Hundreds of members of India’s gay and lesbian community marched in Delhi on Sunday in the capital’s first Gay Pride parade since homosexuality was recriminalised last year.
The march saw a sea of colour make its way through the city’s centre, with marchers carrying balloons, rainbow flags and signs denouncing the law that was reintroduced in December 2013
Others danced while chanting “freedom” and “I’m gay, that’s OK”, in what was Delhi’s seventh ever Delhi Queer Pride parade.
The law making gay sex illegal was reintroduced last year and saw those caught involved in homosexual acts running the risk of spending up to 10 years in prison.
Following the decision, India’s homosexual community argued that this decision had made them second-class citizens in the country and added to the day-to-day discrimination they faced. According to those at the march, they hoped that the march would help Indians to understand the issues facing India’s gay community and attempt to change attitudes.
Mohnish Kabir Malhotr, 27, a publicist and one of the organisers of this year's event said: "We are making a statement that we exist. We are not a minuscule minority. Deal with it."
Another unnamed marcher said: “Today is the day we can walk freely and show the entire society that we do exist, we are not the alien, we are like everyone else.”
The law brought in in December marked a major step backwards for the rights of homosexuals in the world’s second most populous country.
In 2009, a landmark ruling in Delhi’s High Court had seen homosexual acts decriminalised, making consensual gay sex legal under law for the first time since 1861, when British colonial authorities brought in Section 377 of India's penal code, which outlawed “sexual activities against the order of nature.”
However, this was overturned last December, with Supreme Court deciding that it should be the Parliament that legislates on such matters not the courts
Activists have argued that this has been a major setback for gay rights in the country and increased the prejudice and discrimination experienced by India’s gay community..
A new legal challenge to December’s Supreme Court judgement is expected and a date for a hearing will decided by Chief Justice of India in the coming months.Reuse content