Delhi gay pride breaking taboos in India

Hundreds join colorful Delhi Queer Pride parade, sending a powerful message to country's conservative majority

Delhi gay pride breaking taboos in India
26 November 2012

Hundreds took to the streets of Delhi yesterday (25 November) to celebrate the Indian capital’s fifth annual gay pride.

The city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community dressed in colorful  costumes and unfurled a giant rainbow flag as they made their way from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar.

Despite the carnival atmosphere, the Delhi Queer Pride parade carried a serious message, with marchers carrying pacards reading, ‘My mother thinks my girlfriend is a lesbian’, ‘Fifty shades of gay’ and ‘Keep your laws off my body’.

Homosexuality is still very much a taboo subject in conservative India and was only decriminalized three years ago.

‘Homosexuality is not just about sex. For instance, we feel the same love for our partners as a married couple would feel for each other,’ marcher Rajesh, who wore a mask to avoid being recognized, told The Times of India.

‘Even if we don’t marry, we lead our lives like a couple. But our lives are so much more insecure.’

However, the parade did not receive a warm welcome from many onlookers, with anti-gay protesters from the Rashtriyawadi Janata Party and Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Maha Sabha greeting the parade at its end in Jantar Mantar.

In 2009, Delhi High Court revoked Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which was established by the British colonial government in 1862.

Section 377 criminalized ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ and was interpreted to mean all forms of sex apart from heterosexual penile-vaginal.

Although nobody had been prosecuted under section 377 for twenty years, NGOs such as Human Rights Watch testified in court that the law was used to harass and arrest gay people, sex workers and HIV prevention workers.

Early this year the High Court’s decision was challenged in Delhi Supreme Court. Government lawyer PP Malhotra testified that gay sex is ‘highly immoral and against societal order’ – but the government later retracted the statement.

After a month and a half of hearing from witnesses supporting and opposing the decriminalization of gay sex, the Supreme Court judges criticized the government for its ‘casual’ approach and announced on 28 March 2012 that it would reserve its verdict. To date there has been no further announcement on that verdict.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

My gay Riga: Kaspars Zalitis on Europe's rising gay destination

The 'EuroPride 2015 – Riga' organizer on life in the Latvian capital
No thumbnail available

Pennsylvania Democrat pushing for ban on ‘ex-gay’ therapy to minors

Openly gay Pennsylvania state lawmaker Brian Sims wants his state to become the third to ban attempts to ‘cure’ minors of their same-sex attractions after California and New Jersey
No thumbnail available

Liberace’s lover jailed for up to 20 years

After repeatedly failing drug tests, the pianist's most famous gay lover is facing jail time of up to two decades
No thumbnail available

House of Commons is a hotbed of gay sexual harassment, abuse

Dozens of young male workers have come forward to reveal they have been told to sleep with politicians in order to further their career
No thumbnail available

In search of the supergays

San Franciscan couple Lisa Dazols and Jenni Chang are traveling the world seeking out the ‘supergays’. Nine months in, we hear about where they’ve been, who they’ve met and what they’ve experienced
Sean Conroy becomes baseball's first ever openly gay professional player

Sean Conroy becomes baseball's first ever openly gay professional player

His teammates wore rainbow bands and socks to support him
No thumbnail available

Nominate your business stars who are Out at Work

Out at Work Top 50 will reveal Britain’s rising LGBTI business heroes
No thumbnail available

Utah anti-hate bill backed by Mormon church and LGBTI groups

Utah lawmakers have unveiled legislation to protect LGBT individuals against employment and housing discrimination while also protecting religious freedoms
No thumbnail available

Talk Sport slammed for mocking 'tranny army' Scotland kit

UK's Talk Sport, the 'world's biggest sports radio station', laughed and repeated transphobic comments about the new pink and yellow Scotland strip
No thumbnail available

Gay couples in Maryland can start obtaining marriage licenses in early December

The marriages will begin taking place at start of January