Men holding hands is not gay in India

Don’t be surprised to see two men holding hands in India. In most European nations and in the USA, this public display of affection can be mistaken for being gay or lesbian but not in India. Here we don’t see it that way. Just because two men (or women) are holding hands or they have hands on other’s shoulders does not mean anything. They just happen to be friends and there is nothing sexual about the whole thing.

Men holding hands in India

Men holding hands in India

So, if you see men or women holding hands with each or showing similar forms of physical intimacy, it does not mean that they romantically involved in any way. It just happens that in some cultures such as India’s, its normal to show their affection by holding hands which might seem inappropriate to those belonging to other cultures.

In fact, in some countries particularly Arab, Africa and some parts of Asia, holding hands is a sign of friendship and/or a sign of respect.

Of course not all men and women hold hands but there are some who do walk in the streets holding hands. It’s a cultural thing and just a demonstration of their heterosexual friendship.

This behaviour of social intimacy exists in all strata of Indian society from the poor and the uneducated in the villages, to the educated urban middle and even some upper classes. However, men in India from the villages are far more comfortable of showing affection to their male friends than their urban counterparts.

If you are a visiting India, do not be alarmed to see some men holding hands; don’t just assume they are gay. Funny thing is that in some parts of the country, it’s still sort of borderline taboo for members of the opposite sex to show signs of affection.

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73 Responses to “Men holding hands is not gay in India”

  1. I guess this might sound strange to the west world to see guys walking holding hands. It equally surprised me at first when I learned that if two girls are walking holding hands in west, they are thought to be lesbians. Cultural differences may extract completely different meanings.

    You made an interesting post out of this fact.

  2. Hi Shalu,

    Absolutely! I’m glad in our country men holding hands has nothing to do with sexuality nor does it indicate they are gay – but just friends – in most of the cases I’d add further. I think if they are gay, they all the more hide from showing their affection publicly in our country, unlike in the USA or other nations.

    For that matter, very few men or women show their affection in public, whether they are married, gay, or lesbians, again unlike in other countries where they are very open about all such things.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead :)

    • Shalu Sharma says:

      You are so right on this and thanks for adding the extra fact that if they were gay, they would try to hide it. In fact being gay or lesbian is something that is frowned upon in India. India has a long way to go as far as accepting these things are concerned. Thanks for your comment and shares.

  3. Sharell Cook says:

    Interesting, I was wondering if it would allow or encourage gay men to be more openly affectionate by holding hands, but apparently not!

  4. Vipin Pandey says:

    I am from UP and till I know something about west and how they identify gay, I surprised that in my state every friend put hand on shoulder each other… and hold hands while walking.. off course they all were not gay 😀
    Thanks for intimating visitors to India .. :)

    • Shalu Sharma says:

      This is exactly what I mean Vipin. We see men walking around hand in hand and we Indians know that they are not gay but to the foreigner they might appear as if they are.

  5. Emmanuel says:

    It used to be normal to see a man holding a fellow man’s hand but not anymore in Ghana.
    With the West pressuring us to accept gayism, such act is now considered ‘abnormal’ hahaa

  6. Brahmadas says:

    Dearest Salu Sharma
    Super post. We have already discussed this matter many time. Because many of our foreign guests asked us by seeing men as well as women publicly walking hand in hand. I remember an occasion when one fellow named Shaon from US expressed his exclamation by saying Kerala is full of gays. Actually his remark about our youngsters who are walking in our public roads holding their hands made us conscious to think about their (foreign guest’s ) view points. Because in their culture, it seems different with particular meaning. But here in India we are free to behave with our friends without any inhibitions.

    Any way super post. Salu Sharma Jee, Keep it up, Superb. A blogger wins to more peaks when he/ she speaks topics which not yet published in blogs… Good

    • Shalu Sharma says:

      I know exactly what you mean when you say that foreigners sometimes questions that these men are gay. But we know that they are not and its just their way of showing affection to their friend.

      Holding hands or putting ares on your friends shoulders is not considered gay in India.

      Thank you for your comment and hope to see you again.

  7. Giriraj says:

    Saying a person a Gay is an important factor for every individual as it is something related to his sexuality but I don’t thing being a gay is taboo (as they say in India). I completely agree with the author that in India you can not consider two men holding hands as Gay.

  8. salagau says:

    It is funny, Salu. Every country has different culture. If it is happened on my country, peoples will expect that they are gay.

  9. Babanature says:

    Hello Shalu,
    I thought i was going to see a perfect explanation for that :) .
    Yes! Before, africa do hold hands and that shows sign of friendships but sometime back, it has become a taboo. The reason it has become a sin in my country, is because of the pressure the americans are putting on the west africans :)

  10. Hari says:

    Just one word for your great thought.


  11. Ahsan says:

    Hello Shalu,

    Yes.. there is far far difference between Asia & Europe & USA culture. In our culture, its common touch each other as friends but in USA it seems to be gay or like that. So I think we are still maintaining good culture.

  12. Mubashir says:

    I am not agreed who said holding hands of same sex refers lesbians or gays. This is non-sense thinking. For me its sign of love which we feel for each other. Brothers, Sisters Parents, Friends etc…

  13. Our society is sure very different and though I have seen many times guys holding hands it never occurred to me that some people may take a meaning out of it.

  14. shiv from droidow says:

    Hahaha…!!! No way two friends can hold each others hand. At least I am not thinking like that. But i think Shalu you are great i never think this can be a topic of discussion. :)

    • Shalu Sharma says:

      Its all about thinking out of the box. The reason why it came to my mind is because I saw some men holding hands and that gave me the idea to write about it. Thanks for your comment.

  15. I. C. Daniel says:

    It looks unnatural for me, here in our country if people see 2 guys holding by hands is pretty awkward.

    Best regards from I. C. Daniel

  16. Celina says:

    I agree with Daniel, it is really looks unnatural. Men holding hands with each, OMG, if I see 2 guys holding by hands is pretty awkward.

  17. Pramod says:

    Well explained Shalu !
    Foreigners might have misconceptions on seeing man holding other man’s hand…they should try to find out the reason behind why they both are holding each others hand before making any misconceptions .


  18. Asia and Africa has a lot in common when it comes to values and morals, unlike the western civilization that has reduced every human gesture to sexuality. Thanks for sharing and enlightening me because i would’ve ordinarily thought otherwise.

  19. marilyn cada says:

    hi shalu. welcome to the group. this is an interesting article since it offers us some glimpse of Indian culture. yes holding hands in other cultures specifically in western countries are viewed that way and this article informs us that it is a way of showing respect in your culture

    Regards :)

  20. Pawan says:


    I’m living in Mumbai and I see many of those everyday. Yeah, it not that they are guy “always”; it’s because they happen to be good friends of each others. However, there are bunch are really guy! 😉

  21. Ruchika says:

    Yes, we are lucky here in India that we can hold hands for no reason and not necessary only when we feel attracted to the other person. Few things about the west are so bad and formal. Anyways.

  22. Jasa SEO Murah says:

    I guess this might sound strange to the west world to see guys walking holding hands.

  23. Vinay says:

    I never heard about men holding hands is gay. In India, men holding hands that shows their love between them. Interesting article thanks for sharing.

  24. Nadia Tan says:

    I noticed that one too Shalu, men from India does that even when they’re in Singapore. At first I was a bit surprised being someone who isn’t familiar to that custom. I eventually got used to seeing it. Indian guys are a bit touchy it seems. :)

  25. Sana from Womens Clothing says:

    From this post, I can easily guess that you have studies different nations and cultures of the world. I agree that in Asian countries holding hands of the same sex is sign of friendship and it is not meant gay.

  26. Maria says:

    yes this is true .. so thanks for explain this for us because i believe that at the first time when i read this article so …thanks so much for providing us with those new ideas to me ….. i like to know more about this culture because it is very rich………….

  27. wisata pulau tidung says:

    Hohohoho, you answer my question because a lot man of India in my country to do that..

  28. sachin verma says:

    by seeing a two men/women together we should not setup a mind that they might be a gay/lesbian a thing is like that they are closed friends soo guys stop thinking like a illiterate person now we are in 20th century so thoughtful and thinkfull

  29. Gautham says:

    I never knew that foreigners actually perceived us holding hands as Gay sexuality until now.

  30. Gautham says:

    I never now that holding hands is considered gay by foreigners until now.

  31. Aleah says:

    At first, I was surprised to see many men holding hands in India. No straight guys would do that here in the Philippines hehe Then an Indian man told me that a lot of men in India are bisexual. How true is that, Shalu?

  32. Rick says:

    I wish the U.S. could accept something as beautiful as this. I know that it will never happen but it would be amazing if it did. We need to learn to love and show love in different ways. Thanks for sharing this post. Great work :)

  33. Samir Kapoor says:

    I think its Indian society image. I and my childhood friend always hold hands and go for walk. Its about human thinking. thanks for sharing a grt article.

  34. I dont think that people belive in india in this way. I always hold my best friend hand since from childhood that doesnt meant that we are gay couple… landscape architects north carolina

  35. Rahul says:

    So True, helpful for those foreigners who comes from different culture and can misunderstood such gestures.

  36. Harry says:

    This was a good one, short and simple explaining how culture deference can cause misunderstanding in foreigners who visits India

  37. I have to admit even here in our place, both men holding each other’s hands is unusual. I guess it is just a matter of how the society your are in is treating that one. Nice trivia about India though.

  38. I have to admit even here in our place, both men holding each other’s hands is unusual. I guess it is just a matter of how the society your are in is treating that one. Nice trivia about India though.

  39. shahalam khan says:

    20 or 30 there was nothing wrong if a guy hugs a guy but now these days gay this gay that, if a guy talking to a guy doesn’t mean that he is gay.

  40. Ashutosh from Exposure of Thoughts says:

    😀 I wasn’t able to stop laughing after reading this post. Really, a wonderful thought that yes, two guys holding hands in India are not gay.

  41. Rohit kumar says:

    You have given provided this blog I liked that .You give me more formation according to me So it is very beautiful article and interesting .It is very nice …

  42. Ankit from ImproveEyesight says:

    Haha.. I couldn’t help myself from Laughing when I read the post title. Great job

  43. basket strainers says:

    hahahaaha… I understand whats going on this is indian dostana.

  44. Rita lopes says:

    hi shalu,
    i truely agree with you that Men holding hands is not gay in India and i think all people should not think that way…

  45. Well, It is an unsual activity but in my country indonesia I usually find a gay. it really funny

  46. Inzamam says:

    This is what Separates India from other countries.You can men holding hands , and over their shoulder they can be friends.

  47. I live in the U.S. as a gay man, however I never assume male to male affection is something homosexual. Through my extensive travels I’m well aware that men in other cultures show public displays of affection without it meaning anything homosexual. For example, last time I went to Italy, it was common to see men giving each other a warm, snug embrace. Here in the U.S., people would mark them as gay, but in Europe, the act is perfectly normal. It’s interesting how our cultural perspectives can label certain behavior based on a limited understanding of social practices and customs.

  48. Jess and Brandon from Watch Me Wander says:

    That’s very interesting. In other countries and culture, that type of affection it’s a sign that they are guy.

  49. Eka says:

    same as in indonesia, holding hand beetwen 2 men isnt mean there 2 guys is guy

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