Senguptas, a lesbian haberdasher, is part of a growing number of lesbians who are demanding the right to live their lives openly.
The 39-year-old hairdressing student from Bengaluru, who identifies as a gay, has been denied several haircuts by her parents, who are of the same religion.
“I am a lesbian and I have had several attempts to get a haircut from my parents,” she told Al Jazeera.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t even know what a haircut was.”‘
I don’t want a haircut’When Senguppa was about to start her fourth year at college, she started receiving threatening calls.
“I had to hide in the bathroom, and the people who were calling said that I was a lesbian,” she said.
“They were threatening to beat me up if I didn\’t get a cut.”
“It was just so humiliating and I couldn’t understand what was happening,” Sengupi said.
Sengupas mother, a retired teacher, said she was not sure why her daughter was being targeted.
“If a man goes for a haircut, it’s the first thing he does,” she recalled.
Sengupta said that she is not a lesbian, but that she was bullied by her family when she was a child.
“The people who are attacking me now are my family members,” she added.
She said that when she started to come out to her friends, she was told to get back to her mother.
“My mother is still the only person who still knows about my sexual orientation,” she explained.
“It has made me feel uncomfortable.
I don’t know what to do, what to tell my friends.”
The government in Bengaluru has launched a campaign to protect lesbian habersters rights, which it hopes will increase their visibility.
But activists say that despite the government’s efforts, discrimination remains rampant.
The Human Rights Commission of India (HRCI) recently reported that about 20% of lesbians and bisexuals have been subjected to violence and harassment.
In December this year, the HRCI launched a two-month-long project to promote lesbian harems in the city.
“A lesbian haver is a lesbian who has a male partner and they have a heterosexual partner,” said Nirmal Mehta, a lawyer who works for the LGBT advocacy group, Equality Now.
“There are many gay people who have been discriminated against and have not been able to find jobs,” Mehtas told Aljazeera.
“They are forced to live in different communities, and they are not getting married, they are living in squalor.”
In the first half of 2017, the Karnataka state government enacted laws to criminalise homosexual activity.
The LGBTI community has protested against these laws in the state capital, Kannur, and called for the repeal of the law.
But, for now, the campaign for the law is stalled.
The HRCI is also planning a national campaign to support lesbian hares, which will be launched by the government in May.
The campaign will be accompanied by a programme on education, healthcare and employment, said Niroshan Singh, the organisation\’s general secretary.
“We are hoping to get the government to take action against the laws and support lesbian-bisexual communities,” he said.
Santosh Gupta, an LGBT activist, told AlJazeera that while there is hope that the government will do so, a major hurdle lies ahead.
“All the gay rights activists in Karnataka, including LGBTI activists, are very worried about the repeal,” he added.
“We are all looking at each other in the streets.
If this law is passed, we will be fighting to make it law.”