LGBTQIA+ Rights in India: A Journey

This past month, thousands of LGBTQIA+ members in India took to the streets in celebration of the New Delhi pride parade. They carried balloons, played music, and carried rainbow flags to rejoice in the diversification of sexual identity. For the past few years, the fight for LGBTQIA+ Rights in India has been a burgeoning movement and has grown to a point where real change is occurring and policies and protests are starting to change the climate of LGBTQIA+ rights in India. In fact, just last year, a Supreme Court Case in India legalized homosexual relations, overturning a colonial-era rule that had shackled the queer community for 157 years.

A group of people at the Delhi Pride Parade march in celebration of gay rights.

A History of Court Rulings

Prior to the British colonization of India, homosexuality was accepted within the reaches of society. However, during the eighteenth century, the British passed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which stated that same-sex relations were forbidden. For years, it ensured that LGBTQIA+ community members would be continuously placed under severely unequal treatment by criminalizing same-sex relations. Members of the queer community faced constant blackmail and violence at the hands of society and Indian authorities. Oftentimes, as a result of Section 377, sexual health for queer constituents was ignored, resulting in the deaths of thousands. The queer community was never treated with liberty and equality, two fundamental rights designated by the Indian Consitution to its constituents.

157 years later, Section 377 was challenged in the landmark case,