Young people in India now have access to revolutionary new information from the country's Health Ministry, CNN reports: A boy can fall in love with a boy, a girl can fall in love with a girl, and that's completely natural.
India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the 'Saathiya' resource kit and mobile app for sexual education to be used by 160,000 kids in India, according to CNN. Included in the kit is a paragraph on sexual desire that says, "Yes, adolescents often fall in love. They may feel attachment for a friend or a person of the opposite or same sex. It is natural to have special feelings for someone."
'Saathiya' resource kit launched today for peer educators under Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram. #SwasthaBharat pic.twitter.com/pkUKyf8GWb— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) February 20, 2017
It may seem like a simple, and obvious, idea to those of us who grew up watching the fight for marriage equality and saw queer people eventually win that fight in the U.S. But let's not forget that even in a country where it's legal for queer people to get married, we still don't teach kids that it's OK to fall in love with someone of the same gender.
But, as amazing as it is for youths in India to grow up knowing that same-gender desire is natural, this is still a small step forward. Sex between two people of the same gender is still illegal in India, and it's not just an outdated law — officials in India renewed the law criminalizing same-gender desire in 2013.
Still, we're glad to know that at least 160,000 kids in India will have access to comprehensive sexual education that includes information about LGBTQ relationships.
"It's about changing behavior, changing thought and changing lifestyles," said C.K. Mishra, the health secretary, at the launch of the resource kit, CNN reports. "If we are successful in doing this, it'll be a huge, huge contribution."