Gay boy raped by mother to “cure” his homosexuality

Delhi Gay Pride parade participants (Pic: Aditya Bondyopadhyay)

Delhi Gay Pride parade participants (Pic: Aditya Bondyopadhyay)

Reports of horrific incidents of so-called corrective rape in India have come to light, including one in which a mother raped her gay teenage son to “cure him”.

According to the Times of India, the particularly disturbing episode was reported by filmmaker Deepthi Tadanki who researched the subject for an upcoming film.

“I came across two gut wrenching stories of corrective rape — one, where a gay girl was raped by her cousin so that she could be ‘cured’ of homosexuality; and another, where family members forced a gay boy to have sex with his mother, in a bid to turn him ‘straight,'” said Deepthi.

The term corrective rape first emerged in South Africa to describe incidents in which lesbian women were raped to “turn them straight” or to punish them for not fitting the norm in terms of their sexuality or gender appearance.

The group LGBT Collective in the southern Indian state of Telangana told the newspaper that it had received 15 corrective rape reports in the last five years, but that these could be the tip of the iceberg.

Shockingly, many of the cases involve family members, including parents, who arrange the rape of the victim by a relative in a misguided and brutal bid to convert them to heterosexuality.

“Victims find it traumatising to speak of their brothers/ cousins turning rapists and prefer to delete the incident from their memories and cut off ties with their families. Which is why such cases almost never get reported,” said the group’s Vyjayanti Mogli.

“It’s usually a cousin who’s roped in for this ‘project,'” explained Mogli.

“In some communities in South India, marriages amongst cousins are common. Many times, a girl’s parents may decide that she would be married off to a cousin (i.e. her father’s sister’s son or mother’s brother’s son) soon after her birth. Now, if this girl happens to be queer and if it is found out that she is in a relationship with another girl, elders in the family believe having sex with the ‘would-be’, even if it’s forcibly, will cure her.”

The taboo surrounding homosexuality in India is perpetuated by the country’s continued criminalisation of same-sex relationships.

The country has come under fire from the United Nations and human rights groups around the world for the ban, which carries penalties including life imprisonment. The law was struck down in 2009 by the Delhi High Court, but reinstated in December 2013 by the Supreme Court of India.

In April, Mr Gay India was forced to drop out of the 2015 Mr Gay World contest after he and his family received threats from the community. Shortly after, 23-year-old television actress Disha Ganguly committed suicide, reportedly because her family refused to accept her relationship with another woman.

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