1990s

Beginning of the Revolution in 1990s

November-December 1991: A document detailing the experiences of gay people in India is released by the AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA), an organisation fighting discrimination against those affected by HIV or AIDS. The document revealed the shocking extent of blackmail, extortion, and violence that gay people faced, especially at the hands of the police. The report called for the repeal of legislation that discriminates against members of the LGBTQ community, including section 377.

August 11, 1992: the first known protest for gay rights in India was being held outside the police headquarters in the ITO area of Delhi, India. It was sparked off by the police picking up men from Central Park in Connaught Place on suspicion of homosexuality — in those days, this kind of harassment was still a ‘normal’ practice. But activists from ABVA decided not to let it pass this time and blocked the entrance to the police headquarters to protest the harassment.

May 1994: Two years later, in 1994, a medical team landed up at Tihar Jail to investigate the high incidence of sodomy reported from the quarters. ABVA activists wanted to distribute condoms to the prisoners, but Kiran Bedi, then Inspector General of Prisons, refused permission saying it would encourage homosexuality, besides admitting that inmates indulge in it. Tihar decided to deal with the “menace of homosexuality”, as Bedi termed it, by mandatorily testing inmates for HIV and segregating those found positive. In response, ABVA files a writ petition in the Delhi high court, demanding that free condoms be provided and that section 377 be recognised as unconstitutional. Despite long-running efforts to mobilise support, the petition is eventually dismissed in 2001.