16 MARCH, 2023
Homosexuality in India has been a subject of discussion from ancient times to modern times. Hindu texts have taken various positions regarding homosexual characters and themes. The ancient Indian text Kamasutra written by Vātsyāyana dedicates a complete chapter on erotic homosexual behaviour. Historical literary evidence indicates that homosexuality has been prevalent across the Indian subcontinent throughout history, and that homosexuals were not necessarily considered inferior in any way until about 18th century during British colonial rule. However, previously under the Islamic law of Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, the Mughal Empire mandated a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
On 6 September 2018, a 5-judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court of India invalidated part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, hence making homosexuality legal in India. In striking down the colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, one judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future." This ruling also applied to Jammu and Kashmir state under Article 141 of the Constitution of India and Delhi Agreement 1952, as section 377 of IPC and Ranbir Penal Code is prima materia and Judicial Pronouncements were extended to Jammu and Kashmir.
There are no official demographics for the LGBT population in India, but the government of India submitted figures to the Supreme Court in 2012, according to which, there were about 2.5 million gay people recorded in India. These figures are only based on those individuals who have self-declared to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. There may be much higher statistics for individuals who have concealed their identity, since a number of LGBTQ Indians are living in the closet due to fear of discrimination. Homophobia is prevalent in India. Public discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the fact that sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly. However, in recent years, attitudes towards homosexuality have changed slightly.