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Delhi's gay community campaigns for rights

Delhi's LGBT community took to the streets today in full form to commemorate the second anniversary of the Delhi High Court's historic judgment decriminalising homosexuality. Radhika M Chakraborty reports.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2011 20:33 IST
Radhika M. Chakraborty
Radhika M. Chakraborty
Hindustan Times

Today is the second anniversary of the Delhi High Court's historic judgment regarding section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing gay sex. Delhi's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community gathered to celebrate the second anniversary of the historic judgment.

Outside Jantar Mantar, at five o' clock, over three hundred people turned up to show their support and celebrate the growing awareness about the issue and acceptance of the Indian LGBT community into mainstream.

Coming in the wake of the legalization of same sex marriage in New York, the mood was optimistic as the city's queers celebrated the progress India has seen.

The organizers of the meet distributed a pamphlet amongst participants with a message from the LGBTQI (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) community, that demanded that:

- The Supreme Court uphold the judgment of the Delhi High Court regarding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

- Discrimination at educational institutions, hospitals, workplaces, police stations and other state and privately run institutions end.

- Health services be provided equally and that the law forbid surgical and psychiatric medical interventions to alter sex, gender or sexual orientation in the absence of established legal consent.

-Transgender Boards on the lines of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka government's initiative be set up across the country.

- An anti-discrimination law to address sexual orientation and gender identity issues be enacted.

- Age appropriate sex education and counseling facilities be provided in schools so that LGBTQI youth and parents of LGBTQI persons can access these facilities.

Queer Campus, a Delhi based independent queer student and youth collective also showed up in full strength to lend their support. Active since 2010, Queer Campus uses the term queer to refer to any identity or outlook which questions stereotypes.

Rohit* a member of Queer Campus, said "I now have the courage to be myself. I will be coming out to my family soon, and later this year I hope to come out to the whole world." He added that Queer Campus had really helped him, and provides a space to discuss anything and everything, not just LGTB issues.

With performances ranging from poetry, music, and even to rap, members of the LGTB community hit the stage and let loose. Members of the community set their differences aside, and the mood was euphoric as people from all background and communities came together to share stories of empowerment, poetry and danced along to a performance by members of the Delhi Drum Circle. Everyone agreed that a lot has changed since 2009, but there are still a lot of issues that need to be dealt with. While some hoped for the legalization of same-sex marriage and were excited about the New York judgment, others said that what happened in New York did not affect them, and change in India is what mattered.

*name changed

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