Delhi gays set to celebrate 2nd anniversary

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Gays
New Delhi, Jul 1: Two years since the Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality there has been no looking back for the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here, which is set to mark the second year of celebrations.

From harassment cases to pride parades and gay nights at high-end nightclubs to queer film festivals, the community has moved on from joyous celebration to the next step creating awareness, according to activists.

"After the key event of decriminalisation the next step was to educate the public, create awareness among the people. To ignore is to regress," says Anjum Malhotra, a Delhi University student.

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court struck down provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises gay sex among consenting adults, saying it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

"We plan to organise celebrations on July 2 near Jantar Mantar this year and conduct the annual gay pride at India Gate later this year," says an organiser.

The organiser adds, "We will distribute pamphlets informing the public about the significance of the day and urge them to join us to fight for our rights." Post the court ruling, most nightclub owners say they are happy with this change as it gives them a share of the pink money generated by organising exclusive gay nights tailored for gay clientele.

"We have gay nights on Tuesdays though we are not really going all out in advertising them because we like to be hush about it", says the owner of a famous club in Chanakyapuri. 

Where earlier mention of terms like LGBT was very hush-hush with any gathering of the community shrouded in secrecy and bashes being limited to famhouses etc, post July 2, 2009 activists say there are more open events in the city now.

Cultural centres like the India Habitat Centre and others have begun holding regular gay-themed seminars, poetry readings, film festivals etc.

Committees like Delhi Queer Pride organise fundraisers and events in support of the gay community.

Nigah, a non-funded queer collective that works on issues of gender and sexuality has begun organising events every month with free entry.

"The Nigah QueerFest last year, Delhi's annual celebration of queerness saw huge support from queer and queer friendly people in Delhi," says an activist.

A Delhi fortnightly city guide gives information about events happening in the city with timings and venue information, from Sunday Socials to Open Mic Nights for all.

"Pink Pages", which claims to be India's first gay and lesbian magazine features articles on gay rights, health, fashion, popular culture, cinema, books along with events happening all over the country, with regular contributors from Delhi.

In 2008, a gay parade was organised for the first time in the coordinating with similar parades in Delhi, Bangalore, Pondicherry and Kolkata. In subsequent years Chennai, Pune and Bangalore have also seen similar show of support for the LGBT community.

PTI

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