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Let’s keep the pride

The gay community’s celebrations at Jantar Mantar marred by troublemakers.
Hindustan Times | By Zabeeh Afaque, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 04, 2010 03:20 AM IST
The Lesbian-Gay-Bi-sexual-Transgender (LGBT) community in Delhi got together at Jantar Mantar on Friday evening to mark the first anniversary of the landmark court judgment decriminalising consensual gay sex.

The party that began on a high note with loads of cheerful slogan shouting by gay rights supporters, some adorning colourful masks, ended a tad bit sourly when, towards the end, some decided to indulge in inappropriate behaviour. Dancing in the middle of the road, a few transgenders started lifting their skirts and shouting swear words — enough to embarrass those of their own community who were till now enjoying the party.

“They are spoiling the moment’s sanctity,” said a bystander. Outraged by the conduct of a handful that threatened to mar the atmosphere, many in the crowd asked them to behave but to no avail.

Looking visibly disturbed, one participant, who requested not to be named, said, “This kind of a behaviour at a place like Jantar Mantar is so unacceptable. The worst part is that we can’t stop anyone from participating.”

“The gay community has celebrated 365 days without Section 377. Now it has to show whether it can behave responsibly,” says Ashok Row Kavi, India’s leading gay rights activist, who was at Jantar Mantar.

Prior to the ruckus, the evening had its fair share of cheering, singing and dancing, in good fun. Men kissed men. Women hugged women. And cops watched with amused expressions. Some participants were wearing t-shirts bearing provocative images (two London bobbies kissing), or words (‘Unf**k the world’).

There was quite a congregation of curious bystanders who, used to seeing hunger related protests at Jantar Mantar, were probably watching something of this sort for the first time ever.

“We have to go a very long way to convince the mainstream society that we are equal citizens with equal rights,” said Kavi. “Like all oppressed people, we must learn how to use our rights sensibly.”

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