Did you miss Gaycation this week? You can catch up right now, on SBS On Demand.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

29 Jan 2017 - 5:54 PM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2017 - 2:07 PM

1. Parmesh Shahani wrote a book on LGBT+ culture in India called Gay Bombay

He tells us that the trajectory of being LGBT+ in India is not linear, but that there are "deep historical narratives" and that India has its own "LGBT mythologies".

He says: "What's happening on the LGBT scene today is an interplay both between our history, our mythology and of our presence in a very globalised LGBT environment. Um, but I think being queer here is really about community."

2. Section 377 is a 19th-century British imposed law that criminalises intercourse "against the order of nature," which has been interpreted to persecute homosexuals


Though it was lifted for consenting adults in 2009, it was fully reinstated in 2014. 

A spiritual guru in India wants to see an end to the country's 150-year ban on gay sex
“Love transcends gender. Love is beyond gender. And attraction is only a reflection of love, it is a shadow of love, and love is divine,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

3. Despite this law, Grindr is still big in India, and Bombay hosts gay parties on the weekend. 

One man at a party tells Ian Daniels: "You do find homophobic people, but if we actually compared the scenario in India, Bombay's quite a cool place because you have safer space, party every Saturday". 

4. India's known for the tradition of arranged marriages, and even now, they make up 88% of marriages in India

Although matchmaking apps and social media are popular, "it's still the imperative of the parent to make sure their child finds an appropriate husband or wife" says Ellen, and with "Article 377 in the books, marriage equality isn't up for debate". The family pictured above made headlines when the mother placed an ad looking for a man to marry her son. 

5. Ashok Row Kavi was the first man in India to say that he was gay, in 1982

A journalist for 28 years, Kavi has been in activism since then, fighting for equality, both with the government and within India's divided LGBT+ community.

"Within the community, they're very divided," he says, noting that gay men "don't like women in gay bars."

He notes that while violence against gay and bisexual men happens in public spaces, violence against women happens behind closed doors. 

6. Gaysi is an organisation fighting for community and visibility for lesbian and bisexual women.

Founded in 2008, Gaysi began as away to get India's queer population together and communicating with one another. They also hold events and create safe spaces, mostly for queer women as there are a lot of events for men already.

One of the women says that to be queer in India is "two layers of stuff". She says: "I can speak for all three of us in the sense that I think we come from a more privileged background, so we have access... and we're allowed these safe spaces," but says that it's "still difficult".

"You feel intimidated anyway in a public space," she says, of the importance of creating safe spaces for queer women.

She also notes that "women in India aren't allowed to have a sexuality, whether you're straight or not".

She continues: "Your job, as a woman, is to have a womb, get married, produce a baby, and that's it. The idea that you might even want to have sex is alien." 

This woman's depiction of what it's like to be a lesbian in India is heartbreaking
"The reason we have to hide and pretend all the time is that society will hate us," writes Anamika Pareek.

7. India's latest pop sensation is the Six Pack Band, who have gained attention partially because their members are neither male nor female, but a third gender

Their singles describe the struggles that they face on a daily basis,being part of India's hijra community.

Hijra's are considered one of the oldest recorded third-gender communities in the world, dating back to Hindu scriptures.

Although deeply marginalised, hijras are accepted as part of India's national identity and are legally recognised as a third gender. Despite this legal acknowledgment, there isn't the same cultural acceptance for those who are transgender.

Did you miss Gaycation this week? You can catch up right now, on SBS On Demand: