Kisses” video takes inspiring stand against India’s criminalization of homosexuality 

In December, India’s Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s previous decision that had decriminalized homosexuality. The top court’s ruling declared same-sex intercourse and marriage illegal again, ending a four-year period of gay freedom. 

Kisses, a new video from Grapefruit Productions filmed at the Bangalore Queer Film Festival in February, tells the Indian government exactly what people think of the ban on same-sex love. 

Watch the full video | Follow policymic


A Gay Couple Got Married In A Small Maharashtrian Wedding Then Attended Mumbai’s LGBT Pride March

The couple were in a relationship for four years, and decide to tie the knot to “better define their relationship, and strengthen their bond.”

Two young members of the LGBT community in Mumbai got married on Jan. 31, 2015, and then attended the LGBT pride parade, still in their wedding attire.

Vaibhav and Milind told BuzzFeed India in an email that the ceremony was held at a friend’s house in Jogeshwari, and that only close friends and a few family members who knew about them attended.

“A Sanskrit teacher conducted the ceremony in a traditional Marathi fashion,” the couple told BuzzFeed India. “And all the ceremonies including Mehendi, Haldi, Sangeet were performed.”

The couple, who are both originally from Mumbai, said, “We had been in a relationship for more than four years. Tying the knot provided a new definition to our love and made the bond between us stronger.”

“Although our parents were not supportive, some of our family members, mostly our cousins, did participate in the ceremony with great zeal.”

The couple faced a significant challenge in finding a Pandit willing to perform the ceremony. “Once we found one, he researched a lot and made the necessary changes in the mantras and the ceremonies to suit a man-man union,” they said.


Photographer Braden Summers raised $23,000 and traveled across the globe to portray gay couples.

His purpose was to build the same “fantasy” that heterosexual couples so often have in media, one that wasn’t over-sexualized or completely mundane.

Using models and real couples, he has created something truly awe-inspiring.

For More Information
Braden Summers

Here’s our list of a dozen nations where it can be dangerous to be gay.

Nigeria: Nigeria is the most homophobic country in the world, according to a 2013 poll, which found 97 percent of citizens think society should not accept homosexuality. The laws reflect that: Same-sex couples face up to 14 years in prison and even public displays of same-sex affection are illegal.

Uganda: The spotlight has been focused on Kampala recently for its anti-LGBT policies. A law passed this week makes homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison, gay rights activists have been murdered, and gay citizens are widely discriminated against.

Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe has made a crusade out of homophobia – with widespread public approval. Last year, Mugabe threatened to behead gay Zimbabweans and described them as “filth.”

Saudi Arabia: Basing its law, it says, on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, the current Saudi regime has made gay sex punishable by death by the lash. But according to some reports from inside the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean homosexuality isn’t common.

India: Thought of as a highly tolerant society, it came as a surprise earlier this year when the country’s highest court reinstated a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex. But the decision has been met with protests and the court’s decision is being challenged.

Honduras: There have been a spate of anti-LGBT hate crimes here in recent years. More than 80 LGBT people have been killed in anti-LGBT hate crimes since 2009 and LGBT-rights activist say they are shunned by their families and communities.

Jamaica: Sex between men is illegal, hate crimes are alarmingly common and the government seems reluctant to protect gays from violence. Senegal One of the most anti-gay countries in the world, according to a 2013 Pew poll, which found 96 percent of Senegalese think society should not accept homosexuality, only surpassed by Nigeria at 97 percent. Gay sex is illegal and discrimination is commonplace.

Afghanistan: It may no longer be under the rule of the Taliban (at least in much of the country), but harsh views toward homosexuality still remain. It’s still news when an Afghan comes out as gay, even from Toronto. Yet its male homosexual culture is widespread but rarely commented on.

Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s last president, famously told Americans: “We don’t have homosexuals in our country like you do.” His successor, Hassan Rouhani, elected last June, hasn’t made gay rights – or anti-gay legislation – a priority, but it’s already on the books. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and can even be punishable by death in certain cases.

Lithuania: The Baltic state’s parliament is considering a law similar to Russia’s notorious anti-gay anti-propaganda law. And while homosexuality isn’t illegal, it has many opponents. Last year’s second-ever gay pride parade was interrupted by homophobic protesters.

Sudan: Homosexuality is punishable by death and even attempts at arranging a homosexual act can lead to a prison sentence. The good news is that there have been stirrings in recent years of a pro-LGBT rights movement.

The United States: We have undoubtedly made great strides in LGBT rights in recent years, from same-sex marriage to equality in the military. But Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and several other states have laws on the books that resemble Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. And anti-LGBT hate crimes remain frighteningly common, especially against transgender people.

Photo: Gay rights activists hold placards during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. (Photo credit: Adnan Abid/Reuters)


Stunning Photo Exhibition Celebrates Same-Sex Romance Around The World

Here’s one for the romantic in you.

Last year, Braden Summers, a New York-based photographer, set himself an ambitious challenge: to raise $22,000 to travel around the world shooting images documenting same-sex relationships in international communities. The uniqueness of his All Love Is Equal Kickstarter campaign helped the crowd-funding drive to quickly go viral, helping him to nail his intended goal. 

The project took him from his home in New York to countries as far afield as England, Brazil, South Africa, India and Lebanon. The results are devoid of sex, sensationalism and hype. They are simple, tender and joyous, something Summers wanted to the world outside the LGBT community to experience, as much as the world inside it to take comfort in: “My hope is that not only are my images inspiring romance for the queer community”, he told The Advocate. “But inspiring the acceptance of our romance on a global scale”. 

Among others, the project documents a lesbian wedding in traditional Indian saris, a gay marriage proposal on a sun-drenched hill in Rio and a romantic stroll along the Westminster Bridge in the London rain. 

"Along the way, I talked with many people about what romance means to them in their respective countries, encountered countless obstacles and received help from some of the most touching and unexpected people I will ever meet", Summers said. "I was inspired and filled with hope that the resulting imagery will resonate with the public". 

Breath-takingly beautiful. 

Click here to follow Outrising on Twitter

Click here to like Outrising on Facebook

INDIA, MUMBAI : Indian supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community attend the “Pride March” in Mumbai on January 31, 2015. Marchers were demanding India’s Supreme Court reconsider its verdict of December 11, 2013 which reinstated a colonial-era ban on gay sex on that could see homosexuals jailed for up to ten years in a major setback for rights campaigners in the world’s biggest democracy. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE

Anti-gay ruling in India sparks fears of historical rewind 

As Medha, a 28-year-old bixsexual fashion stylist living in Mumbai, heard the news that the Indian Supreme Court had recriminalized homosexuality, all she could do was think back.

Medha – who did not want her full name used because of the still-potent stigma that being gay carries in India – said that after all the progress her country had made over the past few years, the court’s decision Wednesday felt like a step back in time.

“It was a surprise. Mass media had become more friendly. There are now movies that have gay-friendly characters, and the general public was gaining acceptance,” she said. “Now, all of a sudden, a guy decides it’s de-legalized. Why are we stepping back now?”

Read more

Photo: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters


Gay Sex in India is now illegal.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday brought back a colonial-era ban on gay sex, dealing a severe blow to the largely-closeted homosexual community in India and their long battle for legitimacy. 

The top court said the 2009 Delhi High court order decriminalising homosexuality is constitutionally unsustainable as only Parliament can change a law, not courts, which left critics wondering about selective judicial activism.

"It is surprising that the court which does judicial review on many issues has put the ball in the court of Parliament to decide on homosexuality," said additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising. "People expect the highest court of the land to protect their rights."

Outside the court, scores of gay rights activists and members of the community burst into tears; they had expected the court to rubber-stamp the 2009 ruling, which had been opposed by various religious bodies. Gay rights NGO Naz foundation said it would challenge the verdict.

Today’s order means gay sex between consenting adults stays a criminal offence under Section 377, a 19th century law banning sex “against the order of nature”. Gay activists allege that the police uses the law, which carries a punishment of up to 10 years in jail, to harass members of their community.

"This judgement is wrong. One can’t criminalise same sex relations which are consensual," said senior Left politician Brinda Karat.

If the government were to step in, then the home ministry has to prepare a note for the cabinet, which in turn has to send it to Parliament. But home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said today that it was “not possible to legislate on anything now.”

The election in five months across largely conservative India is also likely to weigh on the ruling Congress at a time it is struggling with negative sentiment.

Law minister Kapil Sibal said Parliament would take it up “in due course”.

"It’s the Supreme Court’s prerogative to test the constitutionality of our laws, it is our prerogative to make laws. On the validity of the law, the government must respect the court," Mr Sibal said


India re-criminalizes gay sex, and gay Indians are fighting back —>

A widely unexpected decision today by India’s Supreme Court to reinstate a law criminalizing gay sex has incited a wave of protests across the world’s largest democracy, with a growing number of citizens vowing to keep pressure on the government to re-reverse course.

Most Indians had expected the panel to rubber-stamp a 2009 Delhi High Court order that decriminalized gay sex. That decision deemed unconstitutional a 153-year-old portion of India’s penal code, known as section 377, that prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” Issuing its ruling today, the Supreme Court said the Delhi court had overstepped its authority four years ago by amending a national law—something that can be done by only the Parliament of India.


Love is Not A Crime

The News, Part 01: India’s Supreme Court upholds a 153-year-old law criminalizing “gay sex” and overturns a four-year-old ruling that recognized same-sex relationships.

The News, Part 02: The UN says that the ruling violates international law and asks India to reconsider.

The News, Part 03: Australia’s High Court overturned legislation allowing gay marriage. Twenty-seven previously married couples will have their unions annulled.  

Image: A human rights activist protests in India, as shown on the front page of The Guardian, newspaper edition.

I am a homosexual; a homosexual in the largest democracy in the world. Things should be easier for me with superlatives like that, but they aren’t. In fact they have been difficult.

It took me many years to gain the courage to look into the mirror and tell myself that the person I see is gay.

I faced homophobia at a time that I wasn’t even sure of my sexuality.

I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. I was raped by a male relative for 11 long years from the age of seven to 18. I had confided in a friend, and that friend thought it was newsy enough to share with everybody in college. When people heard that I was a man who was raped by a man when I was a young lad, they assumed that I must be gay. They presumed my sexuality at a time when I was grappling with words and definitions.

One day, when I reached college I found my name on the blackboard – it read “for gay sex contact Harish.”

In another instance, I found my name plastered in the college lavatory. When I sat down on my bench, there were chalk marks that read “fag.” As I walked with the offensive three-letter word on my pants, my friends laughed.

More than a decade of abuse had left me maimed in terms of sexual responses. I took longer to understand what my sexuality was. But at that time, I knew one thing for sure – being gay, would mean being subjected to ridicule.

The trauma that my friends subjected me to was so strong that I tried to kill myself.  When I reflect back, I feel ashamed about those gory steps I took at one point of my life. But at that moment, I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.

I thought that the shame and stigma one had to face for being raped by another man was too much to bear. I survived,  but I shrunk deep into the closets of shame. I was battling with my sexuality. I wasn’t sure if I was heterosexual enough to marry a girl, and I didn’t want to accept that I was homosexual or bisexual and live a life of shame.

I was also aware that I would be told that I am gay because I was abused by a man — though women who are abused by men in childhood never state that they turned heterosexual because of rape.

In India, heterosexuality was a norm. Everything around me was heterosexual. Who wants to place themselves lowest in a world where everyone would despise you?

I decided to be heterosexual. I tried my luck. I had sex with a woman and I could not perform. I had no anxiety fear, I was just not feeling so inclined from within. In the meantime I was feeling strongly for men. Between Tarzan and Jane, Tarzan’s thighs seemed to attract me more than Jane’s breasts.

I came to terms with my sexuality slowly and steadily. Once I got over my aversion to sex with men, which many years of abuse had scarred me with, I had sexual relations with men, and I instantly felt at peace with my body.

Around the age of 25, I came out to mother. After initial reluctance, she accepted me. One of my friends then decided to make a college journalism project on me and my sexuality. I found acceptance.

I started speaking about my abuse and my sexuality to many people.  My advocacy work in the field of male child sexual abuse and homosexuality began and I became a magnet for stories of pain and pathos that people shared with me.

Many stories of homophobia emerged from dark dingy closets that were created by the same society that I live in. There are many attempts at suicide like mine in colleges even today. Children get bullied for their sexuality, in India and in the rest of the world.  The pages of history have turned. But the story has remained the same. We are growing in to being a world that judges more, loves less.

I am told again and again that India is a free country. Yes, we are indeed free from the clutches of the British who ruled us. But alas, no one departs without leaving their footprints.

The British left us Section 377. A law that punished anyone who had “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”

What’s order of nature? Love for me is the order of nature. And I am a man, who loves men.  Section 377 was overturned by the Delhi High Court in 2009. In the landmark ruling, the court stated that consenting sex between adults in private is not a criminal offense.

The operative words being – consenting, adults and private. It still maintained that sex without consent and / or with minors and/or in public is a punishable offence. There were several petitions against this judgment, some argued that homosexuals are a bad influence to the society. I still fail to understand what are these morals that we are talking about.  I have been in a heterosexual world all my life and I have not been influenced by heterosexuality, how do heterosexuals get influenced by my sexuality so easily? And about the natural versus unnatural debate, I think we are prejudiced against anything that doesn’t procreate.  I strongly feel that sex is natural as much for recreation as it is for procreation.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will rule on the matter. Though legality is our right, and we shall not rest until we have it in totally, and not in half measure, our real battles continue to be in our homes, in our little cozy closets, where we are still seen as victims.  Things are better, people are more aware,  but still we need to “come out.”

Beyond the courtrooms, homosexuals in India still await their date with freedom.

Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist and was named as one of the most influential gay men in the world by The Guardian newspaper in 2013.