Nearly 100 people took part in the first-ever gay pride march in the Indian city of Pune on Sunday (11 December).
The rally was organised by Samapathik, a men’s sexual health organization based in the country’s eighth largest city, formerly known as Poona and situated in the central Indian state of Maharashtra.
‘We had organized this rally to mark the 10 years of our fight for the rights of homosexuals,’ said the organisation’s president, Bindumadhav Khire.
Homosexuality is generally considered a taboo subject in India. Public discussion of the subject has been inhibited by the fact that sexuality in any form is rarely talked about openly.
But in recent years, attitudes towards gays have changed slightly. There have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the media and Bollywood. On 2 July 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexual intercourse between consenting adults.
Khire told The Times of India: ‘People laugh at us. Many do not understand our sentiments. This leads to frustration among the people who support homosexuality.’
He explained that negligence by the society has created a lot of issues for the gay community. Some people become addicts, some enter into the world of crime, while some others do not practise safe sex and suffer from viruses like HIV.
‘The picture can change if the society gives attention to their issues. That’s why we had organized this parade. It was the first of its kind parade in Pune. We have decided to hold it every year,’ Khire said.