ADDED ON: 01/12/2023

Leader of influential Hindu group backs LGBT rights in India

01/11/2023 | Devi Discourse

The leader of a Hindu group that is the parent organisation of India’s ruling party has come out in support of the gay and transgender community, days before the government is due to respond to the Supreme Court about petitions to legalise same-sex marriage. India decriminalised homosexuality when it scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex in 2018, but it remains a taboo topic in this socially conservative country of 1.4 billion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has in the past refused to legalise same-sex marriage. But the recent comments by Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the powerful Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the fountainhead of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), could force the government to reassess its opposition, said a junior minister in the federal government and a senior BJP leader, both declining to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media. Speaking to an RSS-backed magazine published this week, Bhagwat said the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community “should have their own private and social space as they are humans and have the right to live as others”.

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