The city of Chennai in the southeastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is hosting its fifth Pride celebration this month.
The month-long festival this year includes media training on LGBT issues, a discussion on local TV channels, information on hormone therapy for trans people, meeting for parents of LGBT people and a Pride march on 30 June.
‘The Pride marches in Chennai have been part celebration, part demands for recognition and rights, and part expression of gratitude to the Tamil Nadu state government for its social welfare benefits extended to Thirunangais (transwomen), the most visible segment of the LGBT community in the region,’ said a statement from Chennai Pride organizers.
‘Consistent demands from 2010 onwards have been for the Supreme Court to uphold the Naz Foundation 2009 verdict.’
India’s High Court ruled that gay sex should be decriminalized in 2009, but the Supreme Court, which heard arguments for and against the law in March 2012, is yet to uphold or challenge the High Court’s verdict.
Chennai Pride organizers are also asking for an anti-discrimination law throughout Tamil Nadu, families to accept their LGBT children, schools not to discriminate against LGBT students and the media to be fair in their reporting of stories concerning LGBT people.
Tamil Nadu government’s Aravani (transgender) Welfare Board was commended by Chennai Pride organizers as ‘ a unique initiative in the country’ and they asked the government to extend the scope so that all LGBT people can benefit.
Organizers added that this year’s Chennai Pride acknowledge the ‘immense contributions to LGBT visibility and rights movements in India’ of HIV/AIDS fighter Shivananda Khan and filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, both of whom died recently.
The first Pride march in India was in Kolkata in 1999, the largest is Mumbai’s Queer Azaadi Mumbai held every January/February.