An LGBTQ revolution in India sets the pace for global change

March 14, 2023 at 12:52 PM

Aditi Anand and Susan Dias want to get married in India, and they’re willing to fight for it. For more than a decade, the couple put in the hard work of building a life together. 

They bought a house, adopted a child and cofounded companies. They came out to their families and marched in pride parades.

This year, Anand and Dias became part of the first group of Indians to petition the Supreme Court for the legal right to marry. In doing so, they’ve come to symbolize a remarkable wave of change in India, where grassroots lobbying and aggressive litigation have converged in recent years to shape one of the world’s most effective movements for the rights of LGBTQ people.

In quick succession, India’s Supreme Court has affirmed a constitutional right to privacy, toppled a colonial-era law criminalizing sex between men and expanded legal protections for “atypical” families, a category that includes same-sex couples as well as blended and intergenerational households. Companies run advertisements with same-sex couples to sell everything from jewelry to spirits to insurance. And India’s massive film industry, where onscreen kisses were once rare, regularly features lesbian and gay characters.

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