June is Pride Month! It’s a time for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to celebrate each other and the huge strides that have been made around the world toward social acceptance and equal treatment under the law. However, sexuality is still a sensitive topic. A lot of people aren’t comfortable talking about it, and many aren’t open or understanding when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. So, we thought it would be helpful to take a moment to share some basic information. Whether you’re queer, questioning, know someone who is, or just want to learn more, scroll down to learn about the LGBTQ+ resources available to you!
While scientists don’t know exactly what makes someone LGBTQ+, you should know that they do agree that sexual orientation isn’t a choice. Genes, hormones, and a mother’s womb all contribute to a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Put simply: you’re born with it. Which also means that a straight person can’t turn gay, and a gay person can’t turn straight.
A lack of social acceptance and fewer legal protections means LGBTQ+ people suffer from more health issues than people who don’t identify as LGBTQ+. For example, they’re more likely to feel depressed and have thoughts of suicide. They’re also less likely to seek out health care, and have less access to important health information and services. That’s why, if you’re LGBTQ+, it’s important to know what LGBTQ+-friendly resources are available where you live. Because you deserve the help you need, when you need it!
The Law in India
Consensual, same-sex sexual activity is not a crime
The government cannot discriminate against someone based on their LGBTQ+ status
Discrimination based on LGBTQ+ status is prohibited
Identification documents can be legally changed to reflect gender identity
Transgender people have a legal right to public services (like education and healthcare)
Same-sex marriage is illegal
Conversion therapy is legal
Homosexuals cannot serve in the military
Individuals need government approval to change gender on identification documents
There aren’t defined legal penalties for discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ+ status
The penalty for committing a sex crime against a transgender person is less than the penalty for committing a sex crime against someone that isn’t transgender
Because same-sex marriage is illegal and only married couples can adopt children, homosexuals cannot adopt children in India
Get Help & Learn More
The Bi Collective Delhi: A resource and support group that provides a safe place to people attracted to people from their own and other genders. They organize events like film screenings and workshops — they even have their own podcast on Spotify!
Harmless Hugs: An online LGBTQ+ platform focusing on free and fair human expression, and empowering the LGBTQ+ community through online and ground-based initiatives.
The Humsafar Trust: An organization in Mumbai working to improve the health and wellbeing of gay men and lesbian women in India. They work with other organizations, government agencies, and health care facilities to provide sex education and STI testing, distribute health care products, and train health workers to be more welcoming to LGBTQ+ patients.
Naz: A foundation working toward building a more just, equitable society. Their LGBTQIA+ Initiative provides counseling, care and support services to help individuals understand their sexuality, have healthy relationships, and practice safe sex. They run a helpline from Monday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The helpline number is +91-11-47504630 / 9810140673.
Nazariya: A queer feminist resource group focusing on queer women and transgender persons. They run a helpline from Monday to Friday, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The helpline number is 9818151707.
Sangama: An organization working to increase awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, rights, and needs in India. They provide information to other organizations as well as individuals, and organize community events and peaceful protests.
Sweekar - The Rainbow Parents: A support group for parents of LGBTQ+ children focused on supporting each other and helping members learn how to accept their child’s sexuality and love them for who they are.
Do you know of any other LGBTQ+ resources, communities, or events in India? Share them with us in the comment section below! And, if you have other questions about sex, STIs, and contraception, remember you can chat with Nivi on WhatsApp any time. It’s private, confidential, and free!