The Evolution of Homosexuality in India

Homophobia is prevalent in India. Open discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the actual fact that sexuality in any form isn't discussed openly.

Homosexuality in India has been a subject of heavy discussion, ever since the beginning of time. Ancient Hindu texts have taken various other positions regarding homosexual characters and themes. According to the normal Indian text Kamasutra, written by Vātsyāyana, an entire chapter is dedicated to erotic homosexual behavior. 

Homophobia is prevalent in India. Open discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the actual fact that sexuality in any form isn’t discussed openly. 

There aren’t any official demographics for the LGBT population in India, but the government submitted figures to the Supreme Court in 2012, according to which, there are about 2.5 million gay people recorded in India, amounting to 13% of the population. These figures only reflect those individuals who have self-declared to the Ministry of Health. There are a large number of people that weren’t counted because they concealed their identity since homosexual Indians live within the closet because of fear of discrimination.

However if one takes a closer look they’ll notice that, in recent years, the various attitudes depicted towards homosexuality have shifted slightly. Moreover, there have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the news, media, and in Bollywood. 

In 2005, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, who hails from Rajpipla within Gujarat, publicly came out as gay. He was quickly accepted by the gay society, as he was chided by his parents for coming out. He was disinherited as an instant reaction by the royalty, though they eventually reconciled.  In June 2008, five Indian cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, and Pondicherry) celebrated gay Pride Parades. 2,000 people participated in these nationwide parades. Mumbai held its first Pride parade in August 2008, with Bollywood actress Celina Jaitley kicking off the festivities.

In June 2009, Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, saw its first Pride event. Since this event, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily announced that the Union Home Minister has convened a gathering with the Union Law Ministers, Union Health Ministers, and residential Ministers of all states to evolve a consensus on decriminalizing homosexuality in India. June 2009 also saw Chennai, generally considered to be a very conservative city, announcing its first Pride event.

Mumbai additionally has its own pride events outside of parades, like the Kashish Mumbai Queer festival which was first held in April 2010. At the time it was the first queer festival in India and is held at a mainstream multiplex theater that screens LGBT films from around the world. 

In recent years, several organizations had expressed support for decriminalizing homosexuality and pushed for more tolerance and increased social equality for LGBT people. India has been noted as being one of the countries with a social element of a third gender, but still, more work has to be done regarding the mental, physical, emotional, and economic violence against the LGBT community which still is very prevalent. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims go unreported.

In striking down Section 377, a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to ten years in prison, one judge said the landmark decision would “pave the way for a much better future.” 

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