India

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: legal
  • Legal gender recognition: possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: possible
  • Actions related to SOGI at UN: abstained from voting on IE SOGI in 2019

 

Overview

India has made progress on LGBTIQ issues over the last decade; however, there are still barriers to full LGBTIQ equality. In 2018, the Indian Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relations. Tolerance and acceptance of LGBTIQ people as well as the visibility and prominence of LGBTIQ events has, as a result, improved, particularly in large cities. Despite these steps forward, much of India is conservative and same sex attraction is largely seen as socially unacceptable for both men and women. Furthermore, there are great differences across different states of the country, depending on their cultural and religious contexts. In India, there are no protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, nor is there any legal recognition of same-sex couples. LGBTIQ people face discrimination, violence, and social rejection, particularly in rural and conservative Muslim areas.

Transgender and intersex Indians have more legal protections than lesbian, gay, or bisexual Indians, but experience greater discrimination and stigmatization. Hijras are members of a community of intersex, transgender, and gender non-conforming people, who play a specific cultural role in India. Since 2014, India legally recognizes a “third gender” and parliament has passed several bills protecting Hijra, transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people from discrimination. However, this requires transgender people to register with the government. In spite of these legal protections, public attitudes are still largely negative. As a result, such Indians are vulnerable to violent attacks and are often stigmatized, discriminated against, and isolated from the rest of Indian society.