A huge section of the Indian society, including advocates and members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer communities have been fighting for the reversal of Section 377 that criminalizes and punishes all sexual acts that are deemed as ‘unnatural’. In 2009, the Delhi High Court issued a verdict making the law inapplicable in cases of consensual sex. However, this ruling applied to NCR alone. In 2013, the Delhi High Court ruling was challenged again, further reinstating Section 377.
On July 10 2018, the Supreme Court began hearing the petition against the constitutionality of Section 377. While majority of Indians still support the idea that being gay is unnatural and should remain a criminal offense, there is a small but strong group of advocates in favour of decriminalising the act. As per the latter, Section 377 violates the fundamental right to privacy that every citizen of the country is entitled to, irrespective of his or her gender or sexual orientation. There are innumerable references of same sex love throughout Indian history, depicted in art, law and literature. Kama Sutra, the world’s most famous sex handbook also mentions the existence of two kinds of men – those who desire women, and those who desire other men. Thus, homosexuality is not a western idea, but homophobia is.
Even today, despite the ban on same-sex intercourse, the country has a discreet yet buzzing gay scene, especially in cosmopolitan centres such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. While Section 377 overtly criminalises same-sex intercourse, it doesn’t criminalise identifying as part of the LGBTQI community. This however, is not to say that openly gay people in India do not face widespread discrimination.
The LaLiT Group seeks to create a safe, gender agnostic place and promote the message of #PureLove. We welcome everyone without any discrimination on the basis on gender, sexual preferences, religion and physical abilities. We respect your choices and celebrate diversity! From hosting events for differently abled, LGBTQI community, acid attack survivors, pet friendly brunches and more, we strongly believe in celebrating diversity and welcoming all with the message of #PureLove! The executive director of the LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group, Mr. Keshav Suri has been a vocal LGBTQI advocate, routinely acknowledging how wealth and power have shielded him from the adversities faced by majority of other members. The same wealth and power have also allowed him the ability to actively fight for the rights of the entire community. He recently filed a petition to the Supreme Court against Section 377, joining the group of plaintiffs in the current lawsuit.
Mr. Keshav Suri has been vocal about Section 377 not only being a violation of human rights but also highlighting its capitalist economic aspects. He is one of the first Indian business tycoons to offer health care and additional benefits to same-sex members of the hotel. He believes in the power of the ‘pink economy’ and how India’s strength in numbers is the roadmap for a safer future. We must join hands to build a safe, diverse and inclusive society for all.