Problems faced by LGBT in India

Problems faced by LGBT in India

India Fight for LGBT Rights

NEW DELHI INDIA – The SC scrapped a colonial era ban on gay sex on Thursday, in a landmark judgement that sparked celebrations across India and elsewhere in South Asia, where activists hope to push for similar reform.

Supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities celebrate after the Supreme Court’s verdict of decriminalizing gay sex and revocation of the archaic Section 377 law.

Major problems faced by the LGBT communities in India?

The one problem, something which is the source of all the other problems, for LGBT is the ignorance regarding the topic.

Most people that I have met have no idea what the difference between gay and transgender is. They don’t know that being LGBT+ is not a mental disorder or a cry for attention. Some people don’t even know that being homosexual is a punishable offence.

When I came out to a friend of mine, he suggested that I get a blood test to confirm my sexuality.

Yes, you read that right.

He thought that one could get some medical test done and know from the report what one’s sexuality was; quite similar to how one could get medical test done for diseases.

Though, at the same time, that same friend accepted me wholeheartedly. Can you imagine what his response would have been like if he had been educated on the subject.

We, the LGBT+, would have had more allies in our battle for our rights and for equality; something which we are denied right now because people are unaware and ignorant.

Thus this, I feel, is the greatest problem faced by us.

Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India, as well as in neighboring Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It was reinstated as a criminal offence in India in 2013, punishable up to 10 years in prison, after four years of decriminalization.

A five judge bench in India’s Supreme Court was unanimous in overturning the ban. But the ruling could face a legal challenge from groups that say gay sex erodes traditional values.

“Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults – homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians – cannot be said to be unconstitutional,” said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgement.

Supporters of the campaign to scrap the ban milled around the court before the verdict and cheered the decision, hugging one another and waving rainbow flags.

Some were overcome with emotion, while others waved banners with slogans such as “Gay and Proud” and “I am who I am”. A few distributed sweets in celebration.

“I’m so excited, I have no words,” said Debottam Saha, one of the petitioners in the case.

Activists hope the scrapping of the ban will uphold the right to equality but many acknowledged that discrimination would persist.

“We are no longer criminals, (but) it will take time to change things on the ground – 20 to 30 years, maybe,” said Saha.

Bacchanalian Ramiro, a second petitioner, also said there was “a long road ahead when it comes to changing societal mindsets”, and stressed the importance of employers ending discrimination in workplaces.

Notable Indian LGBT rights activists

Anjali Ameer
Malayalam film actress
Nakshatra Bagwe
Award-winning filmmaker, actor, and India’s first gay brand ambassador
Manabi Bandyopadhyay
India’s first openly transgender college principal and first transgender person to hold a PhD
Vinay Chandran
Gay and human rights activist
Bobby Darling
Transgender actress and vocal supporter of LGBT rights
Tista Das
Transgender activist
Sushant Divgikar
Mr. India Gay 2014
Pablo Ganguli
Cultural entrepreneur, artist, director and impresario
Rituparno Ghosh
Popular filmmaker, winner of 11 Indian National Film Awards
Anjali Gopalan
Human rights activist
Andrew Harvey
Author, religious scholar and teacher of mystic traditions
Harish Iyer
Activist, columnist and blogger
Celina Jaitley
Miss India 2001
Firdaus Kanga
Writer and actor
First transgender person in India to perform a leading role in a mainstream movie
Saleem Kidwai
Agniva Lahiri
Social activist (PLUS Kolkata)
Nolan Lewis
Mr. India Gay 2013
Leena Manimekalai
Poet, writer and film maker
Shabnam Mausi
First openly transgender person to participate in Indian elections
Hoshang Merchant
Teacher, poet and critic
Ismail Merchant
Film producer and director
Raul Patil
Mr. India Gay 2011
Zoltan Parag
Mr. India Gay 2008
Award-winning film director
Sridhar Rangayan
Filmmaker, and founder and festival director of Kasish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival
R. Raj Rao
Writer, professor of literature
A. Revathi
Actor, artist, writer and theater activist
Wendell Rodricks
Fashion designer and choreographer
Ashok Row Kavi
Founder of Humsafur Trust
Aishwarya Rutuparna Pradhan
First openly transgender civil servant and Odisha Financial Services officer
Nishit Saran
Filmmaker and gay rights activist
Vikram Seth
Gopi Shankar Madurai
Genderqueer activist, recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Worker Asia Finalist Award and founder of Srishti Madurai
Parvez Sharma
Writer and documentary filmmaker
Manvendra Singh Gohil
Hereditary Prince of Rajpipla
Ramchandra Siras
Linguist and author
Living Smile Vidya
Actor, artist, writer, and theater activist
Kalki Subramaniam
Transgender activist, actor, artist, writer and founder of Sahodari Foundation
Manil Suri
Indian-American mathematician and writer
S. Swapna
First transwoman to clear Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission exam and first transgender I.A.S aspirant
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
Transgender activist
Ruth Vanita
Writer and academician
Abhinav Vats
Equal rights activist and India’s first openly gay actor; featured in a music video from Euphoria in 1996 in a first ever gay character shown on Indian media
Rose Venkatesan
First transgender TV host in India
Riyad Vinci Wadia