Gay pride was very visible in New Delhi on Sunday. According to a report by Reuters, hundreds of people joined together in celebration in India’s capital city for the country’s first gay pride parade since the top court reinstated a ban on gay sex last December. Participants in the parade danced and cheered as a symbol of visibility in the world’s largest democracy.
The seventh Delhi Queer Pride parade was a colorful display of both pride and hope as marchers wearing masquerade masks and wigs chanted “Azaadi” (freedom) along with chants of “I’m gay, that’s OK.” It was a clear statement that the high court’s decision to reinstate Section 377 of India’s penal code, which bans sex against the order of nature, will not stop the progress made in the country when it comes to gay rights.
Currently, under the law, homosexual sex can draw a punishment of up to 10 years in jail. It is a law that has driven many gays and lesbians in the country to hide their sexuality out of fear of being imprisoned and discrimination. That’s why there is heavy frustration from organizers such as Shiv Sahu. He said the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a 2009 ruling by the a lower court that decriminalized gay sex will not force him and others “back to the closet.”
The marchers and their supporters marched to show that “All love is equal” in a country where there is a widespread disapproval of homosexuality. They are not only seeking recognition, they also want others to simply understand who they are and not be judged by what’s in their hearts. Although the reinstated colonial-era an on gay sex is rarely enforced, the law is used as a means of harassment and blackmail by law enforcement against members of the LGBT community.