Panaji, the capital of the Indian state of Goa
A minister in the Indian state of Goa has denied that there are plans to open AA-style rehab centres to “cure” LGBT youth.
On Monday it was reported that Goa’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Ramesh Tawadkar, said: “We will make them normal. We will have a centre for them. Like Alcoholic Anonymous centres, we will have centres. We will train them and (give them) medicines too.”
He reportedly made the comments at the launch of the state’s 2015 Goa Youth Policy.
The news made international headlines and outraged LGBT rights activists in India and around the world, leading Tawadkar to claim that the media got it all wrong.
“I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths,” he said.
According to Newkerala.com, his boss, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, dismissed the LGBT rehab plans and said that sexual orientation is something natural that does not need to be “fixed”.
“It is a natural thing. [If he has said so] he could be ignorant then,” Parsekar commented about Tawadkar’s alleged earlier statements. “What would be the government stand? It is a natural thing,” he insisted.
Homosexuality is nevertheless illegal in India following a December 2013 Supreme Court of India ruling reinstating a colonial-era law criminalising gay sex. It was recently revealed that almost 600 people have been arrested under the law over the past year.