While this year in July, Supreme Court started hearing multiple pleas in favour of decriminalising Section 377, the debate is on whether or not. What will be fate of thousands of people living in their own world of sexual identity? While most parts of the world coming forward for securing LGBTQI rights, which are essentially human rights to live a happy, equal life without discrimination or hate. This is still a matter of debate in India.
What is “Section 377”?
Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine
The Delhi HC had decriminalized Section 377 in 2009, ruling that consenting intercourse between two adults was not illegal. The verdict was hailed by the LGBTQI community. On being challenged the SC dismissed the 2009 Delhi HC verdict, thus once again making unnatural sex a criminal offense.
Despite of this many notable personalities have open up regarding their sexual identity directly or indirectly.
Here is some of the famous gay celebrities of India
Manvendra Singh Gohil
Popularly known as The Gay Prince, Manvendra Singh Gohil is the son of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat. Born in Ajmer, he is the only son of Shri Raghubir Singh, Maharana of Rajpipla and his wife who was born as princess of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
As usual in Indian Society, His parents arranged marriage, and in January 1991, he married Chandrika Kumari, a princess of Jhabua State in Madhya Pradesh. The marriage remained unconsummated.
Manvendra says about his marriage:
I thought that after marriage everything will be all right, that with a wife, I will have children and become “normal” and then I will be at peace. I was struggling and striving to be “normal.” I never knew and nobody told me that I was gay and [that] this itself is normal and it will not change. That this is what is called homosexuality and it is not a disease. I tremendously regret for ruining (Chandrika’s) life. I feel guilty, but I simply did not know better.
“It was a total disaster. A total failure. The marriage never got consummated. I realized I had done something very wrong. Now two people were suffering instead of one. Far from becoming normal, my life was more miserable.”
His wife filed for divorce after just over a year of marriage. Before granting him a divorce, his wife told him, “Never do this to any other woman” He has vowed not to marry again under family or public pressure.
He waited until his ex wife married again before he came out because he felt so guilty about the whole thing.
It is not easy to talk and discuss about such dilemma of sexual orientation in Indian society and that too being from royal family, where with your born an image of “youvraj” get attached, thousands see you as inspiration, caretaker and are blind follower. it was never going to be easy journey.
“I belong to a very conservative and traditional family,” says Manvendra.
“It was difficult to be gay in my family. The villagers worship us and we are role models for them. My family didn’t allow us to mix with ordinary or low-caste people. Our exposure to the liberal world was minimal. Only when I was hospitalized after my nervous breakdown in 2002 did my doctor inform my parents about my sexuality. All these years I was hiding my sexuality from my parents, family and people. I never liked it and I wanted to face the reality. When I came out in the open and gave an interview to a friendly journalist, my life was transformed. Now, people accept me.”
Manvendra’s parents accepted the truth, upon being informed by the psychiatrists that their son was gay. He has been to Oprah show and also had a appearance on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in June 2017. Kendall Jenner had met him when she was in India for a modeling assignment.
He runs a charity, The Lakshya Trust, which works with the LGBT community. In 2018 Mavendra opened up his 15-acre palace grounds to help house vulnerable LGBT people, who might otherwise be “left with nothing” when “their families disown them after coming out”. The prince announced the news in January and has been busy renovating the palace grounds since then. The center will be powered by solar panels and will use the land for organic farming. Gohil’s high profile has helped the LGBT community in India enormously, said Harish Iyer, a gay rights activist.
Padma shri awardee, Indian novelist and poet was born in Kolkata in 1952. His mother is Leila seth the famous first female Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.
Vikram came out in open about his bisexuality. According to him it was always there in his poetry.
“Basically my straightness is not at issue here, but the point is that my gayness is at issue.” Vikram says.
On being asked in an interview with Outlook India , Is it easier to be gay abroad than in India? Of course. Certainly in any country where it is not against the criminal law, you don’t consider yourself a criminal. If you look at India historically, at the Kamasutra or the statues of Khajuraho, both of which also depict gay sex, it shows Hinduism has a tradition of tolerance. And this is true even in the tradition of other religions, like Islam—for example much Arabic, Persian and Urdu poetry. One of the greatest Urdu poets, Mir Taqi Mir, was clearly writing about his love for other men”
Asking about childhood he says It was difficult. And basically I couldn’t understand it—I mean if I felt an affection or attraction for a girl, that was one thing. And if I felt an equally deep physical and emotional attraction for a boy, that was somehow considered wrong and this as a young chap was very deeply disturbing. I couldn’t see where or what I was.
Vikram found his partner Philippe in France.
Saleem Kidwai is a scholar of medieval Indian history and an activist. Born in 1951 in Lucknow, he completed his schooling there and went to Delhi to study History in 1968. He took up teaching at the Delhi University in 1973 and took leave to study at McGill University between 1976-80.
Kidwai is also an Islamic studies scholar who undermines any straight monolithic view of Islam as homophobic and sex-phobic. He shows that there is a tension, sometimes creative and sometimes unbearable, between the censorious Islamic texts, institutions and the open same-sex celebrations of many Islamic poets.
Retiring from Delhi University in 1993, he has since been pursuing individual research and writing in Lucknow. He proudly identifies himself as “I am an Indian gay Muslim”
Karan Johar is an famous film director, producer, screenwriter, costume designer, actor and television personality, who is known for his work in Bollywood. Gay? Straight? Bisexual?? Is he? Is he not? He is most famous of the rumored gay men in the country. The celeb is known to keep his personal life very private. In his biography ‘An Unsuitable Boy’ he remarks on his sexuality by saying,
“Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. And if I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could be jailed for saying this. Which is why I, Karan Johar, will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me.”
In the past, Johar has been criticized by India’s gay community for not formally “coming out.”
His unique talent and passion for fashion designing makes him famous in the film industry as a fashion designer. Malhotra has dressed some of the leading actresses in Hindi cinema such as Kajol, Sridevi Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Kangana Ranaut, Alia Bhatt and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Winner of multiple awards, Manish Malhotra has been rumored to be gay for a long time. However, he himself remains quiet when asked about his sexual orientations.
Rumors is that Manish and Karan are in relationship over a long time and this was very much speculated when Manish had wished birthday to Karan and Karan also replied in a manner that people saw a confirmation in their words. People are eagerly waiting for them to came out in public openly.