the largest nation in South Asia, is extremely diverse culturally.
Indian thought about sexuality and gender has been shaped by many
factors, including religious and ethnic traditions. Historical evidence
suggests considerable social acceptance of sexual diversity in ancient
times, but India appears to be less tolerant today than it was in the
The Indian Flag
Asian Film) have long offered glimpses of alternative
sexualities, though Bollywood cinema is known for its caricatures of
gays and lesbians and derisive treatment of gender nonconformity. In
the 1990s, a number of independent queer Indian filmmakers began to
challenge these conventions.
Buddhism is a minority religion in India today, it originated
there and is based on the
Hindu religion, the most prominent religion
in modern India.
who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for
generations, maintaining a third-gender role that has become
institutionalized through tradition.
the dominant religion of modern India, is no longer as tolerant of
same-sex sexual relations as it seems to have been in the past.
Not only is sexuality
Indian art, but many of India's gods also consider gender to be
a fluid affair, sometimes manifesting as androgynes and sometimes
switching gender altogether.
is the second largest religion in India. Despite religious
prohibitions against same-sex sexual relationships, Islamic societies
generally extend tolerance through a pattern of collective denial.
Perhaps the most
enduring and influential gay partnership in film history,
(b. 1936) are known for their visually sumptuous period
pieces based on literary classics. Their relationship
brings together diverse elements of English, American, and Indian
Khakhar (1934-2003) earned an international reputation for paintings
that are explicitly homosexual in theme, but that also address
universal human needs.
Although the treatment of homosexuality is rare in
Asian literatures in either the ancient or the contemporary
period, the South Asian diaspora has recently produced a number of
gay and lesbian writers.