Rainbow flags come out of closet as LGBTQ+ community celebrates historic verdict
New Delhi : They hugged, they cried tears of joy and they danced their hearts out as rainbow flags swirled the skies with the LGBTQ community breaking into impromptu jubilations on roads, in hotels and everywhere else after the Supreme Court Thursday decriminalised consensual gay sex.
Bollywood celebrities, authors, advocates, teachers, politicians and people from all walks of life joined the activists, who have been fighting a long-drawn battle against a colonial era law, in their celebrations after the apex court’s historic verdict granted them “a basic human right”.
Amid all celebrations, many also acknowledged their fight may still go on as a complete equality remains some distance away due to fears of police and mob violence and continuing legal obstacles to right to adoption and to gay marriages.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a part of the 158-year-old law under Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex.
The LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) community welcomed the verdict that also said the society cannot dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults. Many cut cakes and waved the rainbow flag – which has come to be associated with the gay pride movement and is often used during marches held by the community to reflect its diversity.
Activist Anjali Nazia said the Supreme Court had paved way for bigger judgements ahead.
“We were granted a basic human right today and we can’t express just how happy we are,” Nazia told PTI.
Describing the verdict as a landmark, Anjan Joshi, member of the Society for People, Awareness, Care and Empowerment (SPACE), said it would be help them in their quest for equality. “It is a start. We know we have a long way to go in terms of right to adoption, right to marriage but it is a very welcome beginning,” Joshi said.
For many activists, this was a harbinger of better days to come. A member of the gay community who requested anonymity said the decision was long due. “I have suffered for 10 years because of my sexuality. Hopefully things will change,” he said.
Alliance India CEO Sonal Mehta said it is a day of victory for love and law.
“We are finally not criminals and this minuscule minority has an identity now,” is how gender and sexuality rights activist Arpit Bhalla put it.
Calling the change “historic”, LGBT activist Ankit Gupta of the Humsafar Trust said the fight for equality continues and there is still a long way to go for it.
Another activist with the Humsafar Trust said the change has come after 18 years of suffering and what the community has gone through in these 18 years could not be expressed in words.
“Tomorrow when we wake up we would be able to look in the mirror and not see ourselves as a second class citizen or a criminal,” he said.
Writer Chetan Bhagat said India will survive and thrive only by accepting diversity.
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