I'm thrilled that India has finally repealed the colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex, a law imposed by the British during imperial rule. Today, one fifth of the world's population was just freed from this homophobic legal relic. 🏳️‍🌈 🇮🇳 hindustantimes.com/india-news/on-…
The social and legal status of LGBTQ people in India is incredibly complicated and nuanced - so, naturally, it's often misunderstood by people in the US and Europe.
In addition to being absolutely massive - larger than the US and Europe combined - India is a very heterogeneous society, so it's impossible to describe it all at once. A country of one billion people cannot be discussed as a monolith.
Until today, there was a law on the books in India that made gay sex a criminal offense. This law, imposed during British rule, was rarely enforced.

This was similar to laws that existed in many other countries - like Germany, Australia, Iceland, and the UK - through the 1990s.
For pedants following this thread: England and Wales may have repealed anti-sodomy ("buggery") laws in 1967, but it only covered two adult men when nobody else was present. And even that was, by the books, illegal in Jersey and the Isle of Man until 1990 and 1992, respectively.
For pedants and tankies following this thread: East Germany decriminalized homosexuality in 1968, and West Germany relaxed enforcement in 1969, but the laws stayed on the books (and people kept being convicted) until after reunification, in 1994. nytimes.com/2016/05/12/wor…
Of course, we're *just* talking about the criminal status of consensual, private gay sex itself. We're not talking about laws which make it illegal to "promote homosexuality", which existed in parts of England until 2004 (and which exist in Russia today). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_28
As an aside, you might be wondering why imperial powers are so afraid of gay sex. There are a lot of reasons, but it pretty much boils down to this:

Gay sex represents an existential threat to the patriarchy.
Gay sex - specifically between two men - provides a context in which patriarchal concepts of ownership and gender-based dominance are challenged. Gay sex exposes the fatal, logical flaw in patriarchy. Since imperialism and patriarchy are intertwined, once you remove that....
Lesbian sex wasn't viewed the same way, because

(a) lesbian sex doesn't prevent women from "belonging" to a man, and
(b) under patriarchy, lesbian sex didn't count as sex, because there was no penis (penetration) involved

...yeah, it's silly. But that's what patriarchy is.
So, that's why anti-sodomy laws throughout Europe (and the colonies they imposed these laws on) focused specifically on sex between gay men. (Queer people of all identities were oppressed in many ways, of course, but reading the texts, it's clear *these* laws targeted men.)
If you're interested, there's a lot of queer theory and research that explains the way queer people who weren't men fit (or didn't) into pre-Stonewall European society. Particularly for cis lesbians, it's fascinating to see how things ebbed and flowed - change wasn't monotonic!
Bringing it back to India: the anti-sodomy laws in India have been enforced very rarely, especially since 2009, when the first court ruling was issued against the laws.
As is the case everywhere - from the US to Europe to India - selective enforcement means that oppression still exists, but it also provides space for some queer people to develop communities and cultures.
Queer communities and cultures in India aren't new. They existed long before colonial rule in India! ("Queer" is an anachronism, because queerness requires a capital-M Modern hegemon against which to rebel, but it's the closest term we have).
Before colonial rule, there are records of Hindus in India practicing marriages between two men (and citing the Vedas as endorsing them, to boot!).

Before colonial rule, there are records of a variety of gender roles people practiced, with varying levels of social acceptance.
And, of course, if India is not a monolith now, it certainly wasn't in precolonial times either. So these weren't universal experiences queer people had. But they're the ones that have been erased, and that's why it's essential to focus on them.
When we talk about the repeal of #Section377, we need to talk about it in the context in which it originated - colonial rule. Which means that, to understand LGBTQ society in India today, we need to understand LGBTQ history from pre-colonial India as well.
When you take the long view like this, it's easier to understand why gay sex (between men) was technically a criminal offense in India until today, and yet many gay men in India live their lives openly and march in the annual LGBTQ Pride parades in their hometowns and cities.
When you take a long view like this, it's easier to understand why transgender people in India face discrimination and other risks, and yet at the same time, many of the first openly transgender elected officials in the entire world were elected in India.
For a long time, people in the US and Europe assumed #Section377 meant that there is no queer life in India. Which isn't true at all. Queer people all over the world, including India, face challenges, but there have always been thriving queer communities in India.
The repeal of #Section377 is but one more victory against colonial-era heteropatriarchal values. It's a major victory for LGBTQ Desis, and an important step towards making queer life accessible to queer people across India.

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Sep 19, 2018
Ironically, in Hindu mythology. the donkey is the vehicle ridden by one of the forms of the goddess Durga. She not only represents the vanquishing power of good over evil, but also is a feminist icon and the most metal deity in all of mythology. http://www.newsindiatimes.com/some-indian-americans-cry-foul-about-use-of-lord-ganesh-in-political-ad-gop-apologizeshttp://www.newsindiatimes.com/some-indian-americans-cry-foul-about-use-of-lord-ganesh-in-political-ad-gop-apologizes
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She basically says, "I could slay your enemies for you, but I'm relaxing in the tub right now, so no."
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Jun 26, 2018
Today's SCOTUS ruling on the Muslim Ban is ghastly. I have literally been at a loss for words on how to talk about it.

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If you are white and want to talk about the SCOTUS ruling, or about racism and Islamophobia in the US more generally, there are two fundamental principles:

1. Center the victims and marginalized people, not yourself

2. Stay in your lane
The SCOTUS decision is bad for many reasons. Among them, it establishes one point: a law that is clearly targeted at a specific race/religion is constitutional as long as the text of the law doesn't mention it.

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Jun 23, 2018
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Let's be entirely clear... my outfit tonight is the sort of thing that would not be considered... high fashion. The significance of him complimenting me (in Bengali, no less) on my outfit was not lost on me.
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The other two passengers were idly checking their phones, completely unaware.
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If you'd asked me a few weeks ago whether I preferred squash-merges or merge commits, I'd have been somewhat ambivalent.

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Most of the drawbacks of squash commits in Git can be alleviated with other supporting tooling.

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One common problem: merge commits often bring branches with temporary commits that don't build or pass tests.

Yes, it's possible to rebase these away before merging. In practice, people often don't. And tools generally don't require passing tests on intermediate commits.
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