Vidya Profile picture
Jul 12, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. Today’s #Section377 #PublicHealthHistory thread is about one of India’s first gay rights champion: Siddhartha Gautam (accd to me he's the first)
2. Gautam got involved in the gay rights activism in the US when he went there to study Yale in 1989.

He cofounded ABVA when he came back & published an outlandish pamphlet, which I still find full tilt mental in audacity- Less Than Gay 👇…
3. He came back & set up ABVA – which was the first to petition the court to scrap #Section377. ABVA also successfully got Narasimha Rao’s govt to stall the draconian AIDS prevention Bill, 1989
4. Mildly put, India's policymakers didn’t responded in a constructive manner to the first few HIV cases in the country. The AIDS Bill proposed segregation camps, mandatory testing; health authorities cld forcibly question, test, & isolate an HIV-infected person in a hospital
5. Gautam & a rag tag army of volunteers organized rallies outside the Parliament. Besides LGBTQ people, the first gay rights champions in India were sex workers & lepers (coz, more than anyone else, lepers knew what cruelty can be inflicted in the name of public health)
What Gautam demanded in Less Than Gay was plain crazy for that time. He demanded equal rights 4 years before Mandela passed anti-discrimination laws in South Africa in 1996. 👇🏼
7. Gautam died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, few months after publication of Less Than Gay. With him dead, ABVA didn’t turn up at the hearing for scrapping #Section377. The case was dismissed.
Thankfully, Naz filed a fresh PIL 2 years later.
He was just 29 when he died.

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More from @VidyaKrishnan

Oct 9, 2018
If u consider urself a feminist & havent yet engaged with feminist history/literature/art/cinema (for whatever reason- no judgement) here's a list.

Clearly all of us need to learn & this shld help those looking to brush up on early days of the movement/ or modern day heroes
Ascent of Women (Netflix)
No Men Beyond This Point (Mockumentary)
TED Talk: Adichie - We should all be feminists…
Handmaid's Tale/ Bad Feminist (there are SO MANY BOOKS)
My request is that you regard gender the same way as u do race- its complicated & being a woman or having a sister/daughter or wife dsnt automatically make you a feminist even if you are well intended.
We need to learn about this.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 10, 2018
1. I dont watch tennis & am still not certain how I feel about about the Serene Williams incident.... but since this became about the ‘sisterhood’... #EverydaySexism
2. Of course she behaved badly. We hold our champions to a higher standard. No doubt the 20 yo behaved more maturely than the World Champion. Since Serena’s coach has accepted he was coaching, the fine seems fair too.
3. But does that depose of the original q Serena is trying to ask? (again, this behaviour is not the ideal way to have that conversation). But one cant deny this entire tournament is peppered with sexist behaviour from t-shirt change to what women wear.
Read 5 tweets
Sep 5, 2018
#TB patients are passing the hat around to raise funds for a 31yo girl with drug resistant TB. She is Dr Udwadia's patient at hinduja hosp & needs around Rs 3L ($4000)& has raised Rs58k ($800) so far.

Help a little?

You can read more abt her here:…
Hugs to everyone who has donated so far. We've raised Rs 16,000 ($200) since morning.

Those who haven't yet, check Swati's page. Please donate generously. Every little counts. Thanks @SATB1231
Every week I get desp mails like this from TB patients.

India is to TB what S. Africa was to the HIV epidemic, at the peak of it.

& Indian patients are scrambling for drugs while @PMOIndia promises to eliminate* TB by 2025 #AccessToMedicines
Read 4 tweets
Jul 31, 2018
In this podcast @gidla_sujatha talks about caste, Brahminism & her brilliant book #AntsAmongElephants It is a tough read if you are Brahmin & embarrassable

This book is easily among the best reads for this year. Cant recommend it enough.…
#AntsAmongElephants made me pick up Dr Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. If you haven’t had the chance to read to that seminal, undelivered speech written in 1936, here is a podcast.…
Brahmins on TL: No one expects an apology for what our forefathers did (although its over due) but with the privilege of edu, wealth, & pol power, we ARE expected to tear down this system of apartheid. Its insane & vicious.
Read 4 tweets
Jul 11, 2018
So Atlantic wrote an entire long form to say how third worldy Bhopal still But let Dow Chemicals (now DowDupont) get away with them having nothing new to comment?!
This para is just plain offensive. Bhopal is a result of American corporate crime. And Atlantic thinks its okay to chalk this up to 'lack of understanding" among natives.
I went in hoping the Atlantic would have the MP govt, GoI, &/or Dow giving atleast fresh quotes!
Why bother with that when its enough to tell white people about how sad & poor people in Bhopal are still.
Read 5 tweets
Jul 10, 2018
1. As we get ready to celebrate a huge civil rights victory for LGBTQ community in #India, here is a short thread on the people who sowed the seeds for this day… so we know who to thank #PublicHealthHistory #HIVMovement #Section377
2. In 2002, some 30-odd health workers from Naz Foundation were picked up by cops for counselling gay men. They were booked under #Section377 & obscenity laws. They remained in jail for over a month for basically telling gay men to use condoms! #HIVHistory #India
3. This was also the time of global panic about the HIV epidemic. #Cipla was yet to start rolling out low cost generic anti reterovirals.. so.. prevention was the only intervention. #Section377 #HIVHistory #India
Read 10 tweets

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