Monday, June 30, 2008

Gay Pride March in Delhi yesterday

Report from Queer Media Watch:

For a city of 14 million people, a gathering of a couple of hundred may seem miniscule. But for Delhi’s gay community, the turnout at their first-ever Queer Pride this Sunday was beyond belief. Over 500 marchers carrying rainbow-colored flags and ‘Queer Dilliwalla’ banners marched to bhangra beats, breaking into Bollywood-style pelvic thrusts and bust-heaving from time to time.

It took years of activism and advocacy — particularly fervent over the last few years — to make Delhi’s Queer Pride possible. In 2004, Voices Against 377, an umbrella group of 12 NGOs working on a range of issues from women’s rights to HIV/AIDS, was formed to file a case in the Delhi High Court against Section 377. (The case will have its final hearing on July 2 this year.) In 2006, celebrated author Vikram Seth wrote an open letter against Section 377, which was signed by the likes of Nobel-laureate Amartya Sen. “We just felt the time was right and Delhi was ready,” says Gautam Bhan, a city planner and gay activist, “We have come a long way from the ridiculous attitude that there are no gays in India. With this march, we hope to move from saying ‘Hey, we exist!’ to issues like respect and dignity.” A steady gay scene has slowly evolved in most metro cities including Delhi, and mainstream magazines like Time Out list gay socials. “Even smaller cities have a thriving gay scene today,” says Monga, “It happens on the quiet, but it’s there. Attitudes have definitely changed. If you don’t wave your sexuality in people’s faces, they let you be. There are jokes sometimes, but no organized anti-queer violence as in the West.”

The Times of India reports here.
"I could not imagine this kind of response 10 years ago. This march is a message to the political class of the country to give legitimacy to the community," said well-known gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi.
Here are their pics.

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