Members and supporters of the LGBTQI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex) community gathered at Jantar Mantar on Sunday as a mark of protest against the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) “disappointing” verdict that criminalised homosexuality.
The “global day of rage”, as attributed by the protestors, was carried out across 16 cities, including Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Bharat (who goes by his first name), a lawyer and member of Delhi Queer Pride which works for gay rights said: “The verdict has come as a shock because it questions our identity in terms of our sexual preferences. Very few people are wearing masks today because they are not shy of admitting their identity.”
“I am married and we have adopted a boy who is now seven years old. When the SC quashed the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict, does my marriage be deemed illegal? Where will our son go now?” said Rakhi, who belongs to the eunuch community, fearing that her family will fall apart. She said that BJP President Rajnath Singh, who supported the SC judgement, had come to her doorstep with folded hands asking for her vote during elections; her sexual identity was not a problem then, as much as it is now.
The movement also witnessed the support of school students and teachers. “We had launched an ‘Awareness Sensitization and Rights’ campaign this April where we tried to cover all aspects of the issue, including discrimination, myths and misconceptions so that our students would be aware citizens, accepting and respecting differences,” said Shivanee Sen, a teacher of Tagore International School in Vasant Vihar.
Shiv Dogra, 20, a student of IP University, who donned a mask during the rally, said: “After the 2009 verdict, I gathered courage to disclose my sexual orientation to my parents. But, now when the SC calls it illegal, how do I confront them?”
The crowd roared in favour of the speakers and raised the placards showing their rage against Article 377. Activist and author Arundhati Roy was also present at the venue. “We are in one way or the other by caste, religion, language or sexual preference-a nation of minorities. This is a dangerous, retrogressive judgement,” Roy said.
(with inputs from Vineet Upadhyay)