India’s biggest LGBT rights organisation says it is witnessing a ‘dying to have been born’ phenomenon, with many people who would never have considered their sexual orientation ‘gay’ considering the country to be ‘a deathtrap’ where homosexuality is not tolerated.
India’s largest LGBT rights group says it has witnessed a ‘deathtrap’ phenomenon in which many gay and bisexual people have sought to hide their sexual preferences, as the country’s laws are failing to protect them.
The Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (GLHRC) says more than 1,100 people have committed suicide in India since 2010.
GLHRC has reported at least 3,000 LGBT suicides in the past decade.
Many people have come to terms with their homosexuality, but they continue to struggle with their feelings and their sexuality.
“We’ve seen a growing number of people who have come out to their parents, to their family members, to the police.
They’re scared to come out, afraid of losing their jobs and their livelihoods, afraid to go to university.
They have come from a life of being in the closet and living in fear,” GLHCC India secretary Prakash Bhatia told Al Jazeera.
In February, a group of 15 people died of natural causes after jumping from a bridge in the western Indian state of Odisha.
The group was protesting against the death sentence given to two of the group’s members for sexually assaulting two teenage girls.
The same month, a 25-year-old woman in Kerala died of cardiac arrest after being raped.
GlHRC said the number of suicides in India is rising, but the rate of deaths is not improving.
GLHCC’s India director, Virendra Shinde, said the death toll is likely to continue to rise, even if the government changes the law.
“We’re expecting a rise in suicides, especially if the death penalty is changed to life imprisonment,” Shindes told Al Jazeeras.
“If the government of India changes its laws, there is going to be a growing death toll, even though there is no change in the death rate.
There are no guarantees for the victims of these crimes, and that’s why we have to be patient and hope for a change in law,” he said.
The Indian government has not yet responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.
As the country struggles to implement the countrys anti-discrimination laws, it is not uncommon for LGBT people to report homophobic or transphobic hate crimes to police or the judiciary.