LGBT Rights – Transgender Bill, Sec. 377, etc.

Tracing history of Pride and LGBTQ Rights in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 377

Mains level: LGBTQI Rights


Central Idea

  • The context of the article revolves around the celebration of Pride Month and the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights globally.
  • It begins by highlighting the duality of Pride Month, which is celebrated as a recognition of progress made in LGBTQ rights while also serving as a protest against the persisting discrimination and challenges faced by the community.

History of the LGBTQ Movement: Stonewall Riots

  • Historical Significance: The Stonewall Riots, which took place in 1969, are widely regarded as a pivotal moment in the LGBTQ rights movement, igniting a wave of activism and mobilization.
  • Illegal Homosexuality: In the 1960s, engaging in homosexual activity was illegal in major American cities, leading to the creation of underground gay bars and secret gathering places.
  • Stonewall Inn: The Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village, New York City, became a popular gathering spot for the LGBTQ community due to its acceptance and tolerance.
  • Police Raids and Resistance: The frequent police raids on gay bars, including the Stonewall Inn, prompted the LGBTQ patrons to resist, resulting in the spontaneous uprising known as the Stonewall Riots.
  • Turning Point: The Stonewall Riots marked a turning point in LGBTQ activism, as they galvanized the community to demand equal rights, visibility, and an end to discrimination.

Early LGBTQ Rights Initiatives

  • Pioneering Organizations: Organizations like the Society of Human Rights (1924), the Mattachine Society (1950), and the Daughters of Bilitis (1955) were among the earliest advocates for LGBTQ rights in the United States.
  • Anti-Homosexual Policies: During World War II and the McCarthy era, anti-homosexual policies in the military and society prompted the emergence of LGBTQ advocacy groups.
  • Activism: Frank Kameny, an astronomer fired for being gay, became a prominent activist and founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., advocating for LGBTQ rights and challenging discriminatory policies.
  • Protests in US: In 1969, a year after the Stonewall Riots, the first pride march was organized in New York City, marking a significant milestone in the LGBTQ rights movement.

Pride Celebrations Worldwide

  • Pride Month Origins: Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots and honor the LGBTQ community’s resilience, history, and the ongoing struggle for equal rights.
  • LGBTQ History Month: LGBTQ History Month takes place in October and aims to educate and raise awareness about LGBTQ history, achievements, and challenges.
  • Pride Parades: Pride parades, often held during Pride Month, are colourful and joyous celebrations that allow LGBTQ individuals and allies to openly express their identities and demand equality.
  • Global Pride Days: Various countries celebrate their own Pride-equivalent days, such as Christopher Street Day in Germany, to promote LGBTQ rights and visibility.

LGBTQ History in India

  • India’s First Protests: The AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA) organized India’s first-ever protests for gay rights on August 11, 1992, in Delhi, following the arrest of men suspected of homosexuality.
  • Fight Against Section 377: LGBTQ activists and organizations in India have long fought against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a law that criminalized consensual same-sex relations until it was struck down in 2018.
  • Decriminalization and Progress: The decriminalization of homosexuality in India in 2018 marked a significant milestone in LGBTQ rights, paving the way for increased visibility, acceptance, and advocacy.

Post-Section 377 Judgement

  • Struggles for Marriage Recognition: Post the decriminalization of homosexuality, efforts have been made to seek legal recognition of same-sex marriages in India, with couples filing writ petitions and pushing for equal rights.
  • Supreme Court’s Stance: The Supreme Court of India has been involved in various cases related to LGBTQ rights and is instrumental in shaping the legal landscape for the community.
  • Legislative Attempts: Several legislative attempts have been made to further protect and promote LGBTQ rights, including bills advocating for same-sex marriage and policies to safeguard the rights of the LGBTQIA community.
  • Progress on Conversion Therapy: India has taken steps to address the harmful practice of conversion therapy, with the National Medical Commission banning it and classifying it as “professional misconduct.”

Global LGBTQ Rights

  • Varying Legal Status: LGBTQ rights vary across the globe, with some countries fully embracing equality and protecting LGBTQ rights, while others maintain discriminatory laws and practices.
  • Same-Sex Marriage: A growing number of countries have legalized same-sex marriage or recognized civil unions, granting LGBTQ couples the right to marry and access legal protections.
  • Anti-LGBTQ Laws: Unfortunately, many nations still have laws that criminalize homosexuality, and in some cases, impose severe penalties, including imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Continuing the Fight for LGBTQ Rights

  • Global Advocacy: The fight for LGBTQ rights remains a global issue, necessitating ongoing advocacy, awareness, and support to achieve full equality.
  • Achievements and Setbacks: Acknowledging the progress made in LGBTQ rights while recognizing the setbacks and challenges that still persist.
  • Importance of Advocacy: Emphasizing the crucial role of continued advocacy in ensuring the protection and advancement of LGBTQ rights worldwide.


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