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Mumbai marches for queer pride 10th year in a row

Based on the theme of ‘377 Quit India’, the queer pride parade opposing section 377 coincided with the 75th year of the Quit India movement.

mumbai Updated: Feb 04, 2018 00:44 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
mumbai,LGBTQ,section 377
Colours of pride at the August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai on Saturday.(HT Photo)

The 10th annual Mumbai queer pride march, based on the theme of ‘377 Quit India’, on Saturday drew not just members of the local LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community, but also people from outside the country and a significant number of heterosexual people.

Harish Iyer, LGBTQ activist and one of the organisers, said, “We have seen an increase in awareness about the problems faced by the LGBTQ community over the years. Of the 15,000 people who attended the march; there was a significant number of heterosexuals.”

Last month, the Supreme Court decided that it would re-examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises sexual activity “against the order of nature”.

Petitioners have sought that consensual sexual intercourse between adults be excluded from the section.

The parade this year coincided with the 75th year of the Quit India movement, which was also held at August Kranti Maidan. The community has opposed to the fact that the “regressive” law is in place even after 70 years of independence.

Jaya Lulla, a final-year law student from Surat, said she attended the pride march to support her friends as she believed that everyone has the right to choose their lifestyle. She was giving away ‘free hugs’ at the pride march.

“A hug is innocent, warm and pure. It is a way of showing acceptance towards the community and respecting their choice. People think that the sexual orientations of the members of the LGBTQ community are unnatural, but we want to break that barrier,” said Lulla.

“The law does not permit same-sex marriage. We have high hopes that the Supreme Court will rule in our favour. At next year’s march, we could be celebrating our freedom,” said Ritesh Aher, a member of a queer dancing group.

“It is for the first time that I am seeing this march and I was not aware that it is for queer pride. However, I believe that their problems need to be highlighted because everyone has a right to lead the lifestyle they choose,” said Chintan Thaker, a resident of Marine Lines.

First Published: Feb 04, 2018 00:38 IST