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Fire in Their Hearts
Newindpress.com, India, 5/31/2008
Christy and Rukmini of Chennai were lovers for 10 years. Their poignant end, according to activists, brings the number of reported lesbian suicides in Tamil Nadu up to eight in the past five months. This comes in the backdrop of Delhi High Court hearing a petition seeking the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises sexual activity by same-sex partners.
Societies all over the world struggle - both legally and morally - to define the age that young people can legally consent to sex. It is an issue complicated by religion, politics and culture. In Asia, the laws defining ages of consent for both genders are varied and complex.
It has almost become the norm in Mumbai`s public hospitals that the patients going in for surgery are made to undergo an HIV test. But few know that this is a violation of guidelines laid down by the National Aids Control Organisation.
For sex workers, fighting social stigma and discrimination is a big challenge. Unlike in the olden days where society accepted them as part of the social structure and gave them a respected place, sex workers today are harassed and looked down upon, and more often exploited.