gay trans sex
"Nobody invites us to social events. Social ostracisation for LGBTQ community is something that breaks us apart. We have been religiously kept out of all the celebrations and events. Our representation and culture is always sexualised. We are human beings too and we need to vent our emotions. These spaces give us that opportunity." Illustration: Priyanka Paul.


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Inside the Secret World of Gay & Trans Sex Parties of India

Crossdressers, gay and trans-Indians are raving, but their queer parties tell us a story beyond sex.

This July, we’re heating things up with Sex-Rated: The VICE Guide to Sex in India. Come with us as we dive deep into Indian sexuality, as well as cherry-pick some of the best videos and stories about sex from VICE around the world. Read more here.

I was at a queer get-together a few months ago. A boy asked me, “Have you been to a beach sex party? Do you want to come with us?” Group sex or private orgies have been a very common phenomenon in the Indian gay culture. The advent of the internet and dating/hook-up apps have only made it easier. And no city is exempt, from Mumbai and Delhi to tier two spots like Dehradun, Pune and Jaipur.


I was pretty oblivious to this secret sex party scene. I always wanted to visit one so I instantly agreed. Our host added, “There’s crossdressing, dance performances, traditional food, games and a pool party, all in one night! You will get to see me in drag.”

“This sounds very exciting,” I said to myself.

I followed up with them for the next three months. There wasn’t any party being organised for a long time. It was strange. Usually, there’s one organised every month or two, or so I was told. Until one bright morning, I got a WhatsApp message with details about the next gathering.

On the day of the party, I got a confirmation and the exact location of the party at 6 PM. It would begin at 7 PM sharp and wrap up by 1 PM the next day. Besides gay and trans guests, the main attraction would be crossdressers. “They steal the show!” quoted my source Vinod *, who was also one of the organisers.

The location was a faraway beach resort located in a Mumbai suburb. I took the local train and then an auto rickshaw that dropped me off at the end of a narrow lane, where I walked a bit to reach a small gated beachfront house with 15 small rooms spread across two floors. My first thought was to calculate all the possible risks and my safety. I had seen a police chowky five minutes before reaching there and I had noted their number. I felt fairly prepared.


The guys at the makeshift reception smiled, took my cover charge, and ushered me to my room. On the way, I saw a terrace area set up for dinner with a dance floor draped with UV lights and a massive sound system.

The walk to my room was a really long one through dark and noisy corridors. I could already see condom wrappers that had been flung out of open windows. My room, overlooking a beautiful beach, already had a few boys. We shook hands and started on the small talk.

Within a few seconds, I realised that the tiny resort was packed with men. I checked my phone, it was just 7.30 PM. “Most of the people haven’t even started arriving yet,” said my roommate. He was among a group of boys from Gujarat who had travelled specially for the party. “Gujarat is a very dry state. Access to liquor is strenuous. There’s not a very open sex party culture among the gay community there. Some groups exist, but their doors aren’t open for everyone like here. I like this better. People are open and friendly. I get a lot of choice and freedom,” said another guy, as he applied some kohl on his eyelashes. Later that night, I learned that people have travelled from Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

At 9 PM, the music started playing. The boys were still getting ready. The theme for the night was ‘Eid Celebrations’ and some boys had decided to wear beautiful embroidered kurtas, along with fragrant attar. The organiser applied some on me too.


I took a seat near the dining area. A group of elderly cis married men were already there, making their drinks. They were joking about marriage with boys who were going through that phase. I could also see some of the ground floor room doors open where boys were transforming themselves into gorgeous women.

As they began coming out in public, I could make out a sense of insecurity on their face. They were constantly looking into their phone screen, checking if their make-up was alright. I overheard them comparing their fake breasts animatedly.

“I didn’t like crossdressers in the past. I was scared and ignorant of their personality and considered them gross. However, these parties really exposed me to them and their culture and I must say that I admire them and treat them as my friends today,” said Sumeet *, a 38-year-old bisexual man who had been coming to these parties for the past few years. Through him I learned, gay men can perpetuate unhealthy stereotypes too, replicating patriarchal structures, shunning crossdressers from the community. Ironically, boys who expressed concerns with drag queens earlier were seen dancing together blithely later.

We stopped the music for dinner. It was followed by a round of eating the most popular delicacy of Eid, sheer kurma. It was the sweetest gesture of the night, and my first sheer kurma for Eid this year. The dinner break was short, and very quickly everybody was back on the dance floor, with frenzied moments interspersed with special Kathak and belly dance performances.


I chatted with Shahid *, a 20-year-old androgynous belly dancer, and the youngest member of the organising committee. “My only dream is to become a dancer. I am auditioning for a couple of talent shows this year and I spend most of my days practising belly dance,” they said. When I asked them if they had received any education, they couldn’t answer me, later confessing that education was expensive. “With all the bullying and stigma, many gay people like us, especially those who are visibly effeminate drop out of schools and colleges,” they added. A report by The YP Foundation states only 11.6% of self-identified trans people have regular jobs. 58% of them drop out before 10th grade. 96% of them face some form of violence, but never report it.

Here tonight, as far as I could make out, there were just two things people had opted to do: Dance and have sex! The rooms and corridors were filled with people making out consensually and the dance floor had never-ending energy.

I spent some time at the reception desk to understand everyone’s arrival and departure patterns. Akshay *, another 35-year-old co-organiser gave me company. He had been organising queer parties for over 7 years, and this was their 75th one in Mumbai. They started in 2007 and have since expanded to Nashik, Pune, Nagpur and Gujarat. He said, “People mostly come till 1 AM and then we turn this into a bar table. On New Year’s eve, we were handling entries till 5 AM.”


A little later in the night, I saw a group of elderly trans-women secretly coming in and leaving in the dark. “They just meet everyone for a few hours and go back,” said Akshay. “Also, travelling in broad daylight amongst public is not something they prefer,” he added. I wondered why because I was mesmerised to see them sparkling with radiant smiles and dressed gracefully in their brightest colourful paithani sarees and jewellery. “This is not how I have usually seen trans people in our country,” I confessed to Akshay.

As dawn broke, most people had either left or gone to sleep. The girls had reversed themselves into washed-out bored men. I was exhausted but wide awake, having oscillated between the dance floor, hotel lobby and reception area. Next on the schedule was a pool party, but the mood seemed to have set with the moon.

It was impressive to note that no illegal drugs were being visibly consumed through the night. I was expecting these parties to be fuelled with drugs, especially stimulants that give the impression of an increased sex drive. There was not a single incident of violence or harassment. The girls broke into a silly argument once, but they made sure they didn’t grab the spotlight and later hugged out their differences.

“We haven’t faced any problems so far. Of course once in a while we have people acting up on intoxicants, but we have maintained the decorum of the party since many years now. We do not allow illegal substances and monitor everyone if we find them shady,” added Vinod. He says that when he started these parties there were about 50 to 100 attendees, but the news spread like fire, and now each party hosts over 300 people. They use WhatsApp and Instagram to promote the party, but most people come through personal invitations.

At 1 PM, I walked out happy. At some point I thought about why I chose to be there, but a couple of days ago, at midnight, out of nowhere, a few self-identifying heterosexuals played loud music and danced for 30 minutes near my building gate. Nobody asked them why they were doing it. It was their privilege, and I wondered if they were aware of how special it was, easily earned and easily enjoyed. And how difficult such a moment might be for someone else to enjoy.

“Nobody invites us to social events. Social ostracisation for LGBTQ community is something that breaks us apart. We have been religiously kept out of all the celebrations. Our representation and culture is always sexualised. We are human beings too and we need to vent our emotions. These spaces give us that opportunity,” summed up Shree*, a 50-year-old transwoman from Rajkot.

*Names have been changed on request.

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