Holding placards reading ‘Knock out Sec 377’, ‘We are not sex toy, No No Sec 377’, a small group of people from different walks of life staged the first-ever pride in the bustling streets of Imphal yesterday, according to Indian media.
Clad in colorful skirts, pants and funky costumes, some 50 participants wearing colored garlands came together to express their pride and joy.
While the turnout was modest, organizers were upbeat and said this was only a beginning.
It was only last month when Guwahati became the first city in the northeastern region – bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar – to hold a pride, according to The Indian Express.
‘Discrimination against the LGBT community is not new and there are innumerable everyday instances of labelling the community as “immoral”, “unnatural”,’ said Shanta Khurai, secretary of the pride organizer All Manipur Nupi Manbi Association, to The Assam Tribune.
‘We are protesting against the Section 377, which suppresses the basic human rights of the community,’ she added. Section 377 is an anti-sodomy law originating from British colonial rule.
The 38-year-old herself is a member of the trans community and has been leading the LGBTI rights movement in the state.
She and other organizers want to tell those who are gay and marginalized that they are not alone.
‘There are many more like them and that they can reach out if they wish,’ said Khurai .
Manipur is one of the few states in India which run an annual transgender beauty pageant.
Photos by Kaushik Gupta