Queer people have grown more recognized and accepted in India over the past ten years, particularly in major cities. However, social stigma and prejudice within society against the LGBTQIA+ community remain. If you're queer and have no one to talk to, you might often question where you fit in the Indian LGBTQ Space.
It is blatantly wrong of anyone to state that someone's sexual preferences or gender orientations that differ from the norm are flawed or mentally ill. Yet, while the cruel Article 377, which made homosexual sex illegal, was overturned by the Supreme Court on September 6, 2018, queer individuals continue to struggle in India.
Queer People Are Still Struggling
In India, many queer individuals conceal their true identities due to concerns about their families' potential prejudice and the societal perception of homosexuality as sinful. This is particularly prevalent in rural areas, where discrimination persists, leading to forced heterosexual marriages and familial rejection for LGBT individuals. Consequently, it becomes crucial to establish safe spaces for the LGBTQ community, as they continue to grapple with family conflict, societal alienation, stigma, prejudice, and the heightened risk of homelessness or disownment. Additionally, compromised self-identities, workplace exclusion, and the constant threat of unemployment further compound the struggles faced by this community.
Bullying and harassment impact young queer individuals, leading to mental health challenges and denial. Depression and anxiety are common among the queer community. The likelihood of anxiety and depression in LGBTQ youth is 1.75 times higher. According to the TREVOR project survey the transgender community is even more susceptible because they experience 2.4 times more anxiety and depression. People in the queer community specifically experience minority stress. They encounter sexual assault quite frequently and experience bullying.
In India, violence poses a significant public health issue, particularly impacting queer individuals who are women, belong to lower castes, religious minorities, or low-income backgrounds. They face a higher risk of violence due to homophobia, harassment, and targeted acts against the LGBTQIA+ community, resulting in lasting physical and emotional trauma.
How You Can Find Your Space In The Indian Queer Landscape
Think about a place where you feel safe for a moment. Do you feel judged or anxious? Are you hiding who you really are? The resources available to us should ideally increase as we have more safe places to spend time. We can be genuine and authentic without holding back when we gather in safe places. The LGBTQ community faces many problems. Here are a few strategies that can help you navigate unfamiliar environments:
Network with other queer people. Reach out to local communities or find some online. Read reviews and ask for opinions from them about places you’d like to visit to understand better if that’s an area that you can feel safe in.
People often experiment with dating sites or online forums, but when you decide to disclose personal information (such as your address) or meet up with someone you’ve met online, always inform a friend or a trusted one. Share your live location with them when you step out, tell them who you’re meeting, and take precautions for your safety.
The internet has opened significant avenues of interaction for everyone. Social media profiles accurately reflect the image that the place wants to project. There are several online communities you can reach out to. There are also various platforms to build anonymous accounts where you can be yourself while protecting yourself from harm.
How Can Now&Me help?
A safe space is where you can be confident that you'll be treated fairly; this implies that you have the same level of access, freedom, and feeling as everyone else.
Now&Me provides a safe and supportive platform to connect with experienced mental health and self care professionals who can offer you guidance and support.
Our peer community is welcoming, non-judgmental, and inclusive, creating a warm and supportive environment to share your thoughts and feelings.
Share your story, connect with other people, and explore your identity on our platform with no hesitation or fear in your heart. LGBT rights as a community must always be respected. We've got your back.
Due to widespread stigmatization in the current populace brought on by colonialism, India has a constrained culture for LGBTQIA people. Living standards and media portrayal have improved recently, particularly in terms of how transgender people are portrayed. But every year, multiple cities have Pride marches to celebrate queer identities across India.
Delhi is one of the more progressive cities in terms of accepting queer individuals, with a big vibrant community of individuals who feel the city is safe enough to be open about their identities. It also hosts multiple queer events and one of the biggest Pride marches in the country.
No, same-sex marriages are not legal in India. The recent abolition of Article 377 that prevented same-sex intimate relations does not accommodate marriage rights, and only absolves queer individuals of any criminal charges if they engage in sexual intercourse or other such intimate interactions.
The first pride march in India was held in Kolkata in 1999, on July 2. It was referred to as The Friendship Walk. There were only about fifteen people in the march when it first started, and some of them were from other Indian cities like Mumbai and Bangalore.
LGBT Pride Month is observed globally to remember the Stonewall Riots, which took place at the end of June 1969 in the United States. As a result, numerous pride celebrations are held during this month to acknowledge the contribution LGBT people have made to society.