Concept

Hinduism and LGBT topics

Summary
Hindu views of homosexuality and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues more generally are diverse, and different Hindu groups have distinct views. A number of Hindu texts have portrayed homosexual experience as natural and joyful, the Kamasutra affirms and recognises same-sex relations, and there are several Hindu temples which have carvings that depict both men and women engaging in homosexual acts. The Vedas do not restrict homosexuality and there are numerous Hindu deities that are shown to be gender-fluid and falling into the LGBT spectrum. Same-sex relations and gender variance have been represented within Hinduism from the Vedic times through to the present day, in rituals, law books, religious or narrative mythologies, commentaries, paintings, and even sculptures. The Arthashastra argues that some homosexual intercourse is an offence, and encourages chastity (however, this also applies to heterosexual intercourse). The Dharmashastra recognises, albeit reluctantly, the existence of homosexuality, without openly condemning it in religious or moral terms. The Manusmriti regards homosexual (as well as heterosexual) acts in an ox cart as a source of ritual pollution, something to be expiated by Brahmin males through ritual immersion. In 2009, the Delhi High Court legalised homosexuality in India, but the Supreme Court of India subsequently overturned the high court's decision. The Supreme Court of India, in a later ruling in 2018, reversed its previous verdict and decriminalised homosexual intercourse and relationships. Some Hindu priests have performed same sex marriages in temples. Sexuality is rarely discussed openly in contemporary Hindu society, especially in modern India where homosexuality was illegal until a brief period beginning in 1860, due to colonial British laws. In 2009, The Delhi High Court in a historic judgement decriminalised homosexuality in India; where the court noted that the existing laws violated fundamental rights to personal liberty (Article 21 of the Indian Constitution) and equality (Article 14) and prohibition of discrimination (Article 15).
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