Non-Binary Tourism Scene in India: Progressive and Safer

Non-Binary Tourism Scene in India: Progressive and Safer
Non-Binary Tourism Scene in India: Progressive and Safer
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Written by Binayak Karki

Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, announced plans to offer free travel benefits to individuals of the third gender on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses, following the successful implementation of a similar initiative for women in 2019.

The Indian Chief Minister Kejriwal emphasized the importance of equality and dignity for all members of society, stating that the move aims to address the discrimination faced by the non-binary community.

A senior Delhi transport department official confirmed the government’s intention to extend free travel privileges to the non-binary, citing the availability of data from the social welfare department to facilitate the scheme’s implementation.

Those interested in availing of the benefit will be required to provide certificates issued by the revenue department.

The decision comes after a representation to legally recognize the transgender community as the third gender in bus tickets issued by the DTC, as directed by the Delhi High Court last year.

Additionally, the Delhi government has previously approved measures to support non-binary individuals, such as including a “third gender” category in job application forms and establishing monitoring cells to address instances of abuse.

According to the 2011 Census, the non-binary population in Delhi numbered 4,213, with only 1,176 enrolled as voters.

The proposed extension of free travel benefits is seen as a positive step towards improving the welfare and inclusion of the third-gender community in Delhi’s public transport system.

According to the Census 2011, the first nationwide transgender population count suggested that 490,000 people identify themselves as non-binary, and live in India.

Homosexuality in India

Homosexuality in India has a rich historical context, documented in various artworks and literary works since ancient times. Modern politics continues to grapple with LGBTQ rights, with homosexuality being legally permitted but same-sex unions having limited recognition. Estimates of the LGBTQ population vary, with figures ranging from “at least 2.5 million” to around 125 million people.

In a landmark decision on September 7, 2018, the Supreme Court of India invalidated part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, legalizing homosexuality. However, certain provisions remained, including those concerning homosexual rape. With the replacement of the Indian Penal Code in December 2023, homosexual rape ceased to be illegal throughout India.

Despite legal advancements, homophobia remains prevalent in India, inhibiting public discussion of homosexuality. However, attitudes are slowly shifting, with increased media and cinema depictions of homosexuality. Organizations advocating for LGBTQ rights continue to push for tolerance and social equality, addressing issues of violence and lack of support faced by the community.

Queer Travel Safety Concerns in India

In India, while most travelers, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, can expect a welcoming experience, discretion is advised, especially in conservative areas.

Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon for all couples. However, queer travelers are likely to encounter more tolerance compared to local LGBTQIA+ individuals due to the importance of tourism. Queer scenes are mainly found in major cities like Mumbai and Delhi, with events like the KASHISH film festival and Pride parades. Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, and Goa also have active queer communities and LGBTQIA+-friendly establishments.

About the author

Avatar of Binayak Karki

Binayak Karki

Binayak - based in Kathmandu - is an editor and author writing for eTurboNews.

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