India’s economy is changing thanks to the legalization of homosexuality.
Last September, India’s Supreme Court ruled that its colonial-era Section 377 law, which banned gay sex, was unconstitutional. This historic ruling thus allowed LGBTQ people to be open about their sexual and gender identities without, as much, scrutiny.
In the few months since that ruling, there has been a shift in the economic climate in the country. According to the Thomas Reuters Foundation, several businesses are now vying for the attention of LGBTQ people. The reason? There are almost 56 million LGBTQ adults who make $113 billion combined in a year, according to Paris-based firm Out Now Consulting.
“The Indian LGBT+ market is one that is clearly substantial and which we expect to grow fairly rapidly in coming months and years as a direct result of the Supreme Court decision,” said Ian Johnson, chief executive of Out Now Consulting.
“A significant legal change… creates a new visibility and comfort factor for many more companies, who then feel that a barrier is removed, allowing them to comfortably include LGBT+ people as part of their overall marketing efforts,” he added.
That said, some are seeing this change in business tactics as a copout. There’s the fear that companies will start “pinkwashing,” or using LGBTQ pride as a quick marketing tactic for easy sales. And let’s be honest, this is something Western society sees quite frequently (and especially around June).
“That’s terrible because you should have been an ally anyway because aren’t we using your cabs? Aren’t we watching movies in your theaters? We’re doing everything that a straight person does,” said popular drag queen Rani Ko-He-Nur.
“If anything, you should be more accepting towards everybody. That’s when you’re truly a good business.”
But, what is for sure is that businesses are finding the pool of “pink economy” to be “too big and too hard to ignore,” according to gay hotelier Keshav Suri.
Whether they are true allies or just want money, businesses in India are now conscious of the LGBTQ customer base. And the pool is only getting bigger.
“If they are not serving (us) then it is their loss, not ours,” says Kiara Iyer, transgender woman and marketing executive at the gay nightclub Kitty Su.
“Pink economy is one most important thing which is going to boom in the next coming years.”