Shivani Saharia
Posted November 1, 2016 from India

"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity"

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in India face certain legal and social difficulties not experienced by non-LGBT persons. Sexual activity between people of the same gender is illegal, and same-sex couples cannot legally marry or obtain a civil partnership. India does, however, legally recognize Hijras as a gender separate from men or women, alongside neighboring Pakistan, to legally recognize a third gender. The Indian cities of Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore held their first gay pride parades on July 29, 2008.

"There is nothing wrong with you, there is a lot wrong with the world you live in".

Homosexual intercourse was made a criminal offense under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This made it an offence for a person to voluntarily have "carnal intercourse against the order of nature." In 2009, the Delhi High Court decision in Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi found Section 377 and other legal prohibitions against private, adult, consensual, and non-commercial same-sex conduct to be in direct violation of fundamental rights provided by the Indian Constitution.

According to a ruling by the Indian Supreme Court, decisions of a High Court on the constitutionality of a law apply throughout India, and not just to the territory of the state over which the High Court in question has jurisdiction.[clarification needed] However, even there have been incidents of harassment of homosexual groups

Transgender Swapna and gender activist Gopi Shankar from Srishti Madurai staged the protest in Madurai collectorate on 7 October 2013 demanding reservation and to permit alternate genders to appear for examinations conducted by TNPSC, UPSC, SSC and Bank Exams.Swapna, incidentally, had successfully moved the Madras High Court in 2013 seeking permission to write the TNPSC Group II exam as a ‘woman’ candidate. Swapna is the first trans person to clear TNPSC Group IV exams.

Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in India, nor are same-sex couples offered more limited rights such as a civil union or a domestic partnership. This may change, at the local level, in light of a landmark court opinion in the city of Gurgaon.

In 2011, the court granted legal recognition to a same-sex marriage, involving two women. After marrying, the couple began to receive threats from friends and relatives in their village.

Their lawyer said the court had served notice on 14 of Veena's relatives and villagers who had threatened them with "dire consequences". Haryana has been the centre of widespread protests by villagers who believe their village councils, or khaps should be allowed to impose their own punishments on those who disobey their rulings or break local traditions – mainly honour killings of those who marry within their own gotra or sub-caste, regarded in the state as akin to incest. Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr. Abhe Singh told The Daily Telegraph: "The couple has been shifted to a safe house and we have provided adequate security to them on the court orders. The security is provided on the basis of threat perception and in this case the couple feared that their families might be against the relationship."

The couple eventually won family approval.

I think the best day will be when we no longer talk about gay or straight.

It's not a gay wedding, it's just a wedding.

On 24 April 2015, the Rajya Sabha passed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 guaranteeing rights and entitlements, reservations in education and jobs (2% reservation in government jobs), legal aid, pensions, unemployment allowances and skill development for transgender people. It also contains provisions to prohibit discrimination in employment, prevent abuse, violence and exploitation of transgender people. The Bill also provides for the establishment of welfare boards at the Centre and State level, and for Transgender Rights Courts. The Bill was introduced by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, and marked the first time the House had passed a private member's bill in 45 years. The Bill was passed unanimously by the House. However, the Bill contains several anomalies and a lack of clarity on how various ministries will co-ordinate to implement its provisions. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot stated on 11 June 2015 that the Government would introduce a comprehensive Bill for transgender rights in the Monsoon session of Parliament. The Bill will be based on the study on transgender issues conducted by a committee appointed on 27 January 2014.



This story was submitted in response to Toward Global LGBT Rights.

Comments 2

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Tamarack Verrall
Nov 05, 2016
Nov 05, 2016

Hi Zainab,

This post is full of important news, and I am glad to know that there have been Gay Pride marches beginning in 2008, that a Government Bill was passed in 2009, that there was a safe house for the women who needed it, and that more rights leading to greater respect, understanding and equality are all being worked on. It is still little known that India has led the world in recognizing a third sex, acknowledging the reality of gender fluidity and no doubt changing the lives of and lessening discrimination against many trans people. It is so encouraging to have real news on all this. What really touches me is the strength and beauty of your comments in bold throughout. "There is nothing wrong with you, there is a lot wrong with the world you live in". Yes! Thank you for this.

In sisterhood,


Shivani Saharia
Nov 07, 2016
Nov 07, 2016


Good Day

It has always been an honor to get published with a motive of information to all and strengthening women .

Thank you for reading !