Bhopal: “We are confident that the decision of the Supreme Court will go in our favour. Once section 377 of the IPC is decriminalized, no one will be able to exploit us,” said people of LGBTQ community in the city in an interaction with Free Press. The community members who came to take part in a Bhopal Pride Parade in the city on Sunday also demanded that a a marriage and a child adoption act be made for them.
26-year-old Venktesh, a social activist from Kolkata told Free Press about section 377, “We are confident that the decision of SC will be in our favour. I represent here the Lalit Group of Hotels. The owner of the group Lalit Suri has field filed petition in the court against section 377 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). Of course, the mindset of society towards LGBTQ will change, but it will take time. We shouldn’t expect big changes to come in a day.”
Similarly Abhishek, 28, who is associated with Badlao Samiti, Indore, said, “If 377 session of the IPC decriminalised, we will come out from the category of criminal. Most of the people associate us with sexuality which is wrong. I think, it is all about love not sex. The mindset of the people will not change soon even if the session 377 of the IPC is decriminalised. It is not so easy. But, yes, humein khulkar jeene ki aazadi mil jayegi… (We will get freedom to live freely).
He said, “Repealing 377 is not enough. Our demand is to make marriage and child adoption act for us. We also get freedom to get married and adopt children. Just like everyone-it is as much our right.” Silambarasan, 27, hails from Chennai but has been living in Bhopal for past nine years and works as structural engineer in Global Infra Solution said, “This is not the end. We will have to work solely to change the mindset of the people.”
“I have a boyfriend but I don’t meet him but I want to meet him. If the law will come, if we are dating, we can go about holding hand at some romantic place. This will help us to safeguard from social stigma,” he added. Sandhya Ghavri, 35 from Indore said, “One the section 377 of the IPC is discriminlaised , police and people will not stop torturing and exploiting us. Of course, this kind of parade will help to change the mindset at some extent. Still people recognise only Kinnar but by the parade they will able to reconise other member of the LGBTQ community. ”
Nearly 150 people including normal and LGBTQ from different cities joined the pride march, held on Sunday afternoon. The parade began with event ‘Men in Make-Up’ from Amer Bakery Hut, Link Road No.1. All the person belongs to LGBTQ community were dressed in makeup of women. The fight to repealing Section 377 is a long road ahead, but the confidence with which participants walked on Sunday marks the end of their so-called “invisibility” in Indian society. “We’re here, and we’re queer,” they shouted. And, as they say, the rest is history. The prided ended at Shaurya Smarak.
The people belonging to the LGBTQ community in the city did not take part in the Bhopal Pride Parade. The founder of Devi Rani Kinnar Samaj Kalyan Samiti in Bhopal, Devi Rani, told Free Press they were kept out of the parade. “Since we were not given importance, our organisation did not attend it,” Rani said.
The founder of another organisation, Anmol Samaj Sanstha, Majid, said, “We have been working for 15 years for creating awareness among the community about HIV, but we were not taken into confidence for discussing about the parade.”
He further said, “Organising parade is a good move, but there should have been a proper planning before organising such an important event.” However, Kokila Bhattacharya, one of the organisers of the parade said, “The event was open to all. And anyone could have been a part of it.”