We at Out Adventures are elated to share the news that in a watershed moment, the Indian supreme court has decriminalized homosexuality… again. A bench of the country’s five highest judges ruled a ban on sex “against the order of nature” was unconstitutional.
In 2009, the same courts decriminalized homosexuality only to reinstate it in 2013. Fingers-crossed this ruling holds strong.
“Social exclusion, identity seclusion and isolation from the social mainstream are still the stark realities faced by individuals today,” said chief justice, Dipak Misra, in his ruling, “and it is only when each and every individual is liberated from the shackles of such bondage … that we can call ourselves a truly free society.”
‘What does this mean for LGBT tourists?’, you may be asking.
While India has always been a reasonably safe country for gay men and women to visit, the decriminalization of homosexuality provides an extra level of security. Sharing a bed in your hotel, for example, won’t put you in legal jeopardy.
It also means more safe spaces for the LGBT population will begin popping up, from community centres to bars and restaurants. Even hotels will be able to openly market to the LGBT community.
Keep in mind, Indian culture remains conservative in comparison to most of the West. And public opinion won’t change overnight. So while this ruling is fantastic, we still recommend a level of caution with public displays of affection.
While India still has a long road ahead to guarantee equal rights and freedoms between gay and straight people, this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Join Out Adventures in India this spring for the country’s colourful Holi Festival. Details and departure dates can be found here.
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Photo by Robert Sharp.