Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities in India

Information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living in India, including details of relevant laws and customs, and links to useful groups and websites…

In 2009, adult consensual homosexual relations were decriminalised in the Indian Penal Code. This ruling by the Delhi High Court was seen as a landmark in the Indian gay rights movement. In December 2013, however, the reintroduction of Section 377 of the Indian penal code re-criminalised homosexual

Homophobic attitudes persist in Indian society and the LGBT community faces discrimination from their families, employers, the police and society in general. There is some openness towards homosexuality in urban areas but it remains a taboo in rural areas.

Same-sex marriages are not recognised. However, there was one case of a court in Gurgaon, Haryana recognising a lesbian marriage in 2011.

Transgendered people are colloquially known as “hijras”. They have their own sub-culture within Indian society and live in communities organised around a guru who they consider to be a leader. Many members of the hijra community work as sex workers. They are a common sight and can be seen begging at busy junctions and in commercial areas.

Social Networks Online

  • Desi Boys is a gay social networking website
  • Wonderful Things Happen is a matchmaking service for lesbian and bisexual women in India
  • The Utopia Asia website provides helpful information for gay men and lists popular cruising spots in the big cities

Gay Events

Gay pride parades were held every year in the big cities, though it remains to be seen how the reinstatement of Section 377 will affect this.

Associations and Support Groups

Sangama, a human rights organisation, has a helpful list of LGBT support groups across India on its website

Sangama also runs 24-hour helplines for sexual minorities dealing with issues of harassment. They can be reached at the following numbers:

  • Tel: 099 4560 1651/52
    Tel: 099 4560 1653/54
    Tel: 099 4523 1493
    Tel: 080 2343 9124 (LesBiT)
    Tel: 099 452 31494 (Samara)

Rights, Health and Advocacy Groups

  • The Humsafar Trust works for the rights and health of sexual minorities and for the promotion of rational attitudes to sexuality
  • Mingle is national-level advocacy group and think tank that works for LGBT rights in every sphere of public life in India
  • Naz India aims to spread awareness about sexual health issues, especially HIV/AIDS

LGBT Media