The Law Isn’t Straight

A queer person’s guide to accessing rights

Summary: This is a manual that aims to assist LGBT+ persons navigate their daily lives by providing guidance on identity documents, violence, education, health and personal finances.

Despite progressive judgments of the Supreme Court in NALSA v Union of India (2014) and Puttaswamy v Union of India (2017), the overall legal regime for queer persons in India remains severely lacking. Recognising the slow nature of legal change and the need for alternate strategies in the meantime, this manual is an attempt to help queer persons navigate their daily lives under this flawed regime. The manual deals with identity documents, violence, education, health and personal finances.

While this manual seeks to be a useful starting tool for LGBTQ+ persons in their attempt to access the legal system, it does not reflect the diverse experiences different persons have while trying to access their rights. We would be grateful for your feedback and hope to update the manual to make it as useful as possible.

Audio guides on how to change your name and gender on your basic identity documents are available in Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.


  1. The Supreme Court of India, in its landmark judgement, Navtej Johar vs. Union of India, has struck down section 377 to the extent that it criminalises sexual intercourse between consenting adults of the same gender. At present section 377 can be used in cases of rape and bestiality.
  2. The application form for PAN cards now has the option of “transgender” person.
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