Timeline of Tamil sexual minorities

Last updated

The following list is a partially completed compilation of events considered to have a profound effect on the welfare or image of Tamil sexual minorities. The use of bold typeface indicates that the event is widely considered to be landmark:



3rd century BC to c. 4th century AD





  • A same-sex wedding is held in South Africa according to Hindu rites. [12]
  • Thirunangai.net, the world's first matrimonial website for trans women, is launched by Kalki Subramaniam of the Sahodari Foundation. [13]
  • Peer-counseling multi-weekend course of Shakthi Resource Centre and Center for Counseling.
  • Public screening of Milk, organized by the U.S. Consulate at Film Chamber, as part of the Oscars film festival. [14]
  • The High Court of Delhi suspends the colonial-era law banning homosexuality.
  • The Hindu Council of Britain announces that Hinduism does not condemn homosexuality. [15]
  • The Hindu, national newspaper published from Chennai, features editorial in support of LGBT rights post-Naz decision. [16]
  • First Chennai Rainbow Pride March. [17]
  • Campaign for Open Minds launched.
  • Chennai Rainbow Coalition started.
  • First meet for parents of LGBT people in Chennai organised by Center for Counseling. [18]
  • Reverend George Zachariah delivers inspiring sermon at Gurukul Chapel calling on Christians to be inclusive of LGBT people. [19]
  • Transgender woman, Narthaki Nataraj, conferred Nrityachoodamani title by Krishna Gana Sabha. [20]



  • First edition of 'Our Children'/'Nam Kuzhanthaigal' booklet for parents of LGBT children released by Orinam.
  • Chennai Dost formed.
  • Launch of Tamil edition of the Love That Dare Speak Its Name post-377 anthology by Sangama Chennai.
  • RIOV, a social group for lesbians and bisexual women. [21]
  • September: Skandaraj Navaratnam is murdered by former partner and serial killer Bruce McArthur in Toronto, Canada. [22]


  • Srishti Madurai formed as India's first student volunteer LGBTQIA educational research foundation. [23]
  • Maatruveli (மாற்றுவெளி), a Tamil academic journal brings out a special issue on sexuality, guest edited by Ponni and Aniruddhan Vasudevan.
  • Chennai Dost website launched. [24]
  • Chemistry Club campus groups launched by Chennai Dost. [25]
  • Public protests against homophobic remarks made by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. [26]
  • Srishti Madurai launches India's first helpline for Genderqueer, LGBTQIA at Madurai.


  • Asia's first Genderqueer pride parade and Alan Turing centenary celebrations commenced at Madurai in July 2012. [27] [28]
  • Reading group called Orinam's Quilt is launched.
  • First LGBT education fest for school students launched by Srishti Madurai at Madurai. It was attended by 600 school students. [29]
  • Gopi Shankar Madurai of Srishti Madurai becomes the youngest panelist to share a chair at the University Grants Commission's sponsored seminars on gender and sexuality that have been taking place in Tamil Nadu since 2012–2014. [23]


  • First officially sponsored LGBT sensitization event at IIT-Madras. [30]
  • Chennai Rainbow Film Festival organized by Chennai Dost and Alliance Francaise.
  • LGBTQ helpline launched by Srishti Madurai begins 24-hour service with tagline "Just having someone understanding to talk to can save a life". [31]
  • Chennai International Queer Film Festival is organized by a collective of groups - Orinam, Goethe-Institut, RIOV, Nirangal, SAATHII, East-West Center for Counselling, Shakthi Resource Centre, and Oye!Chennai.
  • The American College in Madurai undergraduate English department includes Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai as part of syllabus under gay literature and The Truth about me: A Hijra Life story by A. Revathi under Third Gender literature marginalized studies. [32]
  • Nirangal registered as an NGO (formerly Sangama Chennai).
  • The Supreme Court of India rules that constitutional law relating to a ban on gay sex should be required to be subject to a constitutional reform procedures unless superseded by higher law, and restores the colonial era law banning gay sex. [33]
  • Orinam launches 377archives. [34]


  • First book on genderqueer in Tamil and first Tamil book on LGBTQIA from Srishti Madurai released by BJP's state general secretary Vanathi Srinivasan at the Hindu spiritual service foundation's sixth service fair, Chennai. [35] [36] [37]
  • Orinam launches 377letters, an online archive of letters to the Chief Justice of India opposing the Supreme Court verdict. [38]
  • First homophobic rally in Chennai by Christians Against Homosexuality collective. [39]
  • Christians Against Homophobia started in response to the Christians Against Homosexuality collective. Mailing list goes national. [40]
  • Madras High Court ruling on 17 April in Jackuline Mary vs. The Superintendent of Police, Karur cites NALSA to grant recognition to a police constable's right to self-identify as a woman and condemns physical/medical testing. [41]
  • Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition formed.
  • Nir, a queer feminist collective, formed.
  • Vannam, IIT Madras queer collective formed. [42]
  • A month long celebration commences in October to celebrate LGBT History Month at The American College in Madurai with a lecture on gender and sexual minorities organised by Srishti Madurai. [32]


  • Tamil movie "I" by Shankar released with transphobic depictions leading to community protests throughout state.
  • Thirunangai (trans woman) Bhavana sexually assaulted by Pulianthope police after detention for an alleged crime.
  • Chennai Rainbow Film Festival 2015 is organized by Chennai Dost on June 26–28. [43]
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, starts offering "Others" option in the gender column of the application form due to the efforts of Gopi Shankar Madurai of Srishti Madurai and the student community at JNU. [23]
  • Srishti Madurai urges Lok Sabha MP's to include intersex people in a bill to protect the rights of trans people. [44] [45]
  • Tamil Nadu LGBTIQ community organizes online campaign for HIV Awareness.



  • LGBT Workplace: Expanding the Dialogue in India, an event that brought together employers, employees, and activists to address challenges faced by the LGBTQ community. [57] [58]
  • The Gabrielle Show – Chennai's first drag show. [59]
  • Community gathering and discussion on online safety and harassment [60] held as part of Chennai Rainbow Pride month.
  • First-of-its-kind Tamil Lesbian Anthem as part of a documentary titled, Ladies And Gentle Women. [61]
  • The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka proclaims that it would be inappropriate to impose custodial sentences in a situation where two parties have consensual sex even when criminalized by law. [62]


  • The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) passes a landmark judgment upholding the marriage rights of transgender and intersex women under Hindu Marriage Law [63] and issues direction to ban sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants based on the works of Gopi Shankar. [64] The Court took note of the rampant practice of compulsory sex reassignment surgeries performed on intersex infants and children. The court expressed its gratitude to Shankar, noting that his work has been a "humbling and enlightening experience for the Court." [65]

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Tamil Nadu are the most progressive among all states of India. Tamil Nadu was the first state in India to introduce a transgender welfare policy, wherein transgender individuals can access free gender affirmation surgery in government hospitals and various other benefits and rights. The state was also the first to ban forced sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants, and also the first state to include an amendment in its state police guidelines that expects officers to abstain from harassing the LGBTQIA+ community and its members. The state also became the first to ban conversion therapy and the first to introduce LGBTQIA+ issues in school curricula.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chennai Rainbow Pride</span> LGBTIQA+ Pride March

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Gopi Shankar Madurai is an Indian equal rights and Indigenous rights activist. Shankar was one of the youngest, and the first openly intersex and genderqueer statutory authority and one of the candidates to contest in 2016 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election. Shankar is also the founder of Srishti Madurai Student Volunteer Collective. Shankar's work inspired the Madras High Court to direct the Government of Tamil Nadu to order a ban on forced sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants. In December 2017, Shankar was elected to the executive board of ILGA Asia. In August 2020, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment appointed Shankar as the South Regional representative in the National Council for Transgender Persons.

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Tamil sexual minorities are Tamil people who do not conform to heterosexual gender norms. They may identify as LGBTQIA. It has been estimated that India has a population of 2.5 million homosexuals, though not all of them are Tamil, and not all Tamils live in India.

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<i>S Sushma v. Commissioner of Police</i> Indian LGBT Rights Case Law

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Tamil Nadu does not recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions.


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