LGBTQ community welcomes SC verdict on same-sex acts with tears of joy
Love was in the air on the streets of Delhi as the Supreme Court decriminalised adult consensual same-sex acts on Thursday.
Hugs, tears, flags of rainbow colours and songs of victory could be seen and heard as hundreds of members and supporters of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community gathered at Jantar Mantar on a rainy afternoon to celebrate their newly granted freedom.
While the large crowd welcomed the historic judgment, they believed the fight for social acceptance is still on.
Holding placards and raising slogans of ‘love is genderless’ and ‘let love be’ students, teachers artists and activists from across the city supporting the cause danced to the beats of yesteryear Bollywood songs even as it drizzled through the evening.
“I am just relived that the long legal battle is now finally over. It is the most basic human right, for which we had been fighting all these years. I don’t know how to react. I just hope society can now be more acceptable of the community,” said Aashi, who is studying to be a journalist.
A five-judge constitution bench of the apex court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises homosexuality. The law is a relic of British rule over India.
“The verdict was long overdue. However, it’s still a long way from societal acceptance and in terms of rights such as of adoption and marriage,” said Shiv, an art curator who is one of the organisers of the Delhi Queer Pride parade in the city every year.
The annual LGBT pride parade in the city is going to bigger and better this year, he added.
“We are waiting for this year’s parade. This November will be our 11th march and with the verdict here it is going to be organised on an even larger scale,” Shiv said.
Activists and supporters said the legal right can help in due recognition of LGBT people in neighbourhoods, where they face the stiffest opposition.
“I have been suffering because of my choice of sexuality for many years. I don’t know how my parents feel today. I haven’t called them yet. But I hope things to change now,” said a member of the LGBT community, not wishing to be named.
Another member, an anthropologist, said on the condition of anonymity that he was just relieved to hear the verdict and that he could feel nothing else.