Mumbai is an exciting city, bursting with energy, history, art, and awe-inspiring architecture. Previously known as Bombay, the city is the birthplace of Bollywood and home to the countries financial district. It is also famed for having a relaxed cosmopolitan vibe.
But what is it like to be Gay in Mumbai? Is the attitude towards the LGBT+ community as liberal as Mumbai’s reputation suggests? We travelled to Mumbai to find out. We learnt that following the historic 2018 decision to decriminalise homosexuality in India, the gay scene in Mumbai is in fact on the rise.
Truth be told; this was a surprise. In our experience, India was still very socially conservative. We certainly hadn’t heard of any hint of a gay scene in the likes of Jaipur, Varanasi, or even Goa! But with LGBT organisations such as ‘It Gets Better India‘ and the ‘Keshav Suri Foundation‘ continuously fighting for visibility and acceptance, times ARE changing.
As it turns out, Mumbai is indeed a city full of surprises. Asides from the gay scene, she is a paradoxical city. One that gives with one hand and takes with the other. An extreme divide between rich and poor; A city that makes dreams or breaks them; A fast-paced lifestyle that can exhilarate or exhaust. Mumbai is the epitome of crazy/beautiful India, and we loved every intoxicating minute of it.
In this travel guide, we will outline all the best places to go in Mumbai as an LGBT+ traveller. You’ll find a list of gay-friendly hotels and bars and our top tips as an LGBT couple in Mumbai. We will also touch on LGBT+ rights and social opinions in India, to help you prepare for an incredible, and most importantly, a safe, trip of a lifetime.
Lesbian Mumbai & LGBT+ Rights in India
When it comes to LGBT rights in India, the past 20 years have been a long and volatile road. A series of significant wins and disappointing setbacks saw LGBT activists taking one step forward and two steps back again.