LGBT Rights in India – Graha Nurdian

Gay Pride March in Bangalore (wikipedia)

LGBT or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender in India, facing legal and social difficulties. Over the past years, the LGBT movement around the world was gained more tolerance and acceptance, including in India, especially in major cities. But, in India people remain closeted, fearing of the discrimination bestow upon them from their families and friend who sees LGBT as shameful, especially in rural areas.

LGBT vs The Law

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Since 1861 when India was still British Raj, there’s Section 377 of Indian Penal Code modeled in the Buggery Act of 1533, it makes sexual activities “against the order of Nature” illegal. Until 6 September 2018 the Supreme Court of India ruled that the application of Section 377 consensual homosexual sex between adults was unconstitutional, “Irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary” So it was changed, and now Section 377 remains in force relating to sex with non-consensual sexual acts, bestiality, and minors.

Since 2014, transgender in India, have been allowed to change their gender in their ID without sex reassignment surgery, and they have the constitutional right to register themselves under a third gender.

Hinduism view on LGBT

Based on Khajuraho temples that famous for their erotic sculptures, there is some sculpture depicting homosexual activity. A lot of historians has been arguing that before the colonial of Indian, they did not criminalize same-sex relationships or making it into an immoral or sinful act.

Hinduism has traditionally portrayed homosexuality as something natural and joyful, even though some Hindu texts contain injunction against homosexuality among the priest. Hinduism also acknowledges hijra as a third gender and multiple Mahabharata characters changed their gender such as, Shikhandi who born female but identifies herself as a man and marries a woman. Bahuchara Mata the goddess of fertility who worshipped by hijras, Naradasmrti and Sushruta Samhita, two important scripture related to dharma and medicine, declared homosexuality is incurable and forbid homosexual from marrying a partner of the opposite sex.

In Kama Sutra, a Sanskrit text on human sexual behavior, have the term Tritiya-Prakriti, that define man with homosexual desires and describe their practice in detail. Likewise, Kama Sutra also describes lesbians (Svairini), bisexuals (Kami or Paksha), transgender and intersex.

LGBT Living Condition in India

Asia’s first Genderqueer Pride

There a lot of LGBT communities in India such as GayBombay, Good as You, HarmlessHugs, Orinam, Queerala, Queerhythm, Mobbera, Parichay Collective, etc. Also, there’s a platform called “Amour Queer Dating” that launched to help LGTB find their long-term partners.

But over the years, even though they’re protected with the law against discrimination there are several reports of abuse, harassment, and violence against the LGBT people. That led to some suicide attempts including in early 2018 a lesbian couple committed suicide in India with a note “We have left this world to live with each other. The world did not allow us to stay together.”

On 17 May 2018, the International Day Against Homophobia was held throughout the country expressing support for LGBT rights in India and reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to promoting human rights. According to the 2018 survey, a third of Indian gay men are married to women who don’t know that they are secretly gay.

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