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HomeWorld NewsAt the end of Pride Month, assessing the LGBTQIA+ communities’ rights: Data

At the end of Pride Month, assessing the LGBTQIA+ communities’ rights: Data

While 79 countries have banned same-sex marriage, 37 have fully legalised it.

Map 2 | The map shows the status of same-sex marriage in different countries around the world as of 2024.

A few countries have also left the communities unrecognised, rendering their status ambiguous. India falls under this category. Some have allowed same-sex couples to opt for civil unions. While the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in 2018 by partially striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Indian queer communities’ plea to the Court to legalise same-sex unions was rejected in October 2023. Indian courts have acknowledged same-sex couples’ right to cohabitation.

Although being queer is not a crime in India any more, people who identify as queer still face discrimination, harassment, and exclusion. They are not afforded the legal aid necessary to protect themselves from discrimination.

Transgender and intersex employees in India can seek legal recourse in the face of discrimination on the basis of gender in hiring, promotion, termination, or harassment. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, prohibits unfair treatment with regard to employment, education, healthcare, public facilities, residence, and more.

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India is one of the four countries in the world that provides employee legal aid only on the basis of gender identity, including transgender persons. However, employees are not guaranteed any legal aid when discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. There is no means of legally registering or identifying one’s sexuality. Legal aid is available on the basis of sexual orientation in 27 countries.

In 90 countries around the world, there are no legal protections available to queer employees.

Map 3 | The map shows different countries’ stances on employee discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality, as of 2024.

In India, members of the LGBTQIA+ communities cannot be recognised as co-parents to an adopted child. However, as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, a prospective adoptive parent is allowed to adopt a child irrespective of marital status.

Currently, 39 countries around the world allow same-sex parents to adopt children, and 45 countries have banned the same. However, 100 countries have arrangements similar to India, wherein single parents are allowed to adopt children, with certain conditions.

The decriminalisation of Section 377 was undoubtedly a huge victory for the LGBTQIA+ communities in India. However, queer people still struggle to fight for their constitutional rights, for acceptance in their families, for recognition and growth in their jobs, for equality and justice in their everyday lives and interactions, and overall inclusion.

Also read: Rising cases under PoSH Act point to better reporting

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