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Homosexuality in Indian Society: A

Sociological Study
The word homosexuals literally means as ‘of the same sex, being a hybrid of the Greek prefix
homo meaning ‘same’ and Latin root meaning ‘sex’. The term homosexuality appears in print
for the first time in 1869 in an anonymous German pamphlet paragraph 142 of the Prussian
penal Code and its maintenance paragraph 152 of the Draft of a Penal Code for North
German Confederation written by Karl Maria Kertbeny. This pamphlet advocated the repeal
of Prussia’s sodomy laws. (Kidwai)(2000). Homosexuality has meant different things to
different people at different point in time. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized
by sexual attraction or romantic love exclusively for people who are identified as being of the
same sex. People who are homosexual, particularly males are known as ‘gay’, gay females
are known as ‘lesbians’. Social constructionist like Michel Foucault, Lillian Faderman, David
Halperin among others have argued that the categories of homosexuality and heterosexuality
evolved only in the late 19 century. On the other hand an essentialist like John Boswell
argues that although such categories existed, terms other than homosexuality were used to
denote sexual – emotional preferences between men or between women. Researchers
working on the history of homosexuality had to search for a variety of expressions and
definitions to include: the sexual acts between members of the same sex; men who
occasionally have sex with other man, but otherwise live heterosexual life; men whose sexual
preference from the core of their identity; same-sex intercourse that occurs in the course of
subterfuge or as a result of frustration or desperation; liaisons involving those who consider
neither males nor females and sexual acts between same sex but different gendered partners.
(Joseph)(2005). So one went from defining homosexuality as sexual act with same sex to act
of having sexual act due to reason with same sex, may or may not be permanent.
The issue of homosexuality in India is controversial .It is complex matter because of many
types of religious life, living in India. It is often said by the people that same-sex relationship
and love is a western import. However same-sex relationship and love is not an alien import
but rather has existed in Indian society throughout the ages. Same-sex love has existed in
Indian society and culture. In preindustrial societies also homosexuality was generally
accepted by the lower classes while some members of upper classes considered it immoral.
Further with the rise of urbanization and the nuclear family, homosexuality became much less

tolerated and even outlawed in some cases. The sexual orientation in pre modern era as
depicted in love poetry and paintings and even in historic figures such as Alexander the great,
Plato, Hadrian, Virgil, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Christopher Marlowe included
or were centred upon relationship with people of their own gender. (htt2)
Thus homosexuality is not a new phenomenon. Even instances of homosexuality are
available in Hindu Mythology. (htt3) The literature drawn from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim,
and modern fiction also testifies the presence of same-sex love in various forms. Ancient
texts such as the Manu Smriti, Arthashastra, Kamasutra, Upanishads and Puranas refer to
homosexuality. (Choundhary)(1996). Further there are reports that same-sex activities are
common among sannyasins, who cannot marry. Thus instances of homosexuality are
available in historical and mythological texts world over and India is not an exception to this.
The Cultural residues of homosexuality can be seen even today in a small village Angaar in
Gujarat where amongst the Kutchi community a ritualistic transgender marriage is performed
during the time of Holi festival. This wedding which is being celebrated every year, for the
past 150 years is unusual because Ishaak, the bridegroom and Ishakali the bride are both men.
Thus the history is filled with evidences proving the existence of homosexuality in past.
Whereas in the past 10 years world over, for the lesbian and gay rights, we find that the legal
initiatives have shifted from the right to be privately sexual, that is the right to have same-sex
relationships at all, to the right to be individual civic subjects, protected from discrimination
in the work place and in the provision of services, toward the right to have relationships given
status by the law. This shift in rights-focus, from decriminalization, to civil protection, to
civil recognition is, not entirely a linear one. Thus in recent years a number of jurisdictions
had relaxed or eliminated laws curbing homosexual behaviour. (Sadock)(2009)
Indian Society and Homosexuality
Homosexuality is a social stigma which is still prevalent in many countries including India.
Indian society which is considered to be traditional and collective in many ways is also not
impervious to this difference among humans. Today the society is experiencing changes in
traditional cultural values, customs and mind-sets; despite this the mind-set about
homosexuality is still ambiguous and the society today seems to be at the crossroads. In
traditional Indian society, public discussions on sexuality as well as sexual preferences are
still a taboo. People feel hesitant to talk about sex education, sexual practices, and preventive
means etc. Though heterosexuality is well accepted in the society, but still people do not feel
comfortable to discuss it openly. In such a scenario expecting understanding and acceptance

of homosexuality is difficult. Of late however, the society is opening up and becoming
somewhat liberal mostly in urban and metropolitan areas. In India, so far no such progressive
changes have taken place as regards social and legal recognition and homosexuals remain
victims of violence in different forms supported by the state and society.
Deeply-embedded homophobic and transphobic attitudes, often combined with a lack of
adequate legal protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender
identity, expose many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of all ages and
in all regions of the world to egregious violations of their human rights. They are
discriminated against in the labour market, in schools and in hospitals, mistreated and
disowned by their own families. They are singled out for physical attack – beaten, sexually
assaulted, tortured and killed. And in some 76 countries, discriminatory laws criminalize
private, consensual same-sex relationships – exposing individuals to the risk of arrest,
prosecution, imprisonment — even, in at least five countries, the death penalty.

‘Homosexuality in Ancient India’ is an essay written by Dr. Devdutta Pattanaik (2001) in

which he discusses the existence of homosexuality from ancient India. He discusses about the
definition of ‘homosexuality’ in the context of early 20th century. He further shows the
existence of concept of homosexuality around the world. Further he turns to the Indian
scenario to find the existence of homosexuality, for which he turns to three sources: images
on temple walls, sacred narratives and ancient law books. The author concludes it essay by
leaving two questions behind as to how attitudes towards homosexuals in ancient India affect
modern-day attitudes. Is our approval or disapproval of same-sex affection and intercourse
dependent on ancient values?

“Homosexuality and India” (Jacob)(2012) is an article which starts with a positive aspect by
the referring the acceptance of homosexuals in various countries and by putting forth the fact
that there is no deference between a homosexual and a heterosexual in any manner. The
author further discusses the complexity of human sexuality due to various reasons such as the
associated stigma and social repression, the unrepresentative samples surveyed and the failure
to distinguish desire, behaviour and identity etc. The author laid down various theories, views
of anthropologist etc. about the factors affecting sexuality. In addition to this the author
discusses the problems homosexuals have to face due to the large dominating heterosexual

world. The author describes the ways through which homosexuals could be helped in getting
over these issues.

“The Ethics of Research into the Cause(s) of Homosexuality” Udo Schüklenk and Michael
Ristow (2010) gives a brief overview on the current state of the art of biomedical research on
homosexuality. It concludes that so far the cause(s) of homosexuality is (are) unknown and
that biomedical research has failed to provide evidence for a possible causation of
homosexuality. However, the author concludes that homosexuality is not merely a social
construction and the quest for its cause is intelligible. It is less clear, however, whether
research into the cause(s) of homosexuality should be done at all. The author explores the
different arguments brought forward in favour of doing this research and rejects all of them.
Furthermore, he argue that research into the causes of homosexuality is at the present time
unethical and should not be undertaken. Research into the causes of homosexuality assumes
more often than not that homosexuality is one or another form of mental illness or
undesirable deviance from the heterosexual norm, and should be cured. These views will be
criticized as heterosexist.
“Is Homosexuality Hormonally Determined?” Lynda I. A. Birke (2012) author suggests there
is insufficient evidence to conclude that homosexuality has endocrine bases. The search for
hormonal correlates occurs within a model that views homosexuality as a medical problem
requiring biological explanations and a program of treatment or prevention. This search is
heavily rooted in popular conception of gender-appropriate behaviour, as well as in naïve
concepts of the significance of hormonal changes. Two kinds of hormonal study are
considered her. Researchers may either (a) investigate hormone levels in adult populations or
(b) investigate hypotheses of behavioural determination by prenatal hormones. Much of the
latter information derives for animal studies, commonly on the laboratory rat. This paper
questions the validity of assumptions underlying these studies- assumptions about the
behaviour of the laboratory rat itself and, more importantly, abbot the legitimacy of this
animal as a model of human behaviour. It is suggested that, although such hypotheses are
naïve, their current popularity arises for their potential role in “controlling” homosexuality.
“Homosexuality may be caused by chemical modifications to DNA” Michale Balter (2015)
analysis the various scientific reasons which has evolved from years suggesting the cause of
homosexuality. The author has focused its article on a recent study of male twins by Tuck
Ngun. It finds that epigenetic effects, chemical modifications of the human genome that alter
gene activity without changing the DNA sequence, may have a major influence on sexual

orientation. Though the accuracy of the study is only 70% and is limited to study sample and
not wider population but it suggest that the cause behind homosexuality is biological factor
and not social factors.
“Homosexuality is Genetic: Strongest Evidence Yet” By Brian Stallard (2014) reviewed the a
new and ground breaking study recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine,
which details how a study of more than 800 gay participants shared notable patterns in two
regions of the human genome - one on the X chromosome and one on chromosome. Though
the first study of its kind to boast such a robust sample size and also be published in a
scientific peer-reviewed paper but various other researcher stress that regardless of genetic
preference, genes are but a factor in the greater picture, taking into account that social and
cultural pressures can still effect an individual's sexual lifestyle, no matter how they were
While hundreds of articles, essays and editorials are written emphasising the rights of
homosexual by putting forth various studies and research to show that homosexuals are same
to heterosexuals but the article “A fresh look at homosexuality” written by Abraham
Verghese had a different approach of emphasising about the rights of the homosexuals.
Abraham has written this article in response of the article “Homosexuality and India”
(reviewed above) and “The reversal on Gay Rights in India” by T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao
and K. S. Jacob (2014). In the article the author has agreed with a positive perception of
homosexuality but did not accept the position that homosexuality is a normal psychosexual
development. Homosexuality is not normal statistically and biologically. Even though the
author has distinguished the homosexuals from the heterosexual but he has emphasised that
they also has a legal right like any other living being. Homosexuality is neither a sin nor a
crime, the freedom of those with a homosexual orientation to live a happy life should not be
interfered with.

“Negotiating Sexual ‘Otherness’: An Exploratory Study of Harassment on Male Homosexuals

in Metropolitan Kolkata, India” Ganguli Dibyendu (2013) is an empirical study explores the
harassment and the negotiation of spaces of male homosexuals and to what extent harassment
and negotiation effect on their lives within the context of life situations, aspirations and
achievements. This research situates sexual “Otherness” as pivotal in understanding the
harassment of male homosexuals. Data are derived from an exploratory study among self-
identified homosexual men. Result shows that male homosexuals are facing harassments
from various agents of society. The homo-hetero dichotomy to the realm of sexuality makes a

marginal space for male homosexuals. The repression from heteronormative society increases
their mobility and makes them conscious politically. As a result, they make solidarity unit
among themselves to protect their rights and privileges. However, the study suggests about
the importance of structural change concerning the sexuality issues.

“Problems Faced by LGBT People in the Mainstream Society: Some Recommendations”

Chatterjee Subhrajit(2014) this research paper discusses the concept of homosexuality. The
paper is centred towards the problems faced by the homosexuals, such intolerance,
discrimination, harassment, and the threat of violence due to their sexual orientation, than
those that identify themselves as heterosexual. Highlighting some major problems faced by
LGBT people across the world is the theme of this article.

“The torture I face being a homosexual in India” (Arora)(2014) depict a clear view of the
problems faced by a homosexual in Indian society. The article compares the attitude and
mentality of Indian people with that of other countries. He refers to the lack of the knowledge
of the leaders of our nation who blame homosexuals for the rise in AIDS. The author even
refers to mythological view which is considering the homosexuals as sinner. The article ends
with highlighting the consequence of not accepting the homosexuals.

In “Homosexuality In India – The Invisible Conflict” (Parasar)(2010) has analysed the

homosexual marriages in the Indian context, as an invisible conflict which is successfully
kept under cover. It also attempts to describe and explain various aspects of Homosexuality
including the evolution, the reasons, the societal attitude and reactions towards such relations.
The author also draws insight from the countries where homosexual marriages are legalized
and also highlights their outcome out of legalising Homosexual relations. At the end taking
fair and strong arguments both in favour and in against the author concludes about the
possibility of legalizing homosexual marriages in India based on empirical and theoretical
facts and evidences. The author concludes that the demand for legalizing homosexual
marriage is somehow overlooked and ignored in India. Though in near future the stereotype
attitude of society for marriage as heterosexual institution associated with procreation and
rearing of children may also include homosexual marriages where love between the partners
will be given importance rather than the gender. But at the same time giving social and legal
recognition is not that easy in this traditional society as it has been in the western societies
but in any case to ignore this emerging conflict in the institution of family and marriage will
be short sighted and can have fatal results if not handled sensitively.

Social Construction Theory
FOUCAULT'S IDEA that even the deepest-lying sexual categories are social constructs has
surely been one of the most powerful developments on the intellectual horizon in recent
decades. One of the most seductive claims to issue from this work is the claim that the very
category "homosexual" is a social construct which is scarcely more than a hundred years old.
In ‘Histoire de la Sexualité’ Michel Foucault argues that homosexuality is a social construct
and does not automatically render it evil or necessitate our rejection of it. Creative beings that
we are, a great deal of our human condition is designed by man rather than merely discovered
by him. The claim by Foucault is restated and defended with great clarity and vigour by
David Halperin in his book One Hundred Years of Homosexuality. The social Construction
Theory says that a person who describes themself as homo or hetero and orients their sexual
behaviour toward only one gender does this only because their culture has fed them certain
ideas about sexual identity. In a truly liberated society where same-sex desire was not
stigmatized, everyone would feel and acknowledge feeling same-sex sexual desire, and
exclusive heterosexuality would fade out of existence. Thus, they believe that in order to win
queer rights we have to also teach how to liberate their own queer potential. Social
constructionists typically try to promote queer rights by talking about other cultures where all
members of the society were expected to have same-sex relationships, and by asking to
imagine that they'd grown up in a society like that, and by trying to get face to face and
accept their own queer potential and see same-sex desire as a natural part of what all humans
are capable of experiencing. Social constructionists believe that although same-sex love has
occurred in all cultures, the concept of certain people being predisposed to love only one sex
is an inaccurate concept invented by modern Western society, and does not accurately
describe how human sexuality develops in other cultures.
Essentialist theory
Essentialists believe that the concept of people being "homosexuals" and "heterosexuals"
accurately reflects an unchangeable reality which holds true for all cultures in all of history,
and thus that a person's homosexuality or heterosexuality constitutes an unchangeable
"essence" rather than a socially constructed characteristic. Essentialism presumes that sexual
traits, such as attraction, orientation, physical appearance and mannerisms, exist as an
inherent part of the individual. In the essentialist view, various sexualities can exist in any

society at any time. People are born with a predetermined sexual preference, and in any
culture a given percentage of the population will exhibit a certain sexual identity. Plato
described this phenomenon in his Symposium. In a speech attributed to Aristophanes, he
describes three essential sexual identities, each distinguished by the object of the individual’s
attraction. In American culture today, we define them as heterosexuals, male homosexuals,
and lesbians.
In their efforts to fight homophobia, essentialists tend to start with the assumption that queers
will always be in the 10% minority and that heterosexuals will always be in the 90%
majority. Essentialists typically try to promote queer rights through arguing that gay people
"can't help" being queer and saying that giving queer people equal rights to marry and not be
discriminated against, will not cause anyone else to become queer. Essentialist queer activists
typically get mad at social constructionist queer activists for being too threatening to actively
trying to convert to queerness.
Deviance theory
Deviance is any behaviour that violates social norms, and is usually of sufficient severity to
warrant disapproval from the majority of society. Deviance can be criminal or non‐criminal.
The sociological discipline that deals with crime (behaviour that violates laws) is criminology
(also known as criminal justice). People who engage in deviant behaviour are referred to as
deviants. Homosexuality is not accepted in so many places around the world (Ericsion)(2002)
and this has made the gay culture deviant. Thus, the gay culture is deviant because in some
places it has made the societies, government constitutions to rethink and redefine the moral
boundaries in place. The culture as it is going against so many know defined social ethics
rules. The gay culture deviant as it is faced so many threats about its publicity. Homosexual
like a deviant is being excluded from society as people have lost jobs, disowned by families
and at other times even their lives have been threatened.
Most cultures usually may not always agree on what to do with people who push beyond its
acceptable ways in doing things. In fact, norms and accepted social ethics violation that gain
enough support may at times become acceptable. The classical justification of this fact is that
a deviant culture will always push the moral boundaries of a society giving alternatives and
new options to the status quo and promoting change.
Medicalization of Deviance
According to (Horwitz)(1981), the medicalization of deviance "refers to the tendency to
define deviance as a manifestation of an underlying sickness, to find the causes of deviance
within the individual rather than in the social structure, and to treat deviance through the
intervention of medical personnel”. Homosexuality has been viewed through the lens of
medicalization. However he further indicates that "medicalization should not be regarded as
the sole, or possibly, even the major trend in deviance definition but rather as one of a
number of sometimes conflicting developments in the societal reaction to deviance"
There has always been a close fit between social norms and medical diagnosis and treatment.
Homosexuality which has travelled from sin to sickness is illegal in various countries of the
world. Even until 1973 American Psychiatric Association officially included homosexuality
in its list of mental disorders, the body politic feared homosexual behaviour. (Stein)(1996)
This decision of the association was followed by several years of heightened protest focused
on the APA—including disruption of national meetings—that won the advocacy of
increasingly prominent psychiatrist Robert Spitzer. Throughout the 1960s, psychiatrists
Irving Bieber and Charles Socarides were regularly quoted in newspapers and magazines,
arguing that homosexual desire was a form of psychosocial maladjustment, resulting from
childhood. And with the popularization of behavioral therapies in the 1960s and ’70s also
came new attempts to treat homosexuality, in the form of “aversion” therapies, including
electric shocks. (Byers)(2015) Steinach in 1917 was the first to use a surgical technique to
attempt to cure homosexuality. First, he performed a unilateral castration on a homosexual
man, then transplanted testicular tissue from a heterosexual man into the castrated patient. He
did this in the belief; prevalent in those times, that homosexuality was a form of
hermaphrodism. (Stein)(1996) Psychologists and psychiatrists attempted to cure homosexuals
of their sexual desires by various means. Aversion therapy ended only because it was no
longer fashionable in the egalitarian 1970s. Psychotherapists are now a positive force in the
lives of gay people, and loving relationships between gay men and between lesbians are
reinforced by gay-affirmative therapists
Parental Manipulation Theory (Heffner)(2003)
Within the realm of psychology there exists the Parental Manipulation Theory, which states
that one or both parents of a child work to control their offspring in order to promote their
(the parental) evolutionary fitness. This control allows for genes to be passed onto the next
generation, ensuring the survival of the parental genes. Psychologists believe that in this
theory parents pressure their children to engage in heterosexual behaviour to facilitate the
passage of their genes into the next generation. However, the Kin-Selection Theory states that
it does not matter how the genes are passed down into the next generation, as long as they are
in some form. If a child engages in homosexual relations though, the only way they will be
able to have a baby, would be to adopt, therefore, the original parental genes would not be

passed down then. It seems to me then that the Parental Manipulation Theory would be the
most likely scenario for parents to adopt if they are concerned with the transmission of their

Homosexuality is a sexual or aesthetic (platonic) relation of the representatives of the same

sex. The attitude of the public towards homosexuality is extremely different: there are people
who support it or are simply tolerant about it; the others are radically against of
homosexuality supporting their idea with the religious views and cultural aspects.
Homosexuality has been one of the recent most debated topics all across the world. The topic
gained its highlight in India after the landmark judgment of Delhi High Court which
decriminalised homosexuality and struck down Section 377 of I.P.C. which criminalizes
unnatural activities. However the judgement was overruled by the Supreme Court. The
question that has for long been in society's crosshairs, homosexuality has been part of a very
simple debate: is it natural or is it a choice? Or are we moulded and shaped by environmental
factors and our upbringing? Or can homosexuality be treated with medicalization? These all
are the question which are detrimental is deciding the rights of a section of society i.e.
homosexuals, which is as important part of our society as heterosexuals are. These all
unanswered question or conflicting answers has led to this research work.

Study of judgment, stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all show that
gay men and lesbians functions every bit as well as heterosexuals. Neither homosexuality is
an individual choice. Research (Ballew)(2006) suggest that the homosexual orientation is in
place very early in the life cycle, possibly even before birth. Contrary to what some imply,
the incidence of homosexuality in a population does not appear to change with new moral
codes or social mores. And then there is the diametrically opposed argument stating that
individuals develop to become homosexuals as a result of environmental factors or
upbringing. The divergent views on such a delicate matter needs to be addressed with a lot of
care, sensitivity and intellectual and moral integrity. The research paper will add to the notion
of scientific claims of homosexuality being genetic through analysis of various Scientifics
theories and newly much popularised twin test.

India is one of about 75 countries that outlaw homosexuality. Section 377 imposes a 10-year
sentence for gay sex. Although that is seldom enforced, the homosexual community has long
complained of harassment by law enforcement authorities. In a recent incident 13 people

were arrested in Hassan in Karnataka by the police under section 377. The police went to the
homes of some of those arrested saying that they were from a HIV Prevention unit. Then they
coerced these people into naming a few others and arrested them as well. The police have
repeatedly shown its insensitivity towards the LGBT community. Even in the Pinki Pramanik
case, who identifies herself as female, they put her in a prison cell with male inmates.
(Madhukalya)(2013).With the rising biological discoveries and movements by the activist
and various incidents of atrocities faced by the homosexuals, decriminalising Section 377 is
need of hour.


The objectives which the research paper deals with are:

 What is the genesis of homosexuality in the society?

 Do practising or non- practicing homosexuals have option to choose to have different
 What is the impact of family, societal values and norms on the lives of sexual minorities
is needed to be explored.
 What are the hindrance or rational and various view-points about legalising
homosexuality and striking out Section 377 off I.P.C?
 The society is opening up and becoming somewhat liberal mostly in urban and
metropolitan areas. Changes in Indian law in past few years from decriminalizing the IPC
377 (the law under Indian Penal Code which considered carnal sexual intercourse as a
criminal offence) and then recriminalizing the same had initiated the changes in Indian
value system. But the most important questions are: has it really changed the stigma of
homosexuality in India?
 Is it really breaking the barriers between the sexual minorities and heterosexual society?


Legal status of Homosexuality in India

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (1860) relates to Unnatural Offences and includes
homosexuality within its domain. In India this Law relating to homosexuality was adopted
from the British penal code dating to 19th century. Section 377 states:

“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man,
woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”
Similarly section 292 of IPC refers to obscenity and there is ample scope to include
homosexuality under this section.
Also section 294 of Indian Penal Code, which penalizes any kind of "obscene behaviour in
public", is also used against gay men. It is important to note here that in England the offence
of homosexuality between consenting partners has been abolished by the Sexual Offenders
Act 1967 (that is in the country of origin of this law) whereas in India, the consent is quiet
immaterial for constituting an offence as defined under this section. Thus in India it is
primarily section 377 which explains and defines unnatural offences. It is this section which
makes Homosexuality illegal with life imprisonment or with imprisonment for ten years with
Cases under Section 377

In the history of the statute from, 1860 to 1992 there were only 30 cases in the High Courts
and Supreme Court. Out of these 30 cases, 18 were non-consensual, 4 were consensual of
which 3 were before 1940 and 8 were unspecified and 15 out of 30 cases registered were
assault on minors. In a judgement (Fazal Rab Vs State of Bihar) the Supreme Court was
dealing with a case where a man had homosexual relations with a boy with the consent of the
boy. The Supreme Court in 1983 observed that: 'the offence is one under Sec. 377, IPC which
implies sexual perversity. Considering the consent of the boy, the Supreme Court reduced the
sentence from 3 years rigorous imprisonment to six months rigorous imprisonment.
In 1992, 18 men were arrested from a park in New Delhi on the suspicion that they were
homosexuals. After protest and demonstration by gays, lesbians and human rights groups,
they were released from police custody after filing a petty case against them. In fact they
were not indicated under Sec. 377 but under the provision of public nuisance under the Delhi
Police Act.
In 2004, a parcel containing a few copies of gay and lesbian magazines for the South Asians
from the US was sent to a gay group in Calcutta for distribution to subscribers was
confiscated by the Customs authority under Section 292 of IPC. They contended that as per
law this publication amounts to obscenity and offensive to the morality of the country. This
case was closed when the addressee discarded the parcel seeing no way out.

In a recent case a highly educated person committed this offence, the Supreme Court having
regard to his loss of service and other consequences to his career following the offence let
him off with a sentence of two months' imprisonment.
In yet another case the Supreme Court reduced the sentence of the accused to six months
imprisonment as the accused while committing sodomy did not use force on the boy.
In a case of Himachal Pradesh where a truck driver twice committed sodomy on a boy in his
truck, a sentence of one year's imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500.00 were imposed on the
Further the Naz foundation in filed a writ petition in Delhi High Court challenging the
validity of Section 377 of IPC. On July 2nd 2009 the Delhi High Court passed landmark
judgment decriminalising s.377. Following this 15 special leave petition was filed in
Supreme Court by mostly faith based and religious group from all parts of the country. On
December 11 2013 the Supreme Court set aside the 2009 order of decriminalising s.377. On
May 8th 2014 a new right group based in Delhi, LGBT Professional’s Network, decided to
appeal against SC order. All these instances indicate that the actual sentence imposed under
this section is not usually heavy and the section is invoked rarely. The decriminalisation of
Section 377 though latter overruled shows that recognising homosexuality legal has no more
remained a foreign concept to India and Judiciary is not reluctant in recognising their rights.

LGBT Right in India: A Battle
Though homosexuals has been into picture from time in memorial but the initial fight for the
right has started 15 years ago when Naz foundation filed PIL in Delhi Hight Court seeking
legalisation of gay sex. The complete scenario is laid down in the following chart


Problems faced by homosexuals

Researches in the west showed that homosexual people are always target of victimization.
(Herek)(2009). People with homosexual identity experience bullying, verbal and physical
abuse, and hate crimes (Grossman)(2001). Lots of bulling happens in school and college level
due to the sexual identity of LGBT people in most part of world. As a consequence they are
either being killed or they commit suicide (Morillas)(2009). It also leads to school dropout,
poor attendance, poor performance and high mental health problems amongst LGBT
students. (Meyer)(2003) On the other hand it increase stress and make them vulnerable to
mental disorders. This negative reaction from the society does not only affect their health but
also affect the individuals self -perception such as low self-esteem (Carr)(2008). The review
show that numerous studies reported that sexual minorities suffer from various negative
consequences. However, studies lack data based on India sample. There is a special need to
study the stigma experiences and its impact on the lives of sexual minorities in India in the
context of constant change in Indian legal system and increased visibility of sexual minorities
in various parts of India in forms of pride parades. However some major problems faced by
LGBT people across the world (Chatterjee)(2014):
1. Marginalization and Social Exclusion: Marginalization is at the core of exclusion from
fulfilling and full social lives at individual, interpersonal and societal levels. People who are
marginalized have relatively little control over their lives and the resources available to them;
they may become stigmatized and are often at the receiving end of negative public attitudes.
Their opportunities to make social contributions may be limited and they may develop low
self-confidence and self -esteem and may become isolated. Social policies and practices may
mean they have relatively limited access to valued social resources such as education and
health services, housing, income, leisure activities and work. LGBT individuals may
experience multiple forms of marginalization-such as racism, sexism, poverty or other factors
– alongside homophobia or transphobia that negatively impact on mental health. The stigma
attached to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression that fall outside the expected
heterosexual, non-transgender norm relegates many LGBT people to the margins of society.
This marginalization often excludes LGBT people from many support structures, often
including their own families, leaving them with little access to services many others take for
granted, such as medical care, justice and legal services, and education. Marginalization and
bias around sexual orientation and gender identity and expression regularly prevent LGBT
people from accessing fundamental public services such as health care and housing and

contributes to significant health disparities. Marginalization of LGBT people often starts with
the family into which they were born.
2. Problems of Homophobia: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely
to experience intolerance, discrimination, harassment, and the threat of violence due to their
sexual orientation, than those that identify themselves as heterosexual. This is due to
homophobia. Some of the factors that may reinforce homophobia on a larger scale are moral,
religious, and political beliefs of a dominant group. Living in a homophobic environment
forces many LGBT people to conceal their sexuality, for fear of the negative reactions and
consequences of coming out .Actually there is no single definition for the term homophobia‘,
as it covers a wide range of different viewpoints and attitudes. Homophobia is generally
defined as hostility towards or fears of gay people, but can also refer to stigma arising from
social ideologies about homosexuality. Negative feelings or attitudes towards non-
heterosexual behaviour, identity, relationships and community, can lead to homophobic
behaviour and this is the root of the discrimination experienced by many lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
3. Psychological Distress: LGBT people face considerable levels of stigmatization,
discrimination and harassment in their daily lives. The majorities of LGBT people learn to
cope with this, particularly when they have the support of family and friends, and participate
with LGBT organizations and social networks. However, a significant number of LGBT
people, most particularly younger LGBT people, had to cope with stigmatization,
discrimination and harassment without support. Many also faced additional stress from
experiences such as very high levels of homophobic bullying in schools and physical and
verbal attacks. This had a negative impact on their mental health, leading to significant levels
of psychological distress, self-harm and suicidality. LGBT teenagers can be particularly
isolated, given that many will be exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity without
any support.
11. Victims of hate Crimes and Violence: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people
and those perceived to be LGBT are regularly targeted as victims of hate crimes and violence.
LGBT people experience stigma and discrimination across their life spans, and are targets of
sexual and physical assault, harassment and hate crimes. Additional factors that may impact
on mental health and well-being for LGBT people include the process of coming out‖
(sharing one‘s LGBTQ identity with others), gender transition, internalized oppression,
isolation and alienation, loss of family or social support, and the impact of HIV and AIDS.
However, LGBT individuals ‘experiences of violence and discrimination differ depending on

a number of factors including race, gender, income, immigration status and language barriers.
LGBT immigrants are more likely to face violence based on race and ethnicity and/or sexual
identity and/or gender identity.
4. Legal Injustice: LGBT communities have an important stake in legal injustice issues.
Specific groups within the LGBT community are disproportionately affected by violence and
discrimination, sometimes at the hands of law enforcement officials. In recent years, there
have been many documented instances of police brutality directed towards LGBT people in
the U.S. Many police departments continue to be accused of insensitivity, including not
appropriately responding to violence directed at LGBT people. In many instances LGBT
individuals are not legally protected from abusive and discriminatory actions, as many
oppressive legal ordinances and laws restrict LGBT-identified individuals from sharing the
same basic human rights and privileges as those who do not identify as LGBT.

In India from a scattered group of a few hundred, homosexuals are at present ten crore strong
and growing community evolving its own hip and happenings. They are weaving their way
from metros into semi urban societies both online as well as offline. This number is gradually
increasing with more and more such people coming out of the closet. This number is
gradually increasing with more and more such people coming out of the closet. While Delhi
and Mumbai (with five lakh gays each) and, to a lesser extent, Bangalore and Calcutta is the
hub of the Indian gay movement, people from smaller towns in Gujarat, Maharashtra and
Bihar are also coming out. (Shaleen Rakesh).
Acceptance of Homosexuality
 Attitude Regarding Social Recognition of Homosexuality (Parasar)
Parasar conducted empirical research on people’s attitude towards gay marriage and
homosexuals. The outcome of all the responses was that 74% agreed, 18% were against and
8% were neutral about acceptance of homosexuality.

 In a recent survey by International Men and Gender Equality Survey the attitude of
Indian towards homosexuality. (International Men and Gender Equality Survey

 Jyoti Puri(2006) published a report with data on the number of first information reports
filed under Section 377.

Many of these cases, according to Puri’s study, had to do with instances of child sexual
 Further on December 23, 2014, the home ministry presented data on all those arrested and
charged under Section 377, which criminalises “sex against the order of nature” between
January and October 2014. According to the data, 778 cases had been registered and 587
people had been arrested in this period. However, the charts are incomplete, as all states
had not yet submitted their data for this period to the National Crime Records Bureau.
State/UT wise Cases Registered and Persons Arrested under unnatural offences (sec.377 IPC) during
2014 (Upto October) (Provisional)
S.No. States/ UT Case Person Figures are upto month of-
Registered Arrested
1 Andhra Pradesh 23 10 October
2 Arunachal Pradesh 0 0 August
3 Assam 0 0 April
4 Bihar 12 5 August

5 Chhattisgarh. N.R N.R N.R
6 Goa 0 0 September
7 Gujarat 25 44 October
8 Haryana 99 89 September
9 Himachal 6 6 August
10 Jammu & Kashmir 0 0 Upto September except January to april
11 Jharkhand 20 1 June
12 Karnataka N.R N.R N.R
13 Kerala 69 64 September
14 Madhya Pradesh 64 48 July
15 Maharashtra 98 100 Upto September except August
16 Manipur 0 0 October
17 Meghalaya 4 1 Upto July except January and February
18 Mizoram 3 3 Septemeber
19 Nagaland 0 0 Upto October August Except January,
April, May, July and September
20 Odisha 3 2 Upto May except April
21 Punjab 39 44 Upto August except July
22 Rajasthan 15 9 Upto June except April & May
23 Sikkim 0 0 September
24 Tamil Nadu 16 5 october
25 Telangana 7 5 May to October
26 Tripura 1 1 upto October Except May
27 Uttar Pradesh 127 36 upto June
28 Uttarakhand 3 1 upto August
29 West Bengal N.R N.R N.R
30 A & N Islands 1 0 upto September
31 Chandigarh 3 3 upto October Except May
32 D & N Haveli 0 0 upto October
33 Daman & Diu 0 0 0 upto June Except January To March
34 Delhi 140 110 upto September
35 Lakshadweep 0 0 upto October
36 Puducherry 0 0 upto August
Total (UTs) 144 113
Total (All India) 778 587

The data related to acceptance of homosexuality the first report shows that peple are open
with the idea of accepting homosexuals while in the second data people are uncomfortable in
having homosexuals around them. This shows that people in a way are reluctant towards
homosexuals until and unless it is around them or they are in some way or the other
connected to them. Further the report regarding Section 377 shows that government is lacking
far behind as far as homosexuals are concerned. No concrete report is available with regard to
the population of homosexuals in the country. Reports are with respect to Section 377 which
has a much wider concept and is not restricted to homosexuality.


Genesis of Homosexuality in the society

 Homosexuality is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and
sexuality. .
 The incidence of homosexuality in a population does not appear to change with new
moral codes or social mores.
 Efforts to repair homosexuals are nothing more than social prejudice garbed in
psychological accoutrements.
 Bisexual, homosexual and heterosexual orientations have been found throughout human
history and human cultures;
 Sexual orientation appears primarily biogenetic in origin and is discovered rather
than chosen;
 Sexual orientation is not a predictor of social or emotional functioning, it is not a mental
 Efforts to alter sexual orientation through behaviour therapy, psychoactive drugs, prayer,
etc., have not affected primary sexual orientation.
Change in Stigma of Homosexuality
 In a society where there exist no official counts of any data related to homosexuality by
any government agency, hardly the stigma attached to it could be washed away.
 People against the homosexuals are blind folded by the cloth of religion through which
humanity cease to exist.
 People are in discomfort towards the discussion on homosexuality and sexual minorities.
 About three-quarters of Indians disapprove of homosexuality and are deeply traditional
about other issues of sexuality such as sex outside of marriage.
 Except in few metropolitan cities there is no change in the peoples perspective of looking
at homosexuals.

Section 377

 No concrete report as to crime related explicitly to Homosexuals under section 377 is

 The section has been invoked very rarely as the matter is considered to be a sensitive one
but there has been an increase in the number of cases reported under section 377.

 Number of person arrested under Section 377 is high in metropolitan and developed states
with Delhi recording the highest count, rather than in backward states.

It is clear that LGBT individuals who basically have different sexual orientation, face
discrimination, exclusion from the society, thus quite often, meet with obstacles to satisfy
their needs. This exclusion and ostracism could vary from the simplest personal relations to
the most general social ignorance, exclusion, ostracism, working simultaneously together,
and can even violate the rights of life. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have
long been involved in efforts for racial and economic justice. Today, LGBT organizers and
groups are increasingly drawing connections between the movement for LGBT rights and the
movement for economic and racial justice, noting that people have multiple, layered identities
and are members of more than one community at the same time, simultaneously experiencing
oppression and privilege. There is no short cut solution that can address the problems facing
many LGBT people in across the world.
Protecting LGBT people from violence and discrimination does not require the creation of a
new set of LGBT -specific rights, nor does it require the establishment of new international
human rights standards. The legal obligations of States to safeguard the human rights of
LGBT people are well established in international human rights law on the basis of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently agreed international human rights
treaties. All people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to
enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of
rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest
and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression,
association and peaceful assembly. Therefore, in the light of the above mentioned discussion,
following recommendation can be developed in recognizing the role that individuals as well
as institution can take effectively.
 The society will not be able to freely accept and discuss so-called taboo issues such as
homosexuality unless the mentality of the people will change. The first step is sex
education in schools and at homes.
 Consider LGBT issues as a central theme in all economic and racial justice work.
 Police force at all level needs to be sensitized on LGBT issues and also on the general
principles of fundamental human rights.

 The core legal obligations of States with respect to protecting the human rights of LGBT
people should include obligations to:
 Protect individuals from homophobic and transphobic violence.
 Prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
 Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
 Safeguard freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all LGBT
 Stigmatizing or pathologizing language regarding gay men, lesbians, and bisexual
persons should be avoided.
 The most important single step in eliminating the stigma over LGBT people is to
decriminalize section 377 of the IPC so that they could have a normal regular life like
others and avail their basic human rights without harassment or discrimination.
 The justification for legality of homosexuals must not base upon the cause of it.
 Our media and film fraternity are required to be more considerate while depicting such
people in their shows and films respectively, as it plays very important role in imparting
 Awareness must be created in the society about homosexuality and make people open for
acceptance of homosexuals.


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