LGBT Rights in India

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in India face legal and social difficulties not experienced by non-LGBT persons. Sexual activity between people of the same gender is illegal and same-sex couples legally cannot marry or obtain a civil partnership. As of 2018, however, the Supreme Court is all set to reconsider whether to legalise same-sex sexual activity and a draft Uniform Civil Code, if approved in its current form, would legalise same-sex marriage in India.

Since 2014, "hijras" in India, have been allowed to change their gender without sex reassignment surgery, and have a constitutional right to register themselves under a third gender. Additionally, some states protect hijras through housing programmes, welfare benefits, pension schemes, free surgeries in government hospitals and others programmes designed to assist them. There are approximately 4.8 million hijras in India.

Over the past decades, LGBT people have gained more and more tolerance in India, especially in big cities. Nonetheless, most LGBT people in India remain in the closet, in fear of discrimination from families, who see homosexuality as shameful. Reports of honour killings, attacks, torture, and beatings against members of the LGBT community are also common in India.

Public opinion regarding LGBT rights in India is complex. According to a 2016 poll by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 35% of Indian people were in favor of legalising same-sex marriage, with 35% were opposed to its legalisation. A survey by the Varkey Foundation found that support for same-sex marriage was higher among 18-21 year olds at 53%.

According to a 2017 poll carried out by ILGA, 58% of Indians agreed that gay, lesbian and bisexual people should enjoy the same rights as straight people, while 30% disagreed. Additionally, 59% agreed that they should be protected from workplace discrimination. 39% of Indians, however, said that people who are in same-sex relationships should be charged as criminals, while a plurality of 44% disagreed. As for transgender people, 66% agreed that they should have the same rights, 62% believed they should be protected from employment discrimination and 60% believed they should be allowed to change their legal gender.



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