January 2015, Dublin, Ireland: The country’s health minister Leo Varadkar has just made history by coming out as gay on a live national radio broadcast. “It’s just part of who I am…it is a part of my character,” he says, months before Ireland votes in a landmark referendum to legalise same-sex marriage. January 2015, Panaji, India: Goa youth affairs minister Ramesh Tawadkar has just declared setting up “gay cure” centres to deal with homosexual youth. “We will make them normal. Like Alcoholic Anonymous centres, we will train them and (give them) medicines,” he says. India woke up on Saturday to celebrate the success of Leo Varadkar, the son of a Mumbai doctor who rose to become Ireland’s youngest prime minister. But among the adulations showered on the 38-year-old lies one deliberate omission: The shameful way in which Indian society and political leadership treats it Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) population.
June 3 / Hindustan Times