HIV outreach workers are venturing into new territory in India: they’re specifically searching for gay people. Here’s The Times of India‘s awkward explanation:
Guess what hundreds of social workers in the field of HIV, AIDS awareness in the city are working on these days? They are actually learning some of the basic knowledge about how to identify gays.
Rumor has it that activists are keeping their eyes peeled for feathers, boas and other signs of fabulosity. One activist described the quest as “learning the trick of the trade”.
While benevolent homo hunting has been part and parcel of Western HIV programs for years, homosexuality technically remains illegal in India, where conservative politicians refuse to overturn the colonial era Section 377. Homosexuality remains so taboo in some regions that NGOs are simply refusing to find flamers. Said one social worker:
There are some organisations which admitted that they would prefer to back out from such projects. Their argument is that they would not like to directly interact with sex workers or gays instead of target groups including youths.
Kudos, then, to those sane and rational enough to realize that there’s no room for discrimination when dealing with a pandemic plague.