Gay Rights In India

Thomas for Gay Rights

Image by Juci-k

The recent discussions about gay rights and same sex marriage demands made me remember the time when I was complaining a lot about generation gap. This was the time when I wanted to get married to the girl of my choice. The reason for these complaints was the fact that my mother wanted me to have an arranged marriage while I was, one opposed to the idea and two, more importantly, as I have said I had already decided whom I wanted to marry.

Once during that turbulent time of my life, while talking to my now wife and then girlfriend’s boss, when I again spoke about the generation gap, he told me something which I do not think I’ll ever forget. He said, “Sanjeev, let us say 25 years down the line your son was to come to you with a man and tell you that he wanted to marry him, what will be your reaction?” When he saw the look of utter shock on my face, he smiled and said, “And then your son will complaint about this very same generation gap.”

Anyway, this story is not about generation gap (may be we’ll discuss that some other time) but about gay rights, LGBT rights movement and same sex marriage. While it might be construed from the above episode I am not a big fan of the gay movement, but let it known that I go with Voltaire and believe that even though I do not agree with your ideas, I support your right to express them. I am therefore a supporter of  Equal Rights for LGBT community.

My Take On Gay Rights And Same Sex Marriage

I think that if two consenting adults of the same-sex want to live in union, they ought to be allowed to do so. It may be unnatural, against accepted social mores, etc, but that is our problem.

I was talking to someone today and he said, what if a man said that he wanted to have sex with a goat, will you allow that. The answer is a simple no, because it is not an act between two consenting people. Goat has no consent. And hence it cannot be allowed. Just as murder, rape etc are acts between two dissenting people and that is why they are to be treated as crimes.

The next argument was, “in that case if two consenting people decided to indulge in a sexual act in public, why do you object to it?” Again the answer is that the moment it is an act in public, it ceases to be an act just between two consenting people. It affects all the people who are witness to it and hence “if” they object to it, then it is not permissible.

It is this very argument that has enabled a ban on smoking in public. An individual has the right to smoke as long as his smoke does not meet the nostrils of another person. As soon as that happens, his right clashes with that of the other party, and hence the ban.

I have also been reading about other objections in the media by people like Swami Ramdev who have said that it is a disease and hence it should be stopped. If it is a disease, then it has to be cured and not stopped by law. Cancer cannot be made illegal and hoped to be treated thus.

Gay Rights & Same Sex Marriage

Another argument is that if we can make same sex marriage legal by arguing that it is an act between two consenting adults, then prostitution should also be made legal because it is an act between two consenting adults. A valid point I would say, but I think the considerations of women trafficking and forcing girls into flesh trade are the reasons why it is not being legalized. Of course the government has the option of making prostitution legal and at the same time pimping and forcing women into the trade as illegal, but the political price will be too heavy and I do not think we in India have come to that stage where someone will bell the cat so easily.

truth about abs and gay rightsIn fact that is also the case with gay rights. And that is why the government is being smart and allowing the courts to decide the course of the entire debate. The government is not keen to take up the issue, on a proactive basis, on behalf of either side so that they are able to avoid any brickbats from the moral brigade and at the same time take credit from the liberal community including the “affected” party by making it seem that they have allowed the smooth passage of the judgment.

Now there is another PIL being filed against Gay rights and same sex marriage by an NGO and the Directorate of Child Welfare. Their plea is that allowing same sex marriage would be creating a bad example for children because it is possible that in some homes a parent may want to live with a person of the same-sex! Two questions:

  • Are we saying that it is better to let a man or a woman to continue to live in a manner that is not in tune with natural desires? Will that not create enough tension to affect the child?
  • And in that case what about divorce? Should divorce also not be made illegal then? Does an unhappy marriage marred with constant quibbles and fights not affect the child?

I think, in India we have far greater issues on which one should focus their energies – education, rights of the girl child, over population, corruption, discipline and many more – than to be worried about the fallout of same sex marriage.

What is your take on Gay Rights

What do you think? Which side of the fence are you sitting on? I’d now like you to share your views on this complex issue of gay rights, the LGBT movement and same sex marriage.


  1. Man, you gotta writing stuff. I like it. First time seen some sensible thoughts on gays. The world does not like us – that is their problem. I don’t interfere in your love life – why should you bother me.

    keep up the good writing

    • Thanks Bob for the kind words.

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful and well thought out argument. I am from america and I very much value to learn how other cultures are dealing with the same issue; since it is not readily available to me. The arguments you use are very strong and the use of Voltaire’s quote adds a very relatable aspect to the blog. It is well thought out and a great example of logos can play perfectly into an argument. It is enough to convince any one in my opinion.

    Also thank you for using my picture


    • I am glad Emily that you liked the article and also approved the use of your picture. Thank you.

      Just to also inform you that ever since the Indian Supreme Court has decided in favor of Gay rights, more Indians have been coming out into the open about their sexuality; like elsewhere in India too Gay parades take place and even the Indian film industry is making more films on / using the theme of gay relationships.

  3. Great thoughts on the topic!!

    • Thanks Edward, I am glad you liked what I had to say.

  4. A thoughtful exploration of the subject. Most of the arguments against allowing same-gender couples marrying are not grounded in fact, but reflect a fear of something not understood. Studies show that children are not adversely affected by having gay parents. And in those countries where such unions are legal, the world has not come to an end. I agree there are bigger issues for us to tackle.

    • You are absolutely right; we humans are always afraid of what we do not understand or what we think is not normal and therefore try to subdue that. This has been the case from the time immemorial. It is however also true that with the passage of time, the understanding comes and the fear and rejection goes away – I think that is what will also happen in the case of the same gender unions – it is a matter of time when more and more people will accept it and more countries will legalize it.

  5. frankly I am against gay rights as my culture teaches me how to be in a society and based on your roles what are the responsibilities. I am referring to teachings of Lord Krishna in Mahabharta. In fact even other religions teach the roles and responsibilities of a man and a woman. Here religions teaches us how to have a better society. It(religion or spirituality) makes the difference between other species and humans. If we start behaving as per our desires then I don’t think there will be much difference.

    • @Kashyap,
      I will attempt to argue but I will back out if this becomes a flame war.
      “vikruti evam prakriti” — source is the Rig Veda , what it says is what seems unnatural is also a part of nature. Just because you find something different does not mean it is wrong. Its just different
      “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” — source is the Hitopdesha means the whole earth is one big family, preaching the message of inclusiveness of diversity and its acceptance with open hearts , a message propounded by the writers of our constitution as well.

      By the way, these religious texts were also the sources used to justify acts like sati (Lord Shiva’s rage at finding a widow soul that did not undergo sati), the same texts that were used as a pretext to create and sustain a caste system, the same culture that allowed child marriage , the same culture where preference for a male child has led to widespread use of technology to perform female foeticide

      Also may I point out that when you try to use religious texts to argue in a secular nation like India, your argument is fundamentally flawed. Even if every religion opposes homosexuality, you are answerable to the atheist.

      • @greywall, I agree with we are all part of the one big family, the question is which part does one wants to be. Do remember there is good and bad also, so which side you want to be will be the question. At the same time I understand that what I see as good might not be good in another point of view. I don’t want to go to into any religious quotes here.

        I would also accept that something different is good for both the society and personally.

        • In the beginning of my article itself I have indicated that I personally am not enthused by “gayness”. But that is “my” problem. My belief is that as long as my actions do not harm anyone else, they are right and unquestionable / unobjectionable. So if I am gay and it does not harm anyone else (I don’t see how it can), there should be no problem. The moment society tells me what my sexual orientation should be, then by extending the same logic, it can tell me which caste or religion my wife / girlfriend should belong to. Who I should meet, talk to. And finally we will come to a situation where honor killings can become justified.

          I believe that good and bad are our own definitions and we must not impose them on others.

  6. I am impressed by the arguments that you put forward here, they are so sensible and logical that I want catch hold of the haters and yell these arguments into their thick skulls, but I will only be wasting my time. Anything that involves religious reasons is usually incorrigible. Quite frankly I love the sense of indifference, that’s exactly what people need, indifference to what happens in the next bedroom. Surprisingly, the same religious groups do not take such strong stands on topics like female foeticide, child labour or human trafficking.

    • Thanks a ton greywall for the kind words. It is no wonder that it is said that religion is the opium of masses. And just as opium in the right dose can be good and curative , in excess it can be destructive. Similarly the religious zealots are the ones who propagate hate, while I would have thought that it should have been just the opposite – the more fanatically religious you are, the more love you preach! And yes, it is ironic that they do not talk against female foeticide / infanticide, child labor, human trafficking and many other such ills that face us. I am sure it tells a lot about “their true” Gods.

  7. Hi I am in UK and originally from India. I understand that my knowledge has grown after the exposure of gay rights and living in UK but I would never thought that My religion will never teach me to hate the identity of a different individual being straight or gay. Its always your deeds that you are answerable for (according to religion), so why hate and punish people with different lifestyle and sexual orientation.
    I am so happy that you have shown a valid argument which might help so many people understand that its not all about right/wrong but about someone’s life.

    • I completely agree with you Soni – you have hit the nail right on the head when you say that you are answerable for your own karma, so why hate and punish people with different lifestyle and sexual orientation.

      Many thanks for your kind words and I do hope that you will come back again and contribute to the articles here.

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