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:

 

Indian Government says it will fight to decriminalize gay sex

Leading members of India’s ruling Congress party say they will fight the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate the country’s Section 377 anti-sodomy law as the party explores the best options to move forward with towards reform The Indian Government has indicated that it will move to re-decriminalize homosexuality despite Indians going to the polls in… Read more »

Gay sex verdict: Shock, disbelief, dejection; mood sours across India

New Delhi: It was supposed to be a day of celebration, with screens and even balloons put up at offices of various LGBT groups in anticipation of a verdict that would help uphold gay rights. But the SC ruling re-criminalising homosexuality came as a shocker instead. It caused disbelief and deep disappointment across the country… Read more »

India bans gay sex in Supreme Court shock ruling

India’s highest court has upheld a colonial-era law which criminalises gay sex, in what activists have described as a “black day” for gay rights. The Supreme Court threw out a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that ruled the law was unconstitutional. The law change could see gay people jailed for up to ten years.… Read more »

Indian cops give flowers to Pune LGBTI pride marchers

Police in the Indian city of Pune distributed roses to LGBTI pride marchers last Sunday to show them they have nothing to fear from them as long as they obey the law Around 200 LGBTI pride marchers in the Indian city of Pune got a pleasant surprise last Sunday when a contingent of the city’s… Read more »

Delhi: Gay rights activists hold march

New Delhi: Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community on Sunday held a march in the city demanding an end to the discrimination which is still being faced by them despite the decriminalisation of gay sex. Carrying rainbow-coloured flags, the demonstrators marched to the beat of traditional Indian drums, calling for equal… Read more »

India’s Gujarat State Holds First Gay Pride Parade

In a milestone moment for the Indian state of Gujarat, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents filled the streets for the area’s first-ever gay pride parade last weekend. More than 100 citizens came out for the event “bearing rainbow flags and banners and dancing to traditional music.” Many participants wore scarves and masks in an… Read more »

India’s 1st survey on gay love and sex busts myth

Over 25% say they don’t have anal sex, debunking perception that the act defines gay sex India’s first survey on gay men’s love and sex lives is out. And though the organization which conceived of it is the first to admit that it may lack the rigor of a scientific survey, the Gay Men’s Love… Read more »

India’s 1st survey on gay love and sex busts myth

Over 25% say they don’t have anal sex, debunking perception that the act defines gay sex India’s first survey on gay men’s love and sex lives is out. And though the organization which conceived of it is the first to admit that it may lack the rigor of a scientific survey, the Gay Men’s Love… Read more »

Indian queers soon to have their own Radio channel

India is all set to welcome its first radio channel dedicated to the LGBT community. Radiowalla.in, India’s first Direct to Consumer multi-channel internet radio platform announced that it will play host to a radio channel especially for the Gay and Lesbian Community in India. The channel will be available from 11th September 24×7 via any… Read more »

Sexuality and the State

Why India’s LGBTQI movement has a headstart over the West’s Mangesh Karande is 26, unmarried, and drives an autorickshaw in Mumbai. He prefers the late night shift because of the higher fares he can charge. He prefers the late night shift for another reason: Mangesh is intimately familiar with the ‘ladies’ who loiter around the… Read more »

LGBT visibility causing Indians to question straight friends’ relationships

India has always had a culture where heterosexuals have been very physical with their friends of the same-sex, but LGBT visibility is increasingly causing this affection to be questioned LGBT visibility is having an effect on the way Indians view close friendships among heterosexuals of the same-sex – with people now questioning those who are… Read more »

‘Gay scene’ manufactured, mythical in state?

The month of June is when in several places around the world rainbow flags are waved, celebrating the diversity of expressions and gender identities that exist on our planet. In the past week, there have been pride parades and functions across India in small or large measure. Saturday saw the pride march at Hooghly in… Read more »

Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History

Lambda literary award finalist, Same-Sex Love in India presents a stunning array of writings on same-sex love from over 2000 years of Indian literature. Translated from more than a dozen languages and drawn from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and modern fictional traditions, these writings testify to the presence of same-sex love in various forms since ancient… Read more »

No country for gay men?

The deafening silence in the mainstream press, even as blogs and HIV/AIDS alliance NGOs buzzed with obituaries, stood in stark contrast with the media frenzy a decade ago. It has almost been a fortnight since the founder of Naz Foundation International and a pioneering gay rights activist OBE (Order of the British Empire) Shivananda Khan… Read more »

Chennai holds film festival for LGBT community

30 films, Indian and international, celebrating the LGBT community will be screened at the Chennai Rainbow Film Festival The Chennai Rainbow Film Festival (CRFF) 2013 is an LGBT film festival running from 7 to 9 June 2013 in India. It will be the first in the Tamil Nadu’s capital city, with more than 30 short… Read more »

Being queer without fear: films on LGBTS from Iran, Pakistan

What must it be like to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in a conservative country? This year, the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will highlight the travails of the LGBT community by screening films from countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Serbia and Israel. Still from Noor, a film about the LGBT community… Read more »

India’s Gay Community Fights for Acceptance, Equality

New Delhi — Indian activists are listening closely as the U.S. Supreme Court debates the issue of same sex marriage. Activists are assessing progress made on the issue of gay rights in India, nearly four years after a Indian key court ruling that decriminalized homosexual sex. As a gay man in India, life has not… Read more »

The Untold Story

hey can be seen at the forefront of any gay- parade or gay movement. Where closeted gay men still fear to step out, they form a large chunk of these parades. Due to their colourful dresses and loud behavior, they often attract the eye of the media. ‘They’ being the transgender community. Transgender rights have… Read more »

Getting accepted

Find out more about IIT Delhi’s new gender and sexuality group Indradhanu, the first gender and sexuality support group at IIT Delhi, is not interested in half-measures: “We want to hear ‘we love you’ rather than ‘we love you anyway’”, Kapil Rananaware, a third-year B-tech student and one of the group’s founders, told Time Out.… Read more »

Odd cinema

At the recently held Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF), I pushed and shoved and battled with strangers for space to sit. The main auditorium was jam-packed. Never mind that the aisles were already full; people streamed in anyway, and when I went outside for a break, I discovered the café tables were full, too. Inside… Read more »

100 Years of Indian Cinema: Homosexuals and the third gender on celluloid…Bollywood

New Delhi: When sexual revolution swept through the West in the 1960s after the advent of the birth control pill, some of the effects of the change found slanted reflections in popular culture. But for the ripples to hit the Indian shores, where cinema was still bound by Victorian puritanism, it took another decade. In… Read more »

Children Toil in India’s Mines, Despite Legal Ban

Khliehriat, India — After descending 70 feet on a wobbly bamboo staircase into a dank pit, the teenage miners ducked into a black hole about two feet high and crawled 100 yards through mud before starting their day digging coal. They wore T-shirts, pajama-like pants and short rubber boots — not a hard hat or… Read more »

Scrap ‘archaic’ gay sex laws, rights watchdogs tell India

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have urged the Indian government to review legislation criminalizing same-sex relations Two of the world’s leading human rights watchdogs have demanded India scraps its ‘archaic and discriminatory’ laws against gay sex today (12 February). Amnesty International and Humans Rights Watch today urged the Indian government to repeal laws including… Read more »

Police raid and arrest 30 people at India gay party

Indian police arrest 30 gay party goers in Mumbai for dancing ‘indecently’ Thirty people were arrested for alleged ‘indecent’ behavior following a raid at a gay party in Malad, a suburb of Mumbai, India. According to a police officer who spoke with The Times India: ‘The raid was conducted in the wee hours today [10… Read more »

India’s Gay Community Comes Out of the Closet

After more than a century of oppression, India’s gay community is striding out of the closet. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Mumbai’s western suburb of Bandra—home to observant middle-class Roman Catholic and Sunni Muslim families—is packed with people strolling the seaside promenades. The main streets are abuzz with vendors selling cheap shoes and colorful scarves.… Read more »

India’s Gay Pride

Delhi, India – More than a thousand people thronged into the heart of India’s capital for the fifth edition of the Delhi Queer Pride Parade that took place on Sunday in support of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. Carrying rainbow-coloured flags and placards with slogans, supporters marched to the beats of traditional… Read more »

Indian gay rights parade demands extension of anti-discriminatory laws

New Delhi — Hundreds of gay rights activists marched through New Delhi on Sunday to demand that they be allowed to lead lives of dignity in India’s deeply conservative society. Dozens of demonstrators carried a nearly 15-meter (50-foot) -long, rainbow-colored banner and waved placards demanding that the government extend the scope of anti-discrimination laws to… Read more »

Pensions for the transgender community in Tamil Nadu

The state government of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu announce a pension scheme for transgender residents The government of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has announced the introduction of a pension scheme specifically for the transgender community. The state’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa said earlier this month that 11.7 million Rupees ($211,000,… Read more »

India sees young LGBTs as a group for the first time

India has announced a draft youth policy that will regard the LGBT community and HIV/AIDS patients as groups that face stigma and need policy help The Indian government is trying for the first time to focus on the problems of transgenders, gays and lesbians as a group that needs suitable policy interventions to deal with… Read more »

Lesbian couple exiled from village in Punjab

Swaran Kaur and Harsharan Kaur banned from village and disinherited by family in northern India A lesbian couple from a village in Punjab northern India have been told to leave their home by the village government and disinherited by their families. Last month the Punjab and Haryana high court ordered the police to protect the… Read more »

Ordinary Lives Extraordinary People: A Photo Essay Of MSM And Transgender People From South Asia

In a region of often intense stigma, discrimination, violence and social exclusion, males who have sex with males, hijras, and transgender people, try to live ordinary lives at home, at work and at play, just like any other person. Like you. Like me And in such an environment, they are extraordinary people Access to photo essay available at… Read more »

HIV programmes for MSM and transgendered people gradually being scaled up in India

Rupali always felt she was different. Born as a boy in India, she liked wearing girls’ clothes and finally at the age of 20, decided to disclose to her family her gender orientation. She declared she wanted to live as a woman. “When I first decided to tell people about my sexual orientation and gender… Read more »

Indian society struggling with gay rights: Activist

New Delhi (Reuters) – Legalising homosexuality has had little impact on the deeply entrenched homophobia in India, where thousands of gays still face discrimination and a lack of basic rights, the country’s most prominent gay rights activist told Reuters. Hours after US President Barack Obama turned the global spotlight on gay rights by saying that… Read more »

Tears and Broken Glass as India’s Largest Transgender Festival Closes

Devotees pull the cart  carrying the statue of Aravan around the village on the second and final day of the festival in Koovagam, Tamil Nadu.Ayush RankaDevotees pull the cart  carrying the statue of Aravan around the village on the second and final day of the festival in Koovagam, Tamil Nadu. Human beings often seek spiritual… Read more »

Changing face of AIDS

A decade ago, New Delhi’s The Ashok turned away a dozen gay men who wanted to book a conference room at the hotel for a think-in on AIDS, which was still labelled a gay man’s disease. It took several phone calls from the senior bureaucracy at the Union Health Ministry’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)… Read more »

Living on the Fringe

Despite decriminalistion of homosexuality, Delhi hasn’t become a safe city and  crimes against gays keep happening. Dr. Himadri Roy writes about some cases that received wide media coverage Ever since homosexuality was decriminalized in 2009 by Delhi High Court, there has been some confusion pertaining to whether the ruling applies to the whole country or… Read more »

Koovagam, India’s Largest Transgender Festival, Opens

Ayush RankaHarani a transgender from Tiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu was crowned the first runner-up at the beauty pageant held a day before the Koovagam festival, April 30, 2012. Senthil Thomgon is a 36-year-old bellman at the Balaji, one of only a handful of air-conditioned hotels in the dusty city of Villupuram, 162 kilometers southwest… Read more »

Happy endings in Bali

We discover the best massages, meals and uncharted territories in the Island of the Gods – Bali GSN’s intrepid explorer Jean Paul feeds an elephant in Bali. A few friends, all the travel books and what little I know about the book Eat. Pray. Love suggested that the best of Bali was to be found… Read more »

Indian Psychiatric Association Journal Editorial on Homosexuality

The Indian Journal of Psychiatry, official publication of Indian Psychiatric Society, in its editorial ‘Homosexuality and India’ in its first quarter 2012 issue, Volume 54(1), written by TS Sathyanarayana Rao, the Journal’s Honorary Editor from JSS Medical College, Mysore, and KS Jacob, Christian Medical College, Vellore, state that “the argument that homosexuality is a stable… Read more »

Male nude photography exhibition shut-down in Delhi

Homoerotic exhibition at Alliance Francaise closed down after a complaint An exhibition in Delhi by Indian-born London-based photographer Sunil Gupta was shut-down by police this week after a complaint that it was obscene. The exhibition at the Indian capital’s Alliance Francaise opened last Friday and first the centre took down some of the photographs in… Read more »