Danish Sheikh


Late in the afternoon on an early spring day, the Supreme Court of India

began hearing the final arguments that would determine the legal status

of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in India. Earlier

that very week, I told my parents that I was a member of the litigation team

- and that I was gay. Without warning, I found arguments from a heated

family discussion reverberating in the chambers of a court of law.

These dialogues were inevitable: both the ones in the courtroom and

the ones with my parents. In 2009, the Indian LGBT community took its

first step towards equal sexual citizenship through the Delhi High Court's

judgment in the matter of Naz Foundation v. NCT of Delhi and Others The

Bench, comprising then Chief Justice of the High Court Justice A.P. Shah

and Justice Muralidhar, crafted a 105-page document that is considered a

landmark moment in Indian judicial history. The judgment not only empowered

a historically marginalized community, but it also laid the foundation

to strengthen other human rights struggles in the country with its expansive

reading of constitutional rights. Yet for all the revelry that

surrounded the judgment, there was an equally fierce backlash that played

out across Indian television screens as advocates for the movement faced

off with opponents from religious groups of all faiths and denominations. It

was inevitable then, that within two weeks of the decision, an appeal was

filed before the Supreme Court of India.