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pekerotool 100x130 . By Peker O’ Tool ©


Rainbow flag and blue skies, the flag of the LGBT (Source: grayfords.co.uk)

Rainbow flag and blue skies, the flag of the LGBT (Source: grayfords.co.uk)

Sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly in almost all Asian countries. Though homophobia is prevalent in India, it is still a taboo subject in the modern Indian civil society. Mental, physical, emotional and economic violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in India prevails.

The 148-year-old colonial law which describes a same-sex relationship as an “unnatural offence” was in effect and many people in India still regard same-sex relationships as illegitimate. Rights groups, however, have long argued that the law contravened human rights.

The first Indian public lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Friendship Walk was held on July 2, 1999 in Kolkata where the paraders distributed flowers out along with brochures.

On Sunday, June 29, 2008, India’s first national gay and lesbian pride celebrations took place. Four Indian cities – Delhi, Bangalore, Pondicherry and Kolkata saw coordinated pride events. On the following day, a rainbow parade was held at Chennai. The pride parades were successful.No right-wing group attacked or protested against the pride parade, but the Bharatiya Janata Party, expressed its disagreement with the concept of gay pride parades.

On Monday, June 29, 2008, a function was held to mark the release of a report on the impact of AIDS in Asia produced for  the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) by an independent commission headed by C. Rangarajan, ex-governor of RBI and current chairman of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

At this function, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for greater social tolerance towards homosexuals. A statement made by Oscar Fernandes, the Minister of state for labour and employment favoured of decriminalizing homosexuality. It was the most categorical statement made by a member of the Indian government.

On August 16, 2008, the day after India’s Independence Day celebrations, LGBT community in Mumbai held its first ever formal pride parade, and demanded amendment to India’s anti-gay laws.

On July 2, 2009, a high court in the Indian capital, Delhi, ruled that homosexual intercourse between consenting adults was not a criminal act.

On July 2, 2009, in Naz Foundation vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi High Court held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that makes sex with persons of the same gender punishable by law to be unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults. But the Supreme Court of India overturned that ruling on December 11, 2013, stating that the Court was instead deferring to Indian legislators to provide the sought-after clarity.