India grants citizens the right to freely express sexual orientation

A Supreme Court ruling means that members of India’s LGBT community are legally able to express their sexuality without discrimination

India’s Supreme Court has passed a ruling that will result in an overhaul of the country’s laws on LGBT rights.

The ruling gives people who identify as LGBT the fundamental right to express their sexuality without discrimination. In theory, any discriminatory practices towards members of the LGBT community will be able to be challenged in court.

India’s traditional culture means life can be very difficult for people who are open about their LGBT orientation.

It is expected that one of the first laws to be amended as a result of the ruling will be Section 377 of the country’s penal code. The controversial law bans sexual activity that is ‘against the order of nature’, which has been interpreted to include gay sex.

Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual must be protected on an even platform

The court’s judgement read: “Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”

The change in stance comes as part of a wider assessment as to whether privacy should be considered a fundamental right for India’s 1.3 billion population. The nine-judge panel concluded that the right to privacy is an intrinsic and fundamental right that is enshrined in the country’s constitution.

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