Mumbai, July 7 (IANS) Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's comment that men having sex with men (MSM) is a 'disease' and 'unnatural' has upset the film fraternity. More and more actors, like Bipasha Basu and Nandita Das, are expressing their displeasure over the comments.
Azad clarified his stance Tuesday saying his remarks were out of context, clarifying that while some people say it's unnatural, some say it is natural.
This what the celebs have to say:
Bipasha Basu: Homosexuality cannot be ignored or disrespected! Human beings are entitled to their sexual preference. At a time when the entire world is slowly legalising gay marriages, we in this country at least need to open our eyes and not discriminate against the gay community.
Farhan Akhtar: Azad should apologise for discriminating against Indian citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation. There's no scientific proof to justify his comments. I am surprised he made such a statement.
Juhi Chawla: I used to think that way too. A lot of us are brought up in conservative atmosphere. But as I grew up, I realized gay people possess inherent qualities that have come to them genetically and not as a result of social conditioning. It isn't as though people become gay to be unconventional or rebellious. They are the way they are because that's how they're born.
Nandita Das: I am appalled by the ignorance of the health minister. He is in a position of responsibility, and so his ignorance cannot be overlooked as it sends out wrong messages. In today's day and age where same sex marriage is being legitimised around the world, and our own Delhi High Court has decriminalised homosexuality, I am amazed how ill-informed and insensitive our minister is.
Sohail Khan: This is an entirely individual choice. And we should respect that.
Pooja Bedi: It may be unnatural for him. But very natural for others! (Azad's comments) clearly illustrates the dire need for people with sensitivity, maturity and wisdom to be in positions of authority.
Yana Gupta: How does he know that it is unhealthy? Has he tried it? I believe sex can be beautiful when there is love. And who are we to judge if there can or cannot be love between partners of the same gender? I believe one shouldn't go around passing judgement on something he or she has not experienced.
Chitrangda Singh: There will always be people in all generations who have rigid mentalities. Unfortunately they sometimes hold positions of power. I feel everyone should be allowed their own opinions and beliefs.
Vikram Bhatt: How can something that hundreds of people indulge in be unnatural? It could be unpopular for some, uninteresting for some and unbelievable for others. But unnatural? No chance!
Fardeen Khan: To a heterosexual, homosexuality will never seem natural and vice-versa. The important thing here is nobody has the right to judge or discriminate against anybody on the basis of sexual preference. I'm all for celebrating one's sexuality with pride and dignity.
Pritish Nandy: I am amazed that a man like Azad would say this. It's right out of the 19th century. Next, he will say women should stay at home and cook and that it's unnatural for women to go out and work. In the 21st century, why do we have ministers with the mindset of the 19th?