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LGBTs were prevalent in ancient India: Raveena Tandon

Raveena Tondon

Mumbai: Advocating equal rights for all, Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon on Monday said lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgenders (LGBTs) were prevalent in ancient India and added that she there is no need for a debate on criminalising or decriminalising the community.

“If you go through the Indian history, LGBTs have always been prevalent. So where has it come from that they have to be criminalised or decriminalised. I don’t know where that started in the first place,” said Raveena at the launch of the Health magazine cover featuring her.

“For me they are human beings. It’s their freedom of choice, what they want to do and where they want to be,” she added.

The Supreme Court is set to announce its verdict on Tuesday regarding the controversial section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises consensual sexual acts of the LGBTs.

The Delhi high court had offered hope for the community by decriminalising the section 377 in 2009 — a verdict which was discarded by the Supreme Court in 2013.

“I have a different take on it. I have lots of friends who are gay and are happily gay, proudly gay and not hiding it. I don’t know how it has gone into this zone (legal aspects) at all because ultimately everyone’s a human being,” she said.

The LGBT community has been battling since the 2013 Supreme Court verdict to get it reversed with numerous activists, NGOs and individuals working for it. A batch of eight curative petitions filed by individuals and organisations are set to be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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