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LGBTQIA Rights In India: An Ongoing Debate

LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer.
  • Lesbian: With women who are lesbian or homosexual among women.
  • Homosexual: A man who has sex with a man (referring to a man in general).
  • Bisexuality: Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual orientation, or sexual behavior toward more than one gender.
  • Transgender: A person who changes gender in terms of sex or gender expression different from their sex at birth.
  • Queer: Queer is a cover term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender. (Sex or gender question).
  • Intersex: Intersex is a group of differentiated external organs and external genitalia (testicles and ovaries). The old term for this condition is hermaphrodites.
  • Sexual orientation: Sexual orientation is a lack of sexual attraction to others or limited interest in sex.

These people are often treated differently from society because they are culturally defined as "neither men, nor women", or men who act like women and are now referred to as the second gender three. Our society sees individuals as male or female and those who identify as a different gender other than male and female are considered unnatural by our society.

Under British rule, homosexuality was criminalized under Section 377 of the IPC. Since independence, these communities have fought for basic rights there like any other citizen of our country. In this article we will learn about the small history and rights given to the LGBTQ community and there recognition by our Indian society, we will also learn about various judicial decisions given t by various courts

We can trace the history of homosexuality from the holy book Bhagavad Purana it says that when Lord Shiva saw Lord Vishnu as Mohini he fell for her and they also had a son named Ayyappa .

In the Valmiki Ramayana, the birth of King Baghiratha was due to two widows who shared the blessings of Shiva.

But the arrival of the British in Indian society and the introduction of homophobic crimes brought many problems and challenges to these communities so even in our Holy Scriptures we can see homosexuals in God as well.

Rights of LGBTQ Community:

  • Article 15. Discrimination on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, sex, or place of birth is prohibited:
    1. The State shall not discriminate against any citizen solely on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, sex, place of birth, or any of them
    2. No citizen shall have any disability, liability, limitation, or condition of his or her own, solely on account of religion, race, ethnicity, sex, place of birth, or any of them:
      1. Shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment;
      2. Wells, reservoirs, bathing docks, roads, and public sidewalks maintained in whole or in part out of State funds or for the use of the general public.

Also in National Legal Services Authority v . In the case of Union of India,(2014) 5 SCC 438, where the court directed the central and state governments to take various steps for the welfare of the transgender community and treat them as third gender beneficiaries focus on protecting their rights under Part III of the Constitution; The Government of India announced the Transgender (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 which was passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

In 2019, Parliament passed the Transgender (Protection of Rights) Act into law to protect the rights of transgender individuals, as well as their welfare and other concerns related to these issues

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalized homosexual relations. However, in 2018, the Supreme Court held that the section is unconstitutional but does not allow gay marriage in India.

In the case of Lata Singh v. Govt. U.P. The Supreme Court has ruled that once a person becomes an officer, he can marry whoever he likes where there is no threat from parents.

Our legislature needs to pass more gender neutral laws so that gay men can also feel safe in our society such as enforcing workplace discrimination and sexual harassment laws.

Important Judicial Decisions:

Naz Foundation and NCT between Delhi
In this case, a PIL was filed to declare Section 377 unconstitutional as it violates Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India and was an infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens by the Constitution of India count directly.

Suresh kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation
In this case, the court again charged Section 377 and held that it suffered nothing unconstitutional.

Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India
In this case, the court criminalized homosexuality in India. The judgment by the Supreme Court of India resulted from several public interest litigations filed by LGBTQIA+ community groups The bench struck down Section 377 of the IPC. The Supreme Court further held that Section 377 violates Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 1 (a) of the Constitution of India. It recognized that every person, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, has the right to live life with dignity and freedom and to have it private and private without interference from the state

NALSA v. Union of India:
The court recognized the right of transgender people to decide their gender.They also directed the Center and state governments to legally recognize their gender like male, female or third sex.

Deepika Singh v. India Central Administrative Tribunal:
Families recognized as "atypical", including queer (LGBTQ) marriages, did not fit into traditional parental roles

Challenges Faced By LGBTQ:
  • Employment: Sexual exposure in the workplace due to fear of losing a job.
  • Plans: They are denied access to social security programs such as health and pensions.
  • Lack of communication: Families often experience conflict between LGBT children and their parents.
  • Hate crimes: Isolation from society, and perpetrators of hate crimes.
  • Forced begging and human trafficking.
There is no right to adopt.
There is no legal recognition of marriage of homosexuals.

The fight for gay equality, recognition, gay marriage and citizenship has been long and ongoing. These court decisions have paved the way for legal recognition and equal opportunities for these communities. All of the opportunities that have been granted to this community are the result of these decisions. Currently, the LGBTQ community opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is currently being debated. This is also a long battle for this community to accept gay marriage.


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