who are both leading lawyers.

The political climate is not averse to the idea of change as many think it to be. When Naaz foundation judgment came, the then Law Minister Veerappa Moily favored striking down section 377 of IPC although he later called for a consensus on the issue,” stated Justice Shah.

“Lately, Arun Jaitley of BJP and P Chidambaram of Congress publicly criticized the Supreme Court judgment and said that laws criminalizing homosexuality need a re-think. Congress, Left and AAP have taken a clear stand on section 377,” added Justice Shah, who retired in 2010.

Shah added that the notion of the LGBT population being a minority is also a misconception of the court.

“There are studies that in a human population, the conservative number of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender persons is about 2 per cent. If you put in correct perspective, this is greater in number than Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis. How do you decide who is part of the minuscule minority that is worthy of being protected?” he said while speaking at the ninth Justice VM Tarkunde Memorial Lecture.

According to Justice Shah, the main question to be placed in front of the court was whether a person’s dignity and ability should be judged on the basis of his/her sexual preference.

“Why should someone’s fundamental life choices conditioned by other people’s prejudice, ignorance, and stigmatization? Why should a sizable population of Indians be treated as criminals simply for accepting who they are,” he said.

The judge also added that policymakers in India believed that the concept of homosexuality was imported from the West and doesn’t have any roots in India.

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Know Why Gay and Bisexual Men are at a Risk of Developing Skin Cancer

Gay, bisexual men more likely to suffer skin cancer

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Gay men cancer
Gay men are more likely to suffer skin cancer than straight men. Pixabay

Gay and bisexual men are more likely to suffer skin cancer than straight men, according to a study. This is the latest health and lifestyle news.

According to the researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, rates of skin cancer were higher among gay and bisexual men compared to heterosexual men but lower among bisexual women than heterosexual women.

Rates of skin cancer were 8.1 per cent among gay men and 8.4 per cent among bisexual men, statistically higher than the rate of 6.7 percent among heterosexual men.

Smaller studies have reported higher usage of indoor tanning beds among sexual minority men, a known risk factor for skin cancer.

Gay men cancer
The researchers compared skin cancer rates among heterosexual men to rates in gay or bisexual men and compared rates among heterosexual women to lesbian or bisexual women. Pixabay

“It’s absolutely critical that we ask about sexual orientation and gender identity in national health surveys; if we never ask the question, we’d never know that these differences exist,” said corresponding author Arash Mostaghimi from the Brigham.

For the findings, published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, the research team lveraged data from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), using data collected from annual questionnaires from 2014 to 2018.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses the BRFSS to collect information about risk factors and behaviors among adults. About 450,000 adults are interviewed by telephone by the BRFSS each year.

The researchers compared skin cancer rates among heterosexual men to rates in gay or bisexual men and compared rates among heterosexual women to lesbian or bisexual women.

Skin cancer rates were 5.9 per cent among lesbian women and 6.6 per cent among heterosexual women, which was not a statistically significant difference.

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However, the rate of 4.7 per cent among bisexual women was statistically significantly lower than heterosexual women.

The BRFSS survey did not collect information about risk factors for skin cancer, such as UV exposure, Fitzpatrick skin type (a measure of skin color and susceptibility to sun burn), HIV status and more. (IANS)