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by  |  25-Nov-2016 01:27

On 9 August 2008, then health minister, Anbumani Ramadoss began his campaign for changing Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which makes homosexuality an unnatural act and thus illegal.

At the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, he said, "Section 377 of IPC, which criminalises men who have sex with men, must go." In late 2008, he changed his argument saying he does not want the scrapping of Section 377 but a mere modification of the law treating homosexuality as a criminal offence punishable up to life imprisonment.

According to him, after removal of discriminatory laws, marginalised groups would have better access to treatment and prevention facilities like condoms.

He warned of the urgency and stated that India had succeeded in checking the spread of AIDS through commercial sex workers but transmission through gay sex, and injectable-drug users was still an area of concern in the country.

According to a popular gay dating website, which has about 1.8 million men registered from around the world, India has about 140,000 individual males registered, a figure more than Western countries like the USA (46,645) and the UK (41,021) and ranks 3rd on the list of people registered from a country; nearly 80% of them are in the 15-30 age range with the highest numbers registered in states of Maharashtra (25,564), Tamil Nadu (16,380), Karnataka (14,763) and Delhi (13,441), while cities with the highest numbers are New Delhi (13,391), Mumbai (11,001), Hyderabad (10,273) and Bangalore (8,000).

Public discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the fact that sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly.

There are no official demographics for the LGBT population in India, but the government of India submitted figures to the Supreme Court in 2012, according to which, there were about 2.5 million gay people recorded in India.

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