Karine Jean-Pierre
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It's Complicated: LGBT India Since 2003

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When India reversed the colonial-era law banning gay sex in 2009, it gave American LGBT activists pause. The U.S. hadn't gotten rid of its anti-sodomy laws until the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling.

India, with one of the oldest established societies on earth, wasn't as economically advanced but seemed to be keeping pace with the United States — all while India had an openly gay crown prince?

It was equally jarring, however, when the country's court reinstated that archaic law in 2013 (while still upholding a ruling that recognizes the nation's third-gender population). Clearly the matter of LGBT rights in India has been complicated, especially over the last few years.

Here is where India's LGBT people have been and where they might be going.


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June 29, 2003: Activists of India's Integration Society carry a rainbow banner during a Gay Pride March in Calcutta. The society, committed to the defense of human rights and sexual freedom, organized the Walk on the Rainbow march to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969.

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June 19, 2007: Lesbian couple Baljit Kaur, 21 (right), and Rajwinder Kaur, 20, pose for a photograph in Amritsar during a press meeting following their marriage. Across India gay and lesbian couples were increasingly visible and open about their sexuality. Same-sex marriages, although not legally recognized, were becoming more common.


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December 2, 2013: Artist Balbir Krishan's exhibit "My Bed of Roses" at the Muse Gallery in Hyderabad is closed down by the "moral police." This event foreshadows the reinstatement of Section 377, a colonial-era law banning gay sex, a little more than a week later. To read more about Krishan and see more of his artwork, click here.


Tags: World, India

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