India: Growing LGBTI openness, despite legal setback

In at least one city in India, the LGBTI community has become more open, reports the Times of India and the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.  This openness comes at a time when Indian LGBTI activists hope they can overturn the country’s anti-gay colonial law, Section 377, which was reinstated by an Indian Supreme Court decision late last year.

India: LGBT community braves odds to open up in Chandigarh

Dhananjay Chauhan (left) with his partner Islamuddin (Photo courtesy of IndianExpress.com)
Dhananjay Chauhan (left) with his partner Islamuddin (Photo courtesy of IndianExpress.com)

Braving all the odds against them, the LGBT community in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh has started coming out of their closet and speaking openly.
When asked whether he prefers staying discreet,  Dhananjay Chauhan proudly claimed: “I am open!”
Chauhan is a founder and director of the local Saksham Trust in Chandigarh, an NGO that works to spread awareness about HIV to the local LGBT community in this city of a total population of nearly 1 million people.
Chauhan also came up with the idea of a local “Pride Walk” and has organized it for two years, mirroring Pride Walks that have long been held elsewhere in India in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
“I find people in Chandigarh to be well-educated. They understand the trials and tribulations our community undergoes. It would also instill courage in gay people who are afraid to come out in open,” said Chauhan.
This article is an edited version of the SDG&LN article, used with permission.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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