AIDS chief stresses importance of positive media respresentation of LGBT Indians

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The man leading the fight against HIV and AIDS in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has said that the media should reject sensationalist reporting when dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues.

R V Chandravadan, the State AIDS Control Society Project Director, said that more than 500,000 people in the state are infected, a “large number” of them men who have sex with men, but “it is pushed under the carpet.”

Last month Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality on the grounds that it violated the constitutional rights.

The move was met with hostility from the country’s conservative and religious groups and was challenged at the country’s Supreme Court by self-styledHindu astrologer Sushil Kumar Kaushal and yoga guru Swami Baba Ramdev.

The Supreme Court refused to give a ruling on the decision and instead left it to the government to decide. No ruling has been given as of yet by the Indian government and the contentious issue has sparked fierce debate within the country.

Mr Chandravadan said that the media should use terms such as men who have sex with men instead of gay, and avoid words like scourge, prostitute or drug user.

“The talk is often about going against the order of nature,” he said in a speech at the National Public Relations
Education Day, according to

“The media has to articulate the concerns of groups that have no voice.

“I am happy to note that the national media is slowly getting sensitised to the issue of how to report on sexual minorities, but stringers at the district level still use loaded terms in their reportage.”

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