HOMOSEXUALITY IN INDIA SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
TOPICS DISCUSSED :
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Introduction to Homosexuality
Sexual Rights
History & Hinduism
Literature
Cinema
Current Scenario
List of few gay activists in India
Presence of Gay Dating sites
Indian law
Social Acceptance
Field work
1) Survey on how much people know about homosexuality
& how much they accept it
2) Case study of ‘SAATHI’ – IIT Bombay’s on campus
LGBT support group
3) Case study of a Gay Alumni of IIT Delhi
4) Case study of “Close-set Gay student in IIT Delhi
5) Visiting Naaz Foundation
6) Visiting Samapathik Trust
7) Phone Interview of a Gay Activists - Harrish Iyer
INTRODUCTION TO HOMOSEXUALITY
INTRODUCTION TO HOMOSEXUALITY
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Who homosexuals are ?
People with same-sex attraction both sexuality
and emotionally, men having same sex attraction are
known as gays while women with same sex attraction
are called lesbians
Reason for same-sex attraction ?
Some recent studies done tell that brains of a gay guy
and a straight girl have very much similarities, Its by
birth neither by choice nor by upbringing, there
are instances where twin brothers had different kind
of sexual orientation – one of them was straight while
other was gay
Can you cure homosexuality ?
Its not a disease to be cured, there is no scientific
evidence over effectiveness over conversion therapies
rather there are ethical questions involved on those
therapies
SEXUAL RIGHTS
Sexual rights are those minimum standards that are required
for a person to experience and express their sexuality in a
positive manner. They can only be realized and enjoyed in
an environment that is free from discrimination, coercion and
violence. Choice and mutual consent are cornerstones of
such an environment.
They include the right to seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;
 sexuality education;
 respect for bodily integrity;
 choosing your partner;
 decide to be sexually active or not;
 sexual relations with mutual consent;
 marriage with mutual consent;
 decide whether or not, and when, to have children;
 the highest attainable standard of sexual health, including
 access to sexual and reproductive health care services;
 pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.
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History
&
Hinduism :-
DEPICTION OF GAY SEX
IN THE TEMPLE OF
VISWANATHA – KHAJURAHO
10TH CENTURY AD
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A sacred text, the 4th century Kama Sutra, emphasizes
pleasure as the aim of intercourse. It categorizes men
who desire other men as a “third nature,” further
subdivides them into masculine and feminine types, and
describes their lives and occupations (such as flower
sellers, masseurs and hairdressers). It provides a
detailed description of oral sex between men, and
also refers to long-term unions between men.
Hindus regard all beings as manifestations of one
universal Atman (Spirit),
Atman has no gender
Hindu texts have discussed variations in gender and
sexuality for over two millennia. Like the erotic sculptures
on ancient Hindu temples at Khajuraho and Konarak,
sacred texts in Sanskrit constitute irrefutable evidence that
the whole range of sexual behavior was known to
ancient Hindus
Homosexuality has been prevalent across the Indian
subcontinent throughout history, and that homosexuals
were not necessarily considered inferior in any way.
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When Europeans arrived in India, they were shocked
by Hinduism, which they termed idolatrous, and by
the range of sexual practices, including same-sex
relations, which they labeled licentious. British
colonial rulers wrote modern homophobia into
education, law and politics.
Most modern Hindus are ignorant of this rich history,
and believe the popular myth that
homosexuality was imported into India from
West
Rightwing Hindu groups, active both in India and the
U.S., who aim to remake Hinduism as a militant
nationalist religion, express virulent opposition to
homosexuality, inaccurately claiming that it
was unknown to ancient Hindus.
LITERATURE -
Kama sutra
Same Sex love in India –
Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai
LITERATURE 
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Ismat Chughtai’s “Lihaf” (The Quilt), was the subject of
an obscenity trial in the 1940s, for her delicate evocation of
the relationship between two women. It was much later, in
the 1980s and 1990s, that contemporary Indian writers
picked up from where Chughtai had left off.
Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi play, “Mitrachi Ghoshta,”
was considered revolutionary for the 1980s because it had a
lesbian protagonist — though it had a tragically
conservative ending by today’s standards, where the
protagonist commits suicide out of despair.
By 2003, R. Raj Rao’s novel, “The Boyfriend” had an
increasingly self-aware, assertive audience, even though
the police could still use creaking, colonial laws to
prosecute and homosexual men in India.
And there were first-person narratives too, such as
Bindumadhav Khire “Partner” in 2005, an account in
Marathi of growing up gay in middle-class Pune.
CINEMA :DUNNO Y…NA JAANE KYON(2010)
DOSTANA (2008)
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Homosexuality has just recently entered the
mainstream cinema ,indian cinema has evolved a lot –
depiction of first gay kiss in Dunno Y(2010), gay
kiss by Rahul Bose in I am(2011) , I am(2011)
winning the national award indicate the
changes
Mumbai has one of its biggest pride events – Kashish
Mumbai Queer Film Festivalwhich was first held
in 2010 in April and the next year from May 25–29,
2011. It is the first queer film festival that is
held in a mainstream multiplex theater and screens
LGBT films from all over the world. It has been
recognized by Interpride as a pride event in India.
Since last few years, specially after the movie
DOSTANA – people are talking about it, but the
films are actually stereotyping gays in feminine
way, Very few films have actually touched the
topic well, rest all are just showing it with
humour.
CURRENT SCENARIO :-
Delhi's fourth gay pride parade, held on
Nov 28th, 2011
CURRENT SCENARIO :~4 % of any population is gay, the for India LGBT
population comes around 5 crores
 Gay pride parades have started happening
in major indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi,
Bangalore, Kolkata, etc every year with
attendance of few thousands
 Days after the 2 July 2009 Delhi High Court
verdict legalizing homosexuality, Pink Pages,
India's first online LGBT magazine was released.
 On 16 April 2009, India's first gay magazine
Bombay Dost, was re-launched in Mumbai.
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LIST OF FEW GAY ACTIVISTS IN INDIA -
Ashok Rao Kavi
Anjali Gopalan
Sridhar
Rangayan
Harrish Iyer
In 2005, Prince Manvendra
Singh Gohil, who hails from
Rajpipla in the Gujarat,
publicly came out as gay. He
was quickly focussed by the
Indian and the world media as
the first openly gay royal. He
appeared on the BBC Three's
Undercover Princes.
Gay Magazines Published in India :-
Pink Pages
Bombay Dost
PRESENCE OF GAY DATING SITES -
Homepage of Planetromeo – a famous gay dating site operated in India
Like wise social networking sites, there are many
gay dating sites operated in India
 These dating sites provide a safer way for
‘close-set’ gays to meet-up with local guys
with same sexual orientation
 Some famous dating sites like planet-romeo have
around 93000 members from all over India ,
12000 of them are from Delhi alone, there are
members even from small towns with few lacks of
population
 With internet getting penetrated deeper
into the rural areas, number of members is
steadily increasing
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LAW 
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British made section 377 in 1860 which criminalized
homo-sex between two adults, After Independence like
many other laws this law was also blindly copied in
the constitution.
Legal challenges to Section 377
On 2 July 2009, in the case of Naaz foundation , the
High Court of Delhi struck down much of S. 377 of the
Indian Penal Code as being unconstitutional. The
Court held that to the extent S. 377 criminalised
consensual non-vaginal sexual acts between adults, it
violated an individual's fundamental rights to
equality before the law, freedom from discrimination
and to life and personal liberty under Articles 14, 15
and 21 of the Constitution of India
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J
Mukhopadhaya, which is hearing a bunch of
appeals filed against decriminalisation of gay
sex, said that –
“ these things should be seen in the light of
changing times where phenomena of live-in
relationship, single parents and artificial
fertilisation have become normal. ’’
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Several organisations have come out in support
of decriminalising homosexuality in India, and
pushed for tolerance and social equality for
lesbian , gay, bisexual , and transgendered
people.
CURRENT LAW :Same-sex sexual activity legal
since 2009
Equal age of consent
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Anti-discrimination laws in
employment
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Anti-discrimination laws in the
provision of goods and services
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Anti-discrimination laws in all
other areas (incl. indirect
discrimination, hate speech)
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Same-sex marriage
(one single case in 2011)
Recognition of same-sex couples
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Both joint and step adoption by
same-sex couples
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Gays allowed to serve in the
military
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Right to change legal gender
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Access to IVF for lesbians
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MSMs allowed to donate blood
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SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE -
Exceptional case of Father of a gay
coming out for
The support during Chennai Pride
Parade
The law may change but most important thing with
homosexuals’ life is the Social acceptance –
Acceptance from family, relatives, friends, etc
 First of all Indian society is mum about sex , so
homosexuality was not discussed publically even at
the national level untill quiet recently – there is
absolute silence about this issue at family level
 Recent Survey done by Humsafar trust reveals that
70% of gay men in Mumbai due to peer pressure end
up marrying a girl !
 Case study –
Keshav Mitra (32), a software engineer was married to
Mohini in 2004. Keshav could not respond to Mohini for seven
odd months after marriage. This led to a lot of confusion and
turmoil in their married life. The duo often ended up
quarrelling and sexual frustration kept building up between
them. One day, Keshav broke the news to Mohini that he was
gay and had married her on account of family pressure but
he could not get rid of his feelings for Hemant, a friend from
college. He also said that he was romantically involved with
Hemant for two years.
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FIELD WORK
1) Survey
 2) Case study of SAATHI – IIT Bombay
 3)Case study of a Gay Alumni of IIT Delhi
 4) Case Study of life of ‘Close-set’ Gay Student of
IIT-Delhi
 5) Visit to Naaz foundation
 6) Visit to Samapathik Trust
 7) Interview of gay activist - Harrish Iyer
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SURVEY :
Sample – around 100 students of IIT-Delhi in a
age group of 17-24
1) Is there difference between homosexuals and
transgenders ?
don’t
no
4%
know
5%
yes
91%
2) Is homosexual behaviour morally wrong ?
don’t
know
8%
no
74%
yes
18%
3) In India is homosexuality derived from West ?
don’t know
19%
no
58%
yes
23%
4) In India is there sudden increase in gay
population ?
don’t know
26%
yes, earlier it
was not there
16%
no, but people
are becoming
open about it
58%
5) In future suppose your child turns
homosexual then will you support his/her same
sex marriage?
Cant decide at
this point of time
17%
No, will take
him to
psychiatrist/will
care that my son
doesn’t turns
gay
47%
yes
36%
SAATHI – IIT BOMBAY’S ON CAMPUS
STUDENTS LGBT SUPPORT GROUP
In Aug 2011 few IITB students and alumni got permission from IITB director to
start an on compus LGBT support group in the camus, thus became country’s
first on campus LGBT support group
The Support group is aimed at providing a safe and comfortable way for close-set
Homosexual students in the campus to come to terms with their sexual
orientation
This group virtually works through its
Website, Facebook page & google group
Google group now has 140 members –
Both straights & queers
The group conducts some lgbt related
Events like movie screening , essay writing
, poster making, etc
Nivvedan S. – Co-founder of SAATHI
3rd year Computer Science
So IITB campus has started becoming
aware of LGBT issues & increasing
number of homosexual students are
becoming open about their sexual
orientation
CASE STUDY OF A GAY ALUMNI OF IITDELHI
Balachandran Ramiah
B-Tech Mech Engg
Batch of 1982
RECOLLECTION OF BEING A GAY STUDENT AT
IIT DELHI FROM THE 80S
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I was only 16 when I joined (last batch of the five year course) the
hostel; however, I was aware of my sexual orientation as gay since
I was 15 and was very comfortable about the same. I had some
trepidation joining the boys hostel at such a young age (but was
comforted by the fact that my parents and home were only a
couple of miles away at Chanakyapuri).
I went through the usual ragging period at the hostel (nothing
very severe as I was a mild mannered and well behaved kid who
was generally liked by all); during my years at the hostel, I did
not as such face any harassment by the fellow hostel mates as I
was not óut publicly about my orientation though I was
teased off and on for being too mild and a bit sissy; there were
however some rumours about my liking boys but nothing serious
as I was a topper in my class and people regarded me highly for
my academic capabilities.
It was true however that I used to feel extremely isolated and
lonely as I could not relate to the other boys interest in
girls, their small talk and I could not share my feelings
with anybody. I was also not aware of any other gay student on
campus or in my class (I am sure they were there, but everybody
was in the closet and hiding); there was a very effeminate boy in
my class but he chose not to stay in the hostel and became a day
student.
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I used to go through periods of depression, unable to
socialise with people being open about who I was and
it would have been great, in retrospect, if I had had a group
or a community space on campus where I could have been
myself, out as gay and pursuing my social interests. This
did not happen till much later till I was a PhD student
at the University of Pennsylvania in the US where
there was a LGBT support group for students on
campus with library material and a counsellor for
consultation and so on
I do strongly believe that keeping with the times, IIT
Delhi must facilitate an LGBT student group on
campus to allow gay students –both men and women –
a support space that will ensure that this minority group
feels as much a part of campus activities as any other
group. This has already happened on many campuses of
higher learning in India, including IIT Bombay and I feel it
is high time IIT Delhi facilitated the same
In solidarity
BalachandranRamiah
Mechanical Enginnering, B Tech, IIT D Class 0f 1982
CASE STUDY OF “CLOSE-SET” GAY
STUDENT IN IIT DELHI
Hello friends,
I am a PhD student In IIT Delhi, I am 29 years
old and I am a gay by sexual orientation, but I would
prefer not to reveal my identity,
I have gone through that phase when you feel an
inferiority complex and disgust with your own self
because of your sexual orientation, At times I used to
hate myself and even thought of committing suicide
I feel most LGBTs go through same emotions
and feelings,
So if there is an LGBT support group which will
provide emotional support to students so that they
can concentrate on their studies
VISIT TO NAAZ FOUNDATION :-
 This
NGO is dedicated to the fight against
the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India.
 Started in 1994 by Anjali Gopalan
 The foundation currently works on issues
of sexuality rights.
 Her main concern is providing
quality care to those living with the
HIV infection, which she has done
through founding and managing a care
home for HIV-positive children and
women.
 In 2000 she opened the country’s first
holistic home cares for orphaned
vulnerable HIV+ children and Women.
BINDU MADHAV KHIRE
GAY ACTIVIST (PUNE)
VISIT TO SAMAPATHIK TRUST
Bindu Madhav Khire runs an
NGO – Samapathik Trust working
on HIV in homosexuals
He also carries counselling for
Closeset gays who want to come out
To their parents
He has written two books in Marathi
-Partner & Indradhanu over gay
issues
Pune’s 1st pride parade in Dec 2011
Was organised under his guidance
HARRISH IYER –
GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST (MUMBAI)
(INTERVIEW ON PHONE)
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What exactly homosexuality is ? Is it
something un-natural?
> Homosexuality is just the alternate form of
sexuality as hetero-sexuality is & its observed in
large no of animal species hence its quite natural
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Some gay activists like you are fighting for
gay rights , What exactly the rights are ?
> We are actually fighting against discrimination,
against prejudice that gays are guys doing only sex,
but are normal people, we are fighting for basic
human rights of equality and freedom
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Should gay marriages be allowed in India ?
> It should be allowed but its too early in india
and many things are more important like social
acceptance, thing to be in family and not to be
thrown out of family just because you are gay, its
long way for India but changes are happening and
they are quiet visible

Homosexuality in India – Sociological Perspective