• Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is fighting to end a 150-yea-old law criminalising gay sex. (Patricio Murphy, News Free, LatinContent, Getty Images)Source: Patricio Murphy, News Free, LatinContent, Getty Images
“Love transcends gender. Love is beyond gender. And attraction is only a reflection of love, it is a shadow of love, and love is divine,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
By
Stephanie Marie Anderson

24 Aug 2016 - 12:11 PM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2016 - 12:11 PM

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a prominent spiritual leader in India, is campaigning to see the country end a 150-year-old law criminalising gay sex.

In an interview with The Advocate, Shankar calls Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code “an outdated law from the British time." 

“Love transcends gender. Love is beyond gender. And attraction is only a reflection of love, it is a shadow of love, and love is divine,” the Hindu guru says.

This is not the first time Shankar has publicly supported the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2013, he tweeted that Hinduism does not believe that homosexuality is a sin.

The law in question specifically prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal,” and can land people in prison for up to 10 years.

In 2009, it was declared unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court for violating people's fundamental human rights, but was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013, reports The Advocate.

Shankar founded the Art of Living Foundation, which takes inspiration from many religions and spiritual beliefs.

RECOMMENDED
Woman sues Chinese Education Ministry over 2013 textbook describing homosexuality as a "disorder"
After her complaints to the Ministry of Education went ignored, the 21-year-old lesbian student filed a lawsuit requesting that textbooks with derogatory LGBT+ mentions be withdrawn from universities.

“We need to take the good things that religions and traditions teach us and discard others,” he says. “There are some good things in every tradition.”

“We need to have people of all mind-sets overcome prejudice," Shankar says, and he is certainly not alone in his fight for LGBTQIA+ equality. Joining him in the fight against Section 377 are many Indian celebs, as well as diplomats from 27 countries calling for LGBTQIA+ equality in India.

RECOMMENDED

While the fight for rights carries on, Shankar says that the best thing activists can do is stay positive.

“Activists need to keep up the pressure, but at the same time they need inner calm,” he says. “I would like activists to put on a smile.”