Anyone above the age of 18, has the right to love and have consensual sexual relationships with anyone that they wish to1 irrespective of their gender. Previously, consensual sexual acts between adults of the same gender were punishable under the law with jail time and a fine.2 After 2018, such sexual acts are not punishable anymore under Indian law.3
No one can harass you, hurt you, complain to the police and you cannot be sent to jail or face harassment or violence for:
Your sexual orientation
This means that you cannot face any violence being sexually attracted to a person of any gender, including that of the same gender or a transgender person. You can:
- Be in a relationship and love a partner of any gender.
- Have consensual sexual intercourse with a partner of any gender.
- Move freely in any public space with your partner without any fear.
Your gender Identity
You also have a right to identify which gender you wish to be identified with. After 20144, Courts have held that apart from “male”and “female”, you also have the right to identify and recognize yourself under the category of “third gender” (transgender). As per the law, you don’t have to undergo Gender Affirmative Therapy to fall under the category of third gender. For instance, if you were born in a female body but feel that you actually identify with being a male then you can choose to identify with this gender.
To identify yourself under the 3 categories, you can change your name and get identification documents which denote the gender you want to be identified with.
You should file a complaint against anyone who harasses you as it is your right to live your life without any interference from the police, your parents etc. or any other person.
- Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M. and Ors. (2018)16 SCC 368; Navtej Singh Johar and Ors. v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (2018)10 SCC 1; National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (2014)5SCC438.
- Section 377, Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- Navtej Singh Johar and Ors. v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (2018)10 SCC 1.
- National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors., (2014) 5 SCC 438.