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Hi Heather, thanks for your comments, I would just like to add that it is not a simple West vs. everyone else issue. For instance, the anti-gay legislation that exists in countries like India (where I come from) dates back to British colonial times. While homophobia exists in greater or lesser degree among all the communities, the Indian rulers did not legislate against it. There is also no record of any convictions in the post-Independence era, though gay people unfortunately suffer harassment from police and the public. You can easily find gay clubs through Google, e.g: Activists are working to get this outmoded legislation overturned. It is also pertinent to note that white gay and lesbian groups may also discriminate against gay and lesbian people (and everyone else) from ethnic minority groups. My Asian gay friends say that Indian/Asian gay men are not considered attractive, though lesbians may be. I am not gay but I have had to deal with the same prejudices and stereotypes from them as from straight white people. No culture or community is homogeneous and it is important to keep this always in mind. I am aware that my views and experiences are tailored by the fact that both in India and here in Australia my beliefs and practices are shaped not just by my 'culture' but also the fact that I have mixed and worked with liberal activist groups in both India and Australia. I should also add that gay friends from white, Western backgrounds say they would be far more reticent about disclosing their sexual orientation in regional and rural as I said in the beginning it is not a simple Western vs. 'others'. Incidentally, most CALD groups are Western in origin: British, Dutch, German, Greek, Italian, former Yugoslavia etc. etc. The 'visible' minorities are yet but a fraction of the total CALD population.
Indrani Ganguly