special reports

Why Is This Indian TV Network Cruising PlanetRomeo.com And Exposing Its Gay Users?

That gay men use websites like PlanetRomeo.com to find sex isn’t news — but that didn’t stop India’s TV9 Telugu from undertaking a special investigative report to out the site’s users in a segment called “Gay Culture Rampant in Hyd,” going so far as to exchange messages and record phone conversations with the site’s cruisers, and then broadcast their conversations. While being gay and having gay sex in India is no longer a crime, that doesn’t mean everyone accepts it. And hey, maybe it’s sweeps week or something!

According to an English translation of the report (PDF here), the reporter relays: “A boy trying to pursue Girls is Common but Boys pursuing Boys has become a Fashion Gay Culture in Hyderabad is increasing drastically. All the gay men in Hyderabad go to clubs or pubs once every week or ten days to celebrate. They Drink and Dance with whomever they want.” A club appears on screen, and the reporter adds: “This is 3 star pub in Secunderabad where software employees, rich kids and students party on weekends but there is a specialty to this party the people you see in the video drunk dancing are Gay. Having got to know about the Gay Parties the TV 9 team went to investigate and found the truth. Meeting, drinking and partying like this on weekends has become a ritual to the gay men in this city. Taking private party permission as an excuse all the gay men unite and party. It might sound astonishing to hear but this is the reality. There are also very popular websites for gay men in the internet Planetromeo.com is the most famous website amongst others. The numbers of users from Andra Pradesh in this site are 6,500 out of which 4,604 are from Hyderabad alone, who login, message, chat, meet and celebrate using this site. Any given times there are about 200 users online on the site from the city. Software employees and students are most users who fall prey to this GAY CULTURE. Sexy pictures, fashionable clothes, thrilling behavior and being able to communicate properly are the weapons used by a gay man to attract another gay Man. The picture that you see is of Person (D) who happens to be a software engineer who has taken sexy pictures of himself and uploaded on the site to attract other gay men. [Photo changes] The guy in this picture is Person (R) who is a student at JNTU University who lives in the dormitory. TV9 has trapped Person (R) after having seen the pictures and contact information that he uploaded on the profile.”

As you can imagine, the local gays aren’t pleased. And no wonder: While nobody should expect much privacy if they post identifying information and photos about themselves online, few expect those pictures to wind up on a televised newscast where they’re branded as disgusting, morally bankrupt sickos.

UPDATE: At least one man identified in the segment has attempted suicide, while others say they are already being victimized in the work place and are hiding from their families.