NPR

India's LGBTQ Activists Await Supreme Court Verdict On Same-Sex Intercourse Ban

Activists are challenging the law, which dates back to the British colonial era. More Indian cities are hosting gay pride parades, but some polls show most Indians still frown on homosexuality.
Despite a ban on same-sex intercourse, India has a discreet gay scene in cosmopolitan centers, including at the Lalit hotel, where Rani Ko-He-Nur attends a drag night. The hotel's executive director is one of the plaintiffs in a Supreme Court case seeking to overturn the ban. Source: Furkan Latif Khan/NPR

For 30 years, health counselor Arif Jafar has been handing out condoms at the sprawling Charbagh train station in his hometown of Lucknow, a midsize city in northern India.

His clients are males who have sex with males, and the train station is a spot where they feel safe, he says — a public area, bustling with people, where they can blend in with the crowds. A few times a week, Jafar, 48, holds counseling sessions right next to the train platforms. He hands out condoms and flyers with cartoons demonstrating how to use them. Many of his clients cannot read.

But in India, showing men how to use a condom for sex with other men can land you in prison. Section 377 of the outlaws any sex — even consensual — that goes "against the order of nature." The law dates back

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