Hundreds Of Marchers At Dehli Queer Pride Demand “A Life Without Fear”

Organizers called for more protections for trans people, a repeal of Section 377, and an end to marital rape.

On Sunday, members of the LGBT community and their allies marched in the Delhi Queer Pride Parade, challenging the Indian government to repeal the criminalization of homosexuality.

The demonstration, which went from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar only drew several hundred participants, a small number for a city of 25 million.

But while there is more understanding and acceptance of LGBT people in India today, there is still a strong social taboo against homosexuality. Marrying—and having children—is at the core of society, and many gays remain closeted.

Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times

A number of attendees at Sunday’s demonstration wore masks or otherwise obscured their faces.

Indian activists of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community take part in a pride parade calling for freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, in Gurugram, some 30 km southwest of New Delhi, on June 25, 2016. / AFP        (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)
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Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a pride parade in New Delhi on November 27, 2016 Hundreds of members of the LGBT community marched through the Indian capital for the ninth annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade. / AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA        (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty

While a majority of Indians believe homosexuality should be decriminalized, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government doesn’t seem very interested in taking up the cause.

In 2009, a New Delhi high court ruled that the ban on gay sex was unconstitutional. But just four years later, that verdict was overturned and Section 377 was restored.

The law, a holdover from British rule that punishes homosexuality by up to 10 years in prison, will have to be overturned in Parliament.

Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a pride parade in New Delhi on November 27, 2016 Hundreds of members of the LGBT community marched through the Indian capital for the ninth annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade. / AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA        (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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In addition to the repeal of Section 377, organizers called for strong action against anti-minority violence, the end to protections for marital rape, and the institution of anti-discrimination laws.

They also condemned the death of Tara, a trans outreach worker who died after being burned alive outside the Pondy Bazar police station in Chennai.

Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

A transgender rights bill passed the Upper House in 2015, but has stalled since then.

Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a pride parade in New Delhi on November 27, 2016 Hundreds of members of the LGBT community marched through the Indian capital for the ninth annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade. / AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA        (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images
Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery