Bollywood star Celina Jaitley has been the target of hate mail after expressing support for the gay community.

The Indian actress and Miss Universe finalist appeared at the relaunch of gay magazine Bombay Dost and has been a vocal supporter of gay rights in the past.

After her appearance, she said she found her inbox overflowing with abusive emails, some of which suggested she was a lesbian.

Speaking at the launch, she said: “It saddens me that people have so much hatred towards sexual minorities and people who show them support. It’s also unfortunate that people have not stopped their hatred against the gay community but have only learnt to mask it.”

According to the Times of India, the actress has shrugged off the hate mail, saying she will be “even more aggressive” in her campaign now.

“I’ve always championed gay and transgender rights since I entered modelling at 16. Today, if my association with the gay community is drawing so much attention, it’s only because I’m a star. I will not rest until Article 377, which looks down upon homsexuality, is amended,” she added.

On the subject of her own sexuality, she said: “I’m not here to explain my sexual orientation. If I have to explain such things, my cause loses relevance.”

Article 377 is a colonial-era law which bans “unnatural sex” in India. It punishes anyone who “voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” by imprisonment and criminalises a whole range of sexual acts from mutual masturbation, to fellatio and anal sex.