Vice has published an article looking into the rising number of Indian gangs that are using dating apps to physically and emotionally assault members of the LGBTQ community.
The Indian Supreme Court abolished the country’s anti-gay sex laws seven months ago. However, LGBTQ people say they are now scared of being beaten up or killed for being true to their identity, rather than just worried about being outed to their friends and family.
The Humsafar Trust, the first openly-gay community based organisation in Mubai, has reportedly dealt with 25 serious cases of extortion, theft and harassment since the revolutionary Section 377 ruling.
Advocacy Manager at The Humsafar Trust Koninika Roy said to Vice: “Extortion gangs used to create fake accounts on apps like Grindr and Romeo and threaten to out gay men they catfished online, under the garb of Section 377.”
New signups for Grindr and PlanetRomeo have their pictures verified as well as linking Facebook profiles as an authentication tool, a system that aims to reduce the number of fake accounts.
Ashish Pandya was attacked by two men when he agreed to meet someone he had been talking to on a gay platform. He reminds people to be cautious when dating online because, despite the law change, the stigma around the LGBTQ community still remains.
He told Vice: “Get to really know the person you’re chatting with. Go through their Facebook and Instagram, and make sure to meet in a public place.
“Dating is not illegal, neither is being gay. If you ever encounter such things, contact NGOs in your area or talk to cops alongside a lawyer. Remember that you are not a lesser mortal.”
Read more here.