India, Asia

India is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country, and the largest democracy in the world. It has the world's twelfth largest economy at market exchange rates and the fourth largest in purchasing power. Economic reforms have transformed it into the second fastest growing large economy; however, it still suffers from high levels of poverty.

Homosexuality in India is generally considered a taboo subject by both Indian civil society and the government. Scholars differ in their views of the position of homosexuality within India's main religious traditions. There have been arguments that homosexuality was both prevalent and accepted in ancient Hindu society. Since 2001 a major legal challenge was mounted against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised homosexuality. The Delhi High Court ruled in favor of decriminalisation on 2nd July 2009. This ruling had the effect of making homosexuality legal across India. However many religious and fundamentalist groups have challenged the judgement in the Supreme Court, and a final judgement from the Supreme Court is pending as of 2011.  Also see: Islam and Homosexuality

 

News & Reports:

 

Hundreds join pride march in India, where gay sex is illegal

Hundreds of gay rights activists and supporters, many wearing colorful costumes and holding balloons, marched through India’s capital on Sunday in celebration but also defiance in a nation that continues to outlaw homosexual acts. As people chanted and marched to the beat of drums during New Delhi’s 10th annual Queer Pride march, many said they… Read more »

India’s Supreme Court affirms basic human rights for gay people

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that gay people have a right to live in private, putting the future of the country’s anti-gay law in doubt. Homosexuality is illegal in India under Section 377 of the penal code, which is based on outdated British colonial law. The century-old law was brought back into effect by a court… Read more »

To reduce stigma, metro in Kerala, India hires transgender workers

One of southern India’s most popular tourist spots set an international precedent this week while also laying bare South Asia’s convoluted history with gender politics by giving 23 jobs on its new metro system to transgender people. The crew will start working at the metro’s ticket counters and on housekeeping teams in the city of… Read more »

Indian train network makes history by employing transgender workers

An initiative offering jobs to a handful of members of Kerala’s hijra community aims to tackle prejudice and bring transgender people into the mainstream They used to beg on India’s train network, but this month, for the first time, transgender women will have proper jobs, serving passengers and selling tickets in the south Indian city… Read more »

India passes ‘historic’ equality law for people with HIV or AIDS

India has passed a “historic” law ensuring equal rights for people with HIV or AIDS. The Parliament in New Delhi unanimously passed The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, which outlaws discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda called the legislation “historic,” adding that it showed the government “stands committed for… Read more »

Royal Prince of India calls for decriminalisation of homosexuality

A royal prince of India has called for the country to decriminalise homosexuality. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil made global headlines when he came out as gay in 2007 on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He’s now campaigning for the country to end its historic anti-gay sex rules. Speaking at the Nagpur pride march, Prince Gohil said… Read more »

Gay prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is on the front line of India’s war against AIDS

New Delhi: From setting up his own charity to hanging condoms on trees, Manvendra Singh Gohil has dedicated himself to fighting the scourge of AIDS since coming out 10 years ago as India’s first openly gay royal. A member of a royal warrior clan and heir apparent to the throne of Rajpipla in deeply conservative… Read more »

Terminal Love: A gutsy gay love story from the pulsating heart of Mumbai Kindle Edition

Intro: A new gay novel about love in Mumbai, by Vicky Arora: two men separated by age, class, and religious faith, find the love they yearn for in each other. This is their true story of braving all odds through the ups and downs in their lives.  What survives is their unconditional acceptance, unwavering commitment,… Read more »

India opens first school for transgender pupils

A residential school for transgender people has been opened in the Indian city of Kochi, to help adults who dropped out of school finish their education. Transgender people can face judgement and hostility in India, and around half of them fail to complete their schooling as a result. Sahaj International is the first school of… Read more »

This gay Indian couple have made a photo book of Delhi’s LGBT community after the recriminalisation of homosexuality

The London-based artists compare India’s recriminalisation of homosexuality to ‘post-Brexit, or post-Trump’ Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh say their eyes met across the room at a HIV conference in Delhi, which they used to call home before moving to London. Sunil, in his sixties, has witnessed the shift in attitudes towards same-sex relationships in India… Read more »

India arrested hundreds last year under colonial-era anti-gay law

Hundreds of people were arrested last year under India’s Colonial era anti-gay law. Homosexuality is illegal in India under freshly-reinstated Section 377 of the penal code, originally based on outdated British law. The century-old law was brought back into effect by India’s Supreme Court in 2013, outlawing “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. The… Read more »

Queer life undercover in South Asia

We Were Lounging on oversized floor cushions in my parents’ living room in Karachi when my friend Ali Mehdi Zaidi told me he was moving to London. The talented photographer said he couldn’t stand living as a gay man in Pakistan, where the gay scene was too focused on one-night stands, abuse, and subterfuge. He… Read more »

India’s Supreme Court refuses to hear petition against gay sex ban

India’s Supreme Court has refused to hear a petition challenging a law criminalising gay sex. India’s Supreme Court refused to hear a petition challenging Section 377, India’s penal code, which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” The court’s decision is a major setback for LGBT rights activists… Read more »

Sexual identity and behavior in an online sample of Indian men who have sex with men

Abstract Indian men who have sex with men are disproportionately impacted by HIV. While prevention efforts to date have focused on men who visit drop-in centers or physical cruising sites, little is known about men who are meeting sexual partners on virtual platforms. This paper explores issues related to sexual identity and sexual behaviors in… Read more »

See how India’s transgender community celebrated Hinduism’s biggest festival

The transgender Indian community — called hijras — have been a part of Indian society and culture since ancient times, but they remain largely on its margins, as beggars, street performers or sex workers. Although India’s Supreme Court officially recognized transgender people as a third gender in 2014, they are continuing to fight for acceptance,… Read more »

India finally has a gay marriage bureau!

An NRI has established India’s first avenue where gays can find their soulmate. The Supreme Court’s decision to criminalize homosexuality has not deferred India to have its first marriage bureau for homosexuals. An NRI has established India’s first avenue where gays can find their soulmate. The bureau will help them find the right match, both… Read more »

Dreaming of Gay Rights in Delhi

New Delhi — Danish Sheikh’s life has mirrored India’s tortuous relationship with gay rights. In 2011, when he was a young lawyer, he held a placard at the Bangalore Pride March that read: “Elizabeth Taylor had eight husbands. I just want one.” That lightheartedness was part of the spirit of a happier time. In 2009,… Read more »

India rejects bill to decriminalise gay sex… again

Politicians in India have voted down a bill that would decriminalise gay sex for the second time in three months. Activists have been battling to remove Section 377, the country’s colonial-era anti-gay law, which was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013. However, the cause has failed to pick up steam in Parliament, and activists… Read more »

Thousands March To Protest India’s Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

More than 7,000 people participated in Mumbai’s annual Pride March. Organized by the Queer Azaadi Mumbai collective, marchers stepped off at Tardeo’s August Kranti Maidan, a park in central Mumbai, and wound their way through the streets of Mumbai, the Times of India reported. The marchers were united in their opposition to a law that… Read more »

India’s Supreme Court Will Reexamine Law Banning Gay Sex

India’s Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would reexamine its decision upholding a law that criminalizes gay sex. In 2009 – just days after gay activists staged Gay Pride parades in several cities for the first time – the Delhi High Court of India declared intercourse between two consenting members of the same sex legal.… Read more »

LGBTI taxi service launched in India

India’s first taxi service run by LGBT was announced in Mumbai last week. Wings Rainbow, a radio taxi service launched by Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust, hopes to empower members of the LGBT community by providing a dignified livelihood. The service is launching with three transgender women drivers and two gay men. They will undergo… Read more »

India judge: It was a ‘mistake’ to recriminalise homosexuality

A prominent former judge in India has hit out at the decision to re-criminalise homosexuality in the country. Justice Ajit Prakash Shah was serving as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court at the time of a landmark 2009 case, which led to the country’s colonial era sodomy law being thrown out. Justice Shah ruled that… Read more »

Watch: Delhi pride parade

Organisers said that while they celebrated growing acceptance of LGBT in the country they also wanted to highlight ongoing discrimination. Harsh Aggarwal, who runs a digital marketing company in New Delhi, said that there has been progress, though it has come slowly. “But it’s happening,” he said. “There are more people who are coming out… Read more »

Dhanak – A Queer Group from JNU

Dhanak – A Queer Group from JNU Yesterday at 1:21am · Edited · All we do is ‘Hullad’ – JNU wallahs at the 8th Delhi Queer Pride smile emoticon THE RAINBOW BRIGADE! ?#?pride4azadi? Delhi queer pride parade 2015 part 15 Raat ko 12 baje delhi mein hullad hua YouTube.Com Dhanak – A Queer Group from… Read more »

Gay rights activists celebrate degree of gains in India as they march in New Delhi parade

New Delhi – Hundreds of gay rights activists danced to drum beats and held colorful balloons as they marched in a parade in New Delhi on Sunday, celebrating what they call the diversity of gender and sexuality. Organizers said that while the gay pride parade celebrated the gains India’s LGBT community has made in recent… Read more »

Indian minister says country’s gay sex ban needs to be ‘reconsidered’

Arun Jaitley says India cannot simply ‘nudge off’ its LGBT community. India’s finance minister has spoken out against the harsh laws criminalising gay sex in the country. Arun Jaitley says that the country must reconsider the “conservative” ruling made by the Supreme Court in 2013, as it ignores the needs of “millions of people” across… Read more »

HIV on the wane but high risk groups still cause for concern

Mumbai: When World AIDS Day is observed across the globe on December 1, India will enter the third—and perhaps the most perplexing—decade of its HIV/AIDS epidemic. The first 29 years were marked with victory as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) metamorphosed from being the deadliest word in public health to just another chronic disease such… Read more »

In Mumbai, a Community Struggling to Be Born

You Could Be on Oxford Street, or anywhere else in the world’s large cities where young gay men congregate. But the four immaculately styled men, clearly gay, are sitting in an old Irani café in Mumbai, perched on creaking mahogany chairs atop a linoleum floor, under ceiling fans and old posters from Indian Railways on… Read more »

Chennai, India reports 16 LGBT suicides in 18 months

LGBT groups in the South East Indian city say that the shocking statistics highlight the negative affects of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Chennai Dost, a community for LGBT in Chennai, have reported that 16 of their members have committed suicide within the last year and a half. Founder of Channai Dost, Vikranth… Read more »

Programme on sexual orientation and gender identity

Project DIVA Mumbai with the Humsafar trust, UNDP supported by the global fund conducted ‘sub-national/state issues on sexual orientation and gender identity, MSM and transgender population, HIV, health and human rights’ at Hotel Vivor, Friday. The key objectives of the programme were-to help establish a network of media professionals with up to date knowledge on… Read more »

How I learned to have pride in both my Sikh and gay identity

Recently, a video was published featuring Manjinder Singh Sidhu and his mother having a conversation surrounding homosexuality and the dynamics it involves in the Punjabi community. As a queer, Amritdhari, practicing Sikh, I know my own lived experiences, but I wanted to see if there were other videos out there on the same topic. That’s… Read more »

Gay literature is firmly out of the closet in India

Even as same-sex couples in India struggle to gain legal recognition, in literature they are the heroes and heroines. Over the years, a number of Indian writers have steadily produced remarkable gay literature, keeping alive the issue of inequality in love through their compelling stories. Here is an overview of some of the books and… Read more »

Mother seeks a groom for her son in India’s first gay marriage advert

New Delhi (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A 57-year-old mother has placed India’s first gay matrimonial advertisement, seeking a groom for her son, but it was not an easy task in a country where homosexuality is illegal, said her son on Wednesday. Mumbai resident Padma Iyer hit the headlines when her advertisement appeared in a daily… Read more »

Prince Manvendra, The World’s First Openly Gay Prince, Fights For LGBT Rights In India

In 2006, the Crown Prince of one of India’s oldest royal families made a public announcement that made headlines around the world: the 40-year-old formerly married Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil was actually gay. This announcement made Prince Manvendra the world’s only openly gay prince — and it also outraged his community and ripped his family… Read more »

The Inequality of India’s Queer Spaces

“Space is power, right? We don’t have a lot of it.” While the U.S. Supreme Court is still debating same-sex marriage, public opinion has already come down in its favor. For many, the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act last year ushered in a new chapter in the history of the LGBTQ-rights movement.… Read more »

Blackmail and abuse: Gay sex ban in India stirs violence

New Delhi (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Rajan was followed by two men into a public toilet in Mumbai and forced to perform oral sex on them, the 31-year-old gay marketing professional realized this was the beginning of the end of his short-lived sexual freedom. “They knew I was gay. They were watching me and… Read more »

India votes against gay rights for UN employees

India supported a Russian-drafted resolution that opposed benefits for same-sex partners of UN staff, but the resolution failed to pass in the General Assembly committee. The move comes in the wake of a growing debate in the country about decriminalising gay sex. New Delhi, however, justified its move to vote in favour of the resolution… Read more »

Arrests for ‘unnatural sex’ soar. So do cases of gay people being blackmailed

Six hundred people were arrested for under section 377 in 2014. However, the government did not say how many of those arrests were for consensual sex. Weeks after the Ministry of Home Affairs released figures saying that nearly 600 people had been arrested in 2014 under Section 377 in 2014, India’s queer community is cautious… Read more »

Meet India’s first ever out transgender mayor

For the first time a transgender candidate has won a mayoral election in India. Madhu Kinnar, an independent candidate, won the election in the Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh Municipal Corporation by 4357 votes on 4 January. She beat the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mahaveer Guruji, and was named the mayor of Raigarh. 35-year-old Kinnar previously worked as a… Read more »

600 homosexuals arrested in 2014

At least 750 cases were registered and 600 people arrested under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code in 2014 after Supreme Court struck down 2009 Delhi High Court verdict which decriminalised homosexuality. According to Home Ministry statistics, the country witnessed registration of 778 cases and 587 arrests under Section 377 until October. However, these numbers… Read more »