New Delhi, Sep 5 (PTI) The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Thursday its much-awaited verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of section 377 of the IPC which criminalises “unnatural sexual activities” between two consenting adults A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders, including gay rights activists.
The Centre, which had initially sought an adjournment for filing its response to the petitions, had later left to the wisdom of the court the issue of legality of the penal provision with regard to the aspects of criminalising consensual unnatural sex between two consenting adults. The Centre had said that the other aspects of the penal provision dealing with minors and animals should be allowed to be remain in the statute book. Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says 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 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
The issue of section 377 was first raised by an NGO, Naz Foundation, which had in 2001 approached the Delhi High Court that had decriminalised sex between consenting adults of the same gender by holding the penal provision “illegal”. This 2009 judgement of the high court was overturned in 2013 by the apex court which had also dismissed a review plea. It had in 2013 restored the criminality of the sexual relationship between persons of the same sex after the Delhi High Court’ had decriminalised it in 2009. The five-judge bench on July 10 had made it clear that it was not going into the curative petitions and would adjudicate on fresh writ petitions in the matter.
If you’re Indian and queer, then you should know that there is a lot of activity in the LGBT space that you can get you and your close ones involved in. This post lists all the LGBT groups in India and how one can reach out to them.
Unfortunately, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code introduced during the British rule in India makes sex with persons of the same gender punishable by law. Homosexuality is a taboo in this country and homophobia is still prevalent in India, primarily because conversations about sexuality and sex in any form is rarely discussed openly.
Few of the major LGBT groups in India are
- The Humsafar Trust Mumbai
- The Naz Foundation (India) Trust- Delhi
- Gay Bombay- Mumbai
- Udaan Trust- Maharashtra
- AHF India- Delhi
- Harmless Hugs- Delhi
- Sappho for Equality- Kolkata
- Lakshaya Trust- Gujarat
- Orinam- Chennai
- The Gaysi Family
- Arranged Gay Marriage- Secunderabad (India)
- Astitva Trust Mumbai
- Qgraphy Mumbai
- 6Degrees LGBTQ Growth Network
This article explores all the LGBT groups in India in depth and how they are trying to change the way society looks at LGBT individuals while ensuring the community is getting support at all aspects be it legal, counseling, health etc.
1) The Humsafar Trust Mumbai
The Humsafar Trust is the oldest LGBTQ group in India. It was founded in 1994 by Ashok Row Kavi, a reputed journalist, an activist at a time when there was no talk and no national level movement for LGBTQ human rights.
It is one of the leading organizations covering the spectrum of sexual minorities in India. At present, the Humsafar Trust runs multiple projects around HIV/AIDS education, prevention, eradication.
They also run advocacy related projects with local police, lawyers and media houses like the Bombay Dost. Finally, Humsafar also conducts regular workshops to build awareness of LGBTQ issues in the country and provides counseling.
Yaariyan is the youth wing of the Humsafar trust, known for working towards health and human rights of sexual minorities since 1994. Yaariyan has an online platform reaching out to 6000+ people, organizing offline events and facilitating LGBTQ youth access to health and social support. Yaariyan has been actively organizing some fantastic event for the LGBTQ community since years.
You can contact them at http://humsafar.org/
2) The Naz Foundation (India) Trust- Delhi
The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, abbreviated as Naz India, is a New Delhi-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working on HIV/AIDS and sexual health issues since 1994.
Their focus is on reaching out to marginalized populations infected or affected by HIV to help reduce stigma, improve health, and empower families.
They aim to sensitive the general population to the prevalence of HIV, and to highlight issues related to sexuality and sexual health. Naz India is a registered charitable trust that is also registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
You can visit them on http://nazindia.org/naz-india/
3) Gay Bombay- Mumbai
Gay Bombay is an informal, ever-evolving, and safe socio-cultural space for gay folks in Mumbai. Founded in September 1998 they have organized more than 800+ events since the last 2 decades to the likes of parties, treks, picnics, film festivals, cooking meets, kite flying events, art meets, speed dating brunches etc and we have featured them here.
Gay Bombay has also facilitated parents meet and conducted workshops on safe sex practices. They have conducted sessions on various topics like depression, HIV/AIDS stigma, financial stability and Section 377. One of the primary objectives of Gay Bombay is to create comfort around alternate sexualities for individuals and their families and friends.
Their website is www.gaybombay.org. They also have a Facebook page with 2000+ members.
4) Udaan Trust- Maharashtra
The Udaan Trust is an Indian non-governmental organization operating in the state of Maharashtra. It was founded in 1992 & is the first HIV/AIDS organization founded by homosexuals living with HIV/AIDS. Udaan focuses on issues of sexual health within the homosexual and transgender communities, particularly regarding the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
To accomplish this, Udaan provides services such as condom distribution, sex education, counseling, and medical services to at-risk populations. Udaan is funded through personal donations and attends to a network of an estimated 1500 people living with HIV. Their website is http://www.udaantrust.org/
5) AHF India- Delhi
AHF India (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) began work in India in 2004 & has emerged as a preeminent HIV/AIDS organization. Based out of Los Angeles (USA), this organization is a global nonprofit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to more than 855963 people in 39 countries. They are currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S.A
AHF funds its mission to rid the world of AIDS through a network of pharmacies, thrift stores, healthcare contracts and other strategic partnerships.
AHF India provides free STD/STI tests and also counsels people on safe sex practices and aims to spread awareness of HIV/AIDS.
You can access AHF India’s website by visiting https://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/countries/india
6) Harmless Hugs- Delhi
Harmless Hugs was found on 10 September 2012 as a social collective. It is a dynamic platform driven by the core values of unity in diversity and coexistence and it’s Facebook Group- which is an invite-only group has over seven thousand like-minded individuals from across the globe.
Harmless Hugs’ goal is to create a collaborative culture that focuses on free and fair human expression. Harmless hugs is driven by both online as well as ground-based initiatives that empower feminist groups and the LGBTQIA community.
Some of the initiatives by Harmless Hugs include Delhi International Queer Theatre Film Festival, Queer Holi celebrations, LGBTQ+ themed flash-mobs, monthly member meets and very recently, staging queer theatre plays across Delhi and Mumbai.
7) Sappho for Equality- Kolkata
Sappho for Equality, established in October 2003, is the only registered organization in Eastern India that works for the rights and social justice of sexually marginalized women and transmen (female to male transpersons). It uniquely works to create bridges between the so-called normative and non-normative populations in our society and positions gender-sexuality within existing development discourses.
Sappho for Equality provides a host of services to its people including, but not limited to Peer counseling, mental health services, organizing self-intervention workshops etc. They have even run programs aiming to sensitize medical colleges and the police on LGBTQ+ issues.
Their website is http://www.sapphokolkata.in/ and they can also be contacted on email@example.com or on +913324419995
8) Lakshya Trust- Gujarat
Lakshya is a community-based organization registered as a public charitable trust that has been the center of excellence in the field of sexual health programme for the community since its inception in 2000. It was started by Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil.
The organization works on various issues addressing and advocating the social, economic, legal, psychological, spiritual and health aspects of sexual minorities (Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population) in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Lakshya primarily works on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention among MSM (men having sex with men) and GBT(gay, bisexual and transgender) in three major cities of Gujarat State of India(Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot).
Akshaya’s HIV/AIDS-related outreach services reach out to more than 10,000 MSM, female partner of MSM and TG population in these three cities. This work is supported by the local government.
The objectives of this project are to increase condom distribution and usage, reduce incidents of STIs, promote treatment of STIs and lessen STD and HIV/AIDS prevalence.
You can check them at http://lakshyatrust.com
9) Orinam- Chennai
Orinam, founded in 2003, is an all-volunteer unregistered collective of LGBTI people and allies based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It functions as a support, cultural and activist space.
On-the-ground activities including meet-ups, peer counseling and referrals, film festivals and literary events, sensitization workshops, and advocacy and networking with other LGBTI and other progressive groups and movements in the city, state, and country. Orinam (ஓரினம்) is a Tamil word that means ‘One kind’ or ‘One community’.
The Orinam website has multiple resources including letters written to the Chief Justice of India on Section 377, a blog, and resources for families, friends, allies, and professionals that cover topics like coming out, dealing with friends and family, workplace and campus issues, health and wellness among many other resources.
Their website is http://orinam.net/
10) The Gaysi Family
The Gaysi Family was started as a blog to provide a voice and a safe space to desis (people from the South Asian Subcontinent) that identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer. What began as a simple idea of sharing stories about what it meant to be gay and desi (thus, Gaysi!) has evolved into a space with a roster of authors worldwide, diverse content and traffic from countries all over.
Gaysi has been regularly featured in several mainstream media publications and has made also international news.
Gaysi runs an online blog called the Gay Family Blog, an open mic called Dirty Talk and also self-publishes a print magazine called The Gaysi Zine – among many other things. Their social media presence includes over 13000 likes on Facebook, over 5000 likes on Instagram and over 2000 posts overall
Their website is http://gaysifamily.com/
11) Arranged Gay Marriage- Secunderabad (India)
Arranged Gay Marriage, legally registered as Custom Soul Connections LLP is a professional matchmaking service in India for the LGBT+ community looking to find their match for marriage. Started in 2013 by Urvi Shah, this Secunderabad based Arranged Gay Marriage, has helped 21 couples get married.
Since same-sex marriage is still not legal in India, this organization helps facilitate international same-sex marriage for Indian nationals. Her organization not only arranges partnerships but also offers counseling services to clients and their families. Clients fill out forms specifying likes and interests, which are then used to find suitable matches for them.
As of 2017, The Bureau has facilitated the live-in relationship of 36 couples and abroad, 21 couples of mixed ethnicity are either married or engaged. 6 couples comprise both NRI partners and four couples have legally married. Their website is www.arrangedgaymarriage.com
12) Astitva Trust
Astitva Trust is a non-profit Community-Based Organisation founded by Laxmi Narayan Tripathi aiming at support and development of sexual minorities, registered in November 2006. They work with sexual minorities, especially transgender people (hijras).
The main focus is on sexual rights advocacy, sexual health issues, and struggle to create a safe environment and positive attitude towards transgender people in the mainstream society. You can reach them here.
13) Qgraphy Mumbai
Qgraphy is one of the most celebrated LGBTQ groups that started as a secret facebook group in October 2014.
It is a group of Photography enthusiasts that cover various aspects of lives through their lenses. Its a platform for budding and accomplished photographers – likewise; among queer individuals and their allies, to showcase their passion, work, and ideas about photography.
They have beautifully captured queer events like Queer Azadi Mumbai Pride March, Kashish International Film Festival, Gay Bombay’s Annual talent show amongst many others.
In fact, we would acknowledge that most of the images of pride and other events on our website have been shared with us by Qgraphy.
We hope to see them continue their amazing work and if you want you can join them too . Just drop them a line here. You can also visit their Facebook page here
13)6 Degrees LGBTQ Mumbai
6 Degrees is a venture by Mumbai-based activist, Harish Iyer, Praful Baweja and Sushil.
The idea behind the platform is to create a space and a network amongst the LGBTQ community – wherein the members of the community can network, recruit, looking out for jobs, share ideas or even hone new skills.
By bringing together the voices of the community, the idea is to bring their contribution to the society to the foray.
Its a non-discriminatory space aimed at Skill sharing, Networking amongst people within the LGBTQ community and other (Non-discriminatory you see ! ).
They have monthly sundowner events where professionals from various industries participate and have skill sharing seminars, group discussions and network amongst the fun which comes with clubbing of course.
If you like to attend some of these meetups keep checking our website for regular updates on these.
Know of other LGBT groups in India which couldn’t make it to the list? Drop us a line in the comment section below and we shall update our list.
Rainbow Riots Radio. Rainbow Riots is a global organization and artist collective working for LGBTQ equality and rights. Last year, the organization released an album of original music, composed and produced by Petter Wallenberg, featuring queer singers from Uganda, Malawi, and Jamaica – some of the most dangerous countries in the world to be gay.
The third episode of their fantastic series is live now. In this episode founder, Petter Wallenberg meets authors Devdutt Pattanaik and Jerry Johnson to discuss their book about queerness in India’s ancient religions and society. The episode also introduces 22-year old trans woman Paras who is one of India’s Hijras.
Each show explores queer stories, culture, and history from around the world. They mix investigative journalism and spoken word poetry, backed by specially composed music. The show has been put together by Peter Wallenberg, who founded Rainbow Riots with the launch of the album by the same name last year.
Without further ado here is the link to the episode. Enjoy !!!
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Samarpan Maiti,a Scientist from Kolkata covered himself with glory while emerging triumphant in the prestigious Mr. Gay World India (‘MGWI’) 2018 Pageant which concluded with the Grand Finale being hosted at India’s No. 1 Night Club ‘Kitty Su’, The Lalit, Mumbai on Saturday, January 13, 2018. Samarpan, who is blessed with an innate earthy charm and an amiable disposition won three of the eight sub-awards to grab the coveted glittering Winners Trophy and earned the right to represent India at the Mr. Gay World 2018 Pageant scheduled to be held at Knysna in South Africa in May 2018.
Samarpan, who possesses a ripped body is a perfect combination of brain and brawn and he demonstrated that in equal measure while overcoming the challenge of his worthy rivals after two grueling days where the five enormously talented finalists exhibited their varied talents in the eight sub rounds which tested their all-around skills. He won the Mr. Photogenic, Sports Challenge, and The Panel Interview sub-awards and did consistently well in the other five sub rounds too. Ashish Chopra, who emerged 1St Runner Up won the Written Test and the Arts Challenge sub-awards and appeared to be a hot favorite with the packed Kitty Su audience rooting for him during the Grand Finale. Debendra Sanyal who won the 2nd Runner-Up Trophy was a front-runner too in what appeared to be a three-cornered contest for the Winner’s Crown. His immense popularity earned him the People’s Choice Award. Chirag Gosar, the relatively quiet one among the top five, deservingly won the Mr. Congeniality sub Award. Chirag finished fourth and Amitabh Das, who flew in from Sweden to be a part of the Pageant won the Social Media campaign sub-award and finished fifth.
Sushant Divgikar, the National Producer of MGWI and Director, South West Asia of MGW along with Assistant Managers of MGWI Darshil Sh (who specially flew down from Australia) and Sanket Sveronic worked untiringly to ensure the resounding success of this edition of the MGWI pageant which by far was the biggest and most well organized largely due to the generous benevolence of Mr. Keshav Suri, the dynamic Executive Director of The Lalit Hospitality Group and the unstinted support of the entire Staff of The Lalit, Mumbai, especially the team managing Kitty Su. The trio of Sushant, Darshil and Sanket actually burned the midnight oil to ensure that every aspect of the Pageant which included the preliminary/elimination round, the final rounds, coordination with the distinguished panel members/judges, liaison with the Hotel Management for conducting the various sub-rounds, organization of local transport, etc was accomplished with a degree of professionalism worthy of this fledging Pageant which is attracting wider participation and crowd patronage.
The Kitty Su Night Club was packed to its rafters during the Grand Finale which made the Event truly Special and worthy of all the glitz and glamour that is associated with such Pageants. The crowd was vociferous while cheering for their favorite contestant and were generally appreciative of every performance during the Grand Finale which culminated in the crowning of the MGWI Winner 2018. It was most heartening to see persons both from within the LGBTQI community and staunch allies turn up in large numbers for the Grand Finale notwithstanding the fact that there were a host of Events lined up for the day at various locations across Mumbai as part of the Pride Month Celebrations. Most of them hopped from Event to Event and finally showed up for the first Open Grand Finale of the MGWI Pageant to enlist their support and make it memorable.
The MGWI team collaborated with Sumit Pawar and team QKnit to put forth this wonderful event which was indeed a spectacle in every which way.
The distinguished band of Achievers who adorned the Panel Rounds and Grand Finale as Judges included some of the eminent Equal Rights Activists from within the LGBTQI community and ever supportive Allies from the World of Entertainment, News, and Glamour. The sub rounds were judged by Ms Dolly Thakore (renowned theatre, TV and film personality), Harrish Iyer (Equal Rights & Animal Welfare Activist and Columnist), Yogesh Pawar (Senior Journalist and staunch supporter of the LGBT movement), Pallav Patankar (Equal Rights Activist, Author and Crusader of the LGBTQ Movement), Maryjane Monika (celebrity fitness trainer and expert, aesthetic body builder & model), Shruta Rawat (LGBT Activist and Research Head at Humsafar Trust), Suveera Ambade (Fashion Designer and stylist), Kanchan Thakur (Journalist turned Fashion Designer and owner of label KAYTEE ), Darshan Mandhana (Winner of MGWI 2017 & HR Professional), Anuja Parikh (LGBT Activist and Businessperson), Diandra Soares (Reality tv star, International Model & Actor) & Sushant Divgikar (Winner of MGWI 2014, National Producer of MGWI, Singer and TV Host).
The Judges who illuminated the Grand Finale were Twinkle R Vasisht (TV Actor & Model), Anjusha Bhattacharyya (Model, Anchor & Miss India Tourism 2017), Viraf Patel (Grasim Mr. India 2005 and TV Actor), Natasha Suri (Miss World India 2006, TV Host & Actor), Sushant Divgikar ,Diandra Soares and Darshan Mandhana.
The Host for the Grand Finale was the effervescent and incredibly witty RJ Ro Hini Ramanathan who is the Queen of the FM airwaves in Mumbai as a Host of her extremely popular show on Radio Nasha 91.9 FM. Rohini ensured that the Contestants were relaxed all through the Grand Finale and entertained the packed audience with her wit and charm. Rohini is a strong Ally of the LGBTQI Community.
Thea Shroff another strong Ally of the LGBT Community and a fabulous singer/actor enthralled the audience with a power-packed rendition of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’
Diandra Soares was presented with the MGWI Rainbow Ally Award for lending her continued support to the MGWI Pageant since its inception.
The entire LGBT community of India and MGWI, in particular, owe a collective debt of gratitude to the amazingly generous Keshav Suri for making the LGBT community a beneficiary of the Lalit Hospitality Group’s diversity and inclusivity program. He has personally driven and overseen the transformation and rise of Kitty Su as the country’s top Night Club Brand and has introduced LGBT friendly endeavors such as performances by legendary Drag Queens of international acclaim and through these efforts revolutionized the Drag Culture in India. All the Kitty Su outlets in India provide a safe haven and space for members of the LGBT community to socialize and organize LGBT friendly entertainment Events. Keshav’s unstinted support and unwavering commitment have been monumental and one of the principal reasons for the immensely successful conduct of the MGWI 2018 Pageant.
A big shout out to all the Allies and supporters who have stood rock solid behind the Rainbow Community in every endeavor they embark upon.
Indian film actress and producer Sridevi died in Dubai due to a cardiac arrest. The 54-year-old actress was in Dubai to attend nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding in Dubai with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi Kapoor.
Her sudden demise came as a stun to the Bollywood after which her fans gathered outside her residence in Lokhandwala, Andheri. Prime Minister gave his condolences on Twitter – “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi. She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances. My thoughts are with her family and admirers in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace.”
She began her career as a child artist in ‘Thunaivan’ at the age of four. In the wake of featuring in different Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films, she made her Bollywood debut in ‘Julie’ in 1975. The actress gained fame after her fantastic work on-screen in films like Himmatwala, Mr. India, Laadla, Judaai and the list continues…
After a 15-year break from the industry, Sridevi made a comeback in 2012 with a Rs. 780 million grosser movie English Vinglish. She was last seen in her 300th film ‘Mom’ with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Akshaye Khanna. She was awarded the Padma Shri award in 2013.
Disheartened by her demise, with a heavy heart, the LGBT community bids adieu to her soul. May heaven embrace her with loving arms.