Indian Gay Life
India has come a long way when it comes to homosexuality. The biggest democracy in the world finally got to grips and rectified the injustice inflicted on it by the British empire. Indian gay culture has covered so many milestones in such short time, it really is commendable.
Read more about being gay in India by Mayank’s frank account of what it is like for a local here.
Indian Gay Culture Through History
India has a vivid and vibrant culture that’s more diverse than any other place perhaps. There is no particular set point for a lot of beliefs as there is no central principle in Hindu and Buddhist cultures but the concept of ‘Third gender’ has been recoded quite early in time. In ancient Hindu texts, there are numerous references to homosexual practices and inclusion of non gendered people. A good example is the concept of ‘Swarinis‘ which are mentioned in the book of Kamasutra where women marry other women and raise children together. (Who knew lesbians would outdo gays that far back in history of our evolution, JK!)
Have you heard of Kamasutra? of course you have, who hasn’t! What you normally don’t get is an entire chapter on gay men. Indian gay men! The book goes as far as to mention the concept of gay marriage and lesbian marriage. How much more proof could you ask for a society where unnecessary hate was not directed at homosexuals. Indian gay culture at the time was normal in society.
It changed later when the Muslims arrived and conquered the region but soon, the culture took over the religion and homosexuality became normal. The first Mughal Emperor Babar was infatuatedwith a boy named Baburi, don’t trust me? Check Babar-nama which clearly describes his love for the fella.
There are numerous references to gay love in Urdu literature or at the very least the concept of sleeping with men despite keeping a wife or wives in general life. This was again considered normal behaviour in Indian gay culture. The topic of gender is somewhat different because non gendered people were openly highly revered and given prominent positions in the Royal Mugal Courts.
The real damage was done when the British came over and brought with them the moral code extracted from medieval Christian European society. This was a devastating blow especially when the British Empire officially criminalised homosexuality with a penalty. This is the same law, British Raj introduced around the world. Today, out of the most homophobic countries in the world, a whopping 66% have criminalised homosexuality based on the gift received from British Empire.
Check the full details of legal status of gay Indian life on Equaldex India.
Come 2018, the Supreme Court of India ruled against the horrible section 377 declaring homosexuality legal in India. The government of India didn’t really send a positive image at the time but toothpaste had left the tube by this time. There were massive celebrations. This took a lot of effort and struggle with a sweet result at the end. Indian gay life was on the roll. Today, Indian is fast moving towards a thriving inclusive society.
Indian Gay Literature
India has a rich tradition of pictorial representation as well as a penchant for storytelling. How could this important part of society be left behind. From Mahabharata to Kamasutra and recent rich diversity of authors who have delved into the topics related to homosexuality. I found some amazing reads you can check out here from Indian gay literature.
Indian Gay Sex Stories
I know it is a taboo topic but there is something about reading about sex in your native language that makes it really exciting. Luckily there are a few sources for Hindi gay sex stories. My favourite sites are here and here. If you want to add some more feel free to give me a shout. Gay sex stories are an important part of exploring sexuality at a younger page and it has the advantage of placing yourself in the scenario without the crazy ideals of porn stars.
Read more Gay Stories from around the world here.
Indian Gay Media
I believe it was 1996 when the first gay storyline movie based on queer plot was made. It wasn’t commercially released but this 12 minutes piece gave courage to others. The same year the explosive movie ‘Fire’ was released which explored the concept of lesbian love.
It was Karan Johar, though, who made Dostana that really opened up the world to the concept and while it wasn’t essentially a gay movie, it warmed people up and made the topic commercially viable. Today there a few movies that have been released a few in making but it is no longer a taboo topic.
Indian Gay Life In Modern Age
India has emerged as a progressive society and things are fast opening for Indian gay population. Since homosexuality has been legalised in India, a new section of society has sprung up from gay bars in New Delhi and Mumbai to small cafes and restaurants in Bangalore. It is still in its infancy and I hope there is a lot more that will open up with time.
Have you heard of the first openly gay Prince from India? Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil. Yes that’s the guy. He’s working closely with the LGBTQ community in India to make life better than them as well as providing a very embellished and beautiful image of Indian Regal past. I think he has brought back the positive image of Indian Royalty away from the generally obsessed culture which worships anything and anyone white. Another gay Indian success story!
On to the topic of marriages, there has been an explosion of gay Indian weddings in dreamy sets and beautiful locations. I honestly do not believe in the institution of marriage but s a right, I am totally in favour of gay Indians expressing their commitment this way without prejudice. Check out the two of my favourite Indian weddings below.
Indian Gay Life As A Visitor
Visiting India is a special things for so many Westerners. They come to India in search of spirituality and inner journey. A lot of younger gay men are increasingly seeking the same path and heading to India whether it takes them to a yoga mat (like me) or to the glitzy world of Bollywood (not me although I love the music).
With time a new breed of agencies and travel operators have come along which focus on gay Indian travelling. My favourite are OutinIndia, these guys seem to know what they are doing.
If you need more variety, just google gay Indian travel company and there is no shortage of companies.
As a visitor be careful and respectful and you will have a fabulous time. Indians especially gay Indians are a hospitable bunch (a little impatient too but that’s rather sweet).
Indian Gay Travel Advice
From so many of my Indian friends and followers on social media, I have always received immense love and such warming vibe, I cannot wait to visit India but I already know what it will be like for me. I will be accepted with love and it will be a big things for me to explore ancient roots of one part of me which is very proudly South Asian.
In the meantime I have asked a few fellows and you can read what it is like being gay Indian through their stories here.
Which Apps To Use during Gay India Travel?
Based on my research the most commonly use app is Blued locally. Although Grindr is also quite widely used, it is not the most popular. A few people also use Scruff.
More detailed reads:
Quint – Repealing Article 377
Youth Ki Awaz – LGBTQ Movement in India, 91 Facts