Bollywood star and gay rights activist Celina Jaitley has said that laws banning gay sex in India are out of touch with public opinion.

The Indian government is to hold talks on repealing the country’s colonial laws on gay sex.

The outspoken actress said: “It’s high time we wake up and accept homosexuality. I’m very happy that our new, young government has woken up and wants to repeal this law… This shows the new modern face of India to the new world.

“Being a homosexual, you aren’t professionally less; people’s nature shouldn’t be judged according to their sexuality.”

Section 377 was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj, in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at the time.

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.

It was challenged in the High Court in Delhi last year. Now India’s home and health ministers will hold meetings with the law minister to discuss its repeal.
While the home ministry maintains that gay sex is the product of “a perverse mind”, the health ministry is calling for the repeal to help fight the spread of HIV.

Earlier this year, Jaitley revealed she had received hate mail after openly supporting gay rights.

At the time, she said: 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 homosexuality, is amended,” she added.

She has been subject to rumours about her own sexuality, but said: “If I have to explain such things, my cause loses relevance.”