India has decriminalized same-sex relations.
An Indian law called Section 377 had existed since British colonial rule. It banned “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” which could result in jail time.
Activists have been pushing for reform for years. The law was finally overturned in the Delhi region in 2009 but was criminalized again in 2013.
“It’s definitely a setback, you don’t give rights to a community and then take them back, you move forward,” stated NGO worker and queer rights activist Ankid Gupta.
This time around, the Supreme Court overturned the law after determining it related to the wider issue of privacy.
“If two consenting adults have sex in private, whatever type of sex, is not the business of the state,” explained Naz Foundation lawyer Anand Grover.
However, some cultural stigmas remain around LGBTQ+ rights in South Asia. Activists in other countries are now working to reform their own colonial laws like in Bangladesh and Pakistan.