India's wealthy gays keep niche market in the pink

Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:39am EDT
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By Henry Foy

NEW DELHI (Reuters Life!) - From nightclubs to publishing, the decriminalization of gay sex in India is facilitating a new, multimillion dollar niche market.

As India's gay community emerges from the closet following a court order lifting a ban on homosexual sex last year, a small group of pioneers is staking claim to the so-called pink economy that in the United States alone is worth $640 billion a year.

There are no estimates of the size of India's gay economy, but a lucrative market for gay-focused ventures is not far from reach, given that global tourist hotspot India has 70 million homosexuals.

In New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, trailblazing entrepreneurs are chasing the gay business.

Since July over 15 bars across New Delhi have hosted gay events, up from just one event at one bar a week two years ago.

India's first gay-products store, Azaad Bazaar in Mumbai, has seen a year of growth, penetrating mainstream stores across the country with its merchandise., India's first gay online bookshop, is exploring publishing titles in the next 6 to 8 months.

Manish Sharma, a gay events promoter from New Delhi, hosts regular parties attended by over 200, while Sanjay Malhotra runs India's first gays-only travel agency, IndjaPink.   Continued...