MSM numbers rise, but they keep to themselves in Tricity

Published: November 1, 2011

CHANDIGARH: The number of men having sex with men (MSMs) has constantly been growing in the Tricity. Having reached the 17,000 mark this year as compared to 12,000 in 2010, they like to keep to their own small world.

However, they enjoy the company of other men with the same sexual orientation during the secretly-held monthly gatherings at resorts on the outskirts of the city.

While revealing this to TOI, a senior HIV-AIDS activist associated with a city-based NGO, Ashwani Kumar said, "The number of these socially-neglected people has definitely grown in the last one year. They have now started contacting like-minded people through social networking sites and common friends’ e-mail addresses. Last week, they had organized an exclusive get-together at a Zirakpur-based hotel where they shared their experiences over wine and exotic food."

Incidentally, Kumar has been working on an extensive survey on the lifestyles of the MSMs for the last two months in different areas of the Tricity. He has talked to such men coming from different strata and different surroundings including slums, hostels and paying guest accomodations. " We found that more and more people have started talking about their feelings about having a relationship with people of their own gender.

During the survey, we found that these people belong to different backgrounds – from the lower strata to high-flying corporate officials amongst others,"revealed Kumar.

Speaking to TOI, Ashotosh, an MSM from Panchkula, said, "When we are getting economically-empowered, why can’t we move ahead and lead the kind of life we have been wanting for long? With the change in the mindset of people around us, we have started looking towards a ‘particular culture’ as well."

Delving into the reasons behind the growing number of MSMs, another Tricity social activist and a key member of the survey, Dr Avnish Jolly said, "During our conversations with a large group of people, we have found that a wider global acceptance and lack of people of the opposite sex willing to indulge in natural sex are major reasons for the young opting for this orientation. "

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