Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 142–153 | Cite as

Was 1992 a Turning Point for Homosexuals in Contemporary India?

  • Nicholas TanEmail author
Original Paper


For many familiar with contemporary India’s history of homosexuality, 1992 may be seen as a turning point. In 1992, activists protested against the infamous anti-sodomy law, Section 377 of the penal code, a provision which had been frequently employed by the police to harass the gay community. The public protest marked a historical point in the lives of the Indian homosexuals as the issue of homosexual citizenry entered public and popular discourse in contemporary Indian society. This paper seeks to establish the validity of 1992 as a historical point beyond the singular event of protest. It attempts to encourage one to consider the ways in which the increased political subjectivity of the homosexuals in contemporary India intersect with the historical emergence of the Hindu Right’s ideological hegemony from the 1990s. The added lens helps one to seek how the political and the personal can come together to identify, and invite discussion on, the varying statuses of different homosexual groups, ranging from lesbians to Muslim homosexuals, both of which tended to be marginally excluded from the emergence of a collective homosexual identity in the movement against Section 377.


Homosexuality Contemporary India Muslim Hindu right Section 377 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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