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The Prolonged Drive to Equality: LGBTQ Rights

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

What does LGBTQ mean?

LGBTQ is the more commonly used term in the community, mainly because it is more comprehensible. It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender along with heterosexual, being terms used to describe people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is blanket term used to describe people whose gender identity and/or gender expression, differs from the gender they were assigned at birth.

Around the world

When it comes to LGBT rights, there is still a very real struggle for equality.

From the time where homosexuals were considered as mentally unsound persons to legalizing marriage equality in many countries. Their rights have made a significant progress over the past few years but only in some parts of the world.

  • Attitude of people on the acceptance of homosexuality are shaped by the country in which people live. Those in Western Europe and the Americas are generally more accepting of homosexuality than are those in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and sub- Saharan Africa.

  • Having sex with a partner of the same sex is illegal in 70 countries. In Bangladesh, Barbados, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Qatar, Uganda and Zambia, you could go to prison for life. Nine countries punish homosexuality with death: Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

  • Same-sex marriage is recognized in 27 countries, including: Argentina, Canada, Ireland, Malta, South Africa and Uruguay. Recently Taiwan also pledged to accept same sex marriage.


Psychology and terminology shifts:

The developing field of psychology was the first way homosexuality could be directly addressed aside from Biblical condemnation. In Europe, homosexuality had been part of case studies since the 1790s with Johann Valentin Müller's work.

An important shift in the terminology of homosexuality was brought about by the development

of psychology's inquisition into homosexuality. "Contrary sexual feeling, “as Westphal's phrased it, and the word "homosexual" itself made their way into the Western lexicons. Homosexuality had a name aside from the ambiguous term "sodomy" and the elusive "abomination." As Michel Foucault phrases it, "the sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species.

19 th Century

Homosexual identity found its first social foothold in the 19th Century not in sexuality or

homoerotic, but in idealized conception of the wholesome and loving male friendship during

the 19th Century.

Before the end of the 19th century there were scarcely any “movements” for gay rights.

World War II

World War II was setting the stage for Stonewall. It was quite unusual in the way that it so

fundamentally changed American society. World War II drastically changed life for thousands of gays and lesbians in America as well as the ways in which it helped crystallize a nascent gay and lesbian identity. In many ways, World War II directly spawned some of the first gay and lesbian rights activists, allowed many men and women to live openly about their sexuality, and laid the groundwork for the homophile movement. It is not an exaggeration to say that the war helped lay the foundation for Stonewall and the resulting gay liberation movement

Stonewall riots

The Stonewall Riots of 1969 are often credited with being a watershed moment that

fundamentally altered the course of gay history. The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar

in New York where over 400 people, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight people protested their treatment and pushed the police away from the area. Some level of rioting continued over the next six nights, which closed the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Riots became a pivotal, defining moment for gay rights.

Where Religion is an un-ignorable factor

  •  Abrahamic religions in the world i.e., Christianity, Islam and Judaism forbid same sex relationships. Some reformed versions of these religions have been more accommodating of the LGBT community in modern times.

  • The Four main Indian religions i.e., Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have different views on LGBTQ.

-In Hinduism , Many gods have fluidic gender. There are many references to half man and half woman. There are gods who can change their gender.

- Buddhism has a neutral stance on homosexuality. Buddhism encourages its followers to give up lust and sensual pleasures. This applies to both heterosexual and homosexual pleasures.

- Sikhs do not endorse the LGBT community while there are some who are welcoming.

Sikh marriages are a union of two souls. A soul has no gender so according to the literal sense or technicality of the religious practice, two people of same sex can have a union of souls.

As of today while the majority of the world has legalized homosexuality, the countries where it is still outlawed are concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. These are areas with Muslim majority-Islam nation.

LGBTQ - Rights

LGBT Communities in and around the world are facing violence, legal discrimination, inequality, torture and even execution for their sexual orientation or gender identity. In many countries LGBT people are harassed in the streets, beaten up and sometimes even killed for their identity.

Some of the LGBT rights include:  

  • Laws Concerning The Recognition Of Same-Sex Relationships, Including Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, And Domestic Partnerships

  • Laws Concerning LGBT Parenting, Including Adoption By LGBT People

  • Anti-Discrimination Laws In Employment, Housing, Education, Public Accommodations

  • Anti-Bullying Legislation To Protect LGBT Children At School

  • Hate Crime Laws Imposing Enhanced Criminal Penalties For Prejudice-Motivated Violence Against LGBT People

  • Bathroom Bills Affecting Access To Sex-Segregated Facilities By Transgender People

  • Laws Related To Sexual Orientation And Military Service

  • Laws Concerning Access To Assisted Reproductive Technology

  • Sodomy Laws That Penalize Consensual Same-Sex Sexual Activity

  • Age Of Consent Laws That May Impose Higher Ages for Same-Sex Sexual Activity.

  • Laws Regarding Donation of Blood by Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Laws Concerning Access to Sex Reassignment Surgery and Hormone Replacement Therapy.

  • Legal Recognition and Accommodation of Reassigned Gender

LGBTQ Rights in India

LGBTQ Rights in India India’s Supreme Court in 2018 struck down

Section 377, a colonial-era law that forbids same-sex relations, sparking hopes of equality for the country’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual and transgender population. Section 377 has been criticized for discriminating against, and disproportionately affecting, the LGBT community, and for not being in tune with modern morality.

Even though the right to equality and equal protection under the law

is guaranteed under Articles 14 & 21 and Article 15

of the Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or

place of birth but they were always looked down upon and shamed by the society.

Fundamental RIGHTS

The decision of Supreme Court of India on decriminalization of Section 377 was based on primary grounds under the Constitution – i.e., on

i. Right to equality under Article 14;

ii. Right against discrimination under Article 15;

iii. Right to equal opportunity in the matters of public employment

under Article 16

iv. Right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a);

v. Right to privacy under Article 21.

Case laws


This case was filed by the National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA) to legally recognize persons who fall outside the male/female gender binary, including persons who identify as “third gender”.

The Court upheld the right of all persons to self-identify their gender. Further, it declared that

hijras can legally identify as “third gender”. The Court clarified that gender identity did not refer to biological characteristics but rather referred to it as “an innate perception of one’s gender”. Thus, it held that no third gender persons should be subjected to any medical examination or biological test which would invade their right to privacy



It is the Judgement that held Right to Privacy to be integral. Article 21 of Constitution of India which grants us Right to Life and Liberty was also expanded to include Right to Privacy.

The Supreme Court also stated that the state must carefully balance the individual privacy and the legitimate aim, at any cost as fundamental rights cannot be given or taken away by law, and all laws and acts must abide by the constitution.


It is the judgement that decriminalized homosexuality in India .

The Court upheld the provision of that

criminalize non–consensual acts with children or animals. The Supreme Court further held that

Section 377 violates Article 14, 15, 16 and 19 1 (a) of Constitution of India.


In this case Arunkumar got married to a transwoman furthermore on submitting the requisites for registration of marriage the same was denied by the registrar.

The Court stated that a marriage solemnized between a male and a transwoman, both professing Hindu religion, was a valid marriage. The Court stated that transgender persons had the right to decide their self-identified gender, as upheld by the Supreme Court in

“NALSA V/s Union of India”, which has been reiterated in “Justice K. Puttaswamy V/s Union of India” and again in “Navtej Singh Johar V/s Union of India.”

LGBT Communities in and around the world are facing violence, legal discrimination, inequality, torture and even execution for their sexual orientation or gender identity

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