The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community was in a celebratory mood on February 2 (Tuesday). Hopes have been raised for the community members to lead normal lives sans discrimination, after the Supreme Court on Tuesday referred a curative petition challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to a five-judge constitution bench for hearing.
Activists working for the rights of LGBT community welcomed the fact that the apex court's decision re-opened the debate about the right to choose one's sexuality. It has been long since political parties and religious bodies under the pretext of upholding the values of a traditional society opposed decriminalisation of gay sex.
However, in recent times we have witnessed several social and cultural changes in our midst to welcome the LGBT community in our mainstream society. Here we list few of them:
India's First transgender music band
2016 started on a musical note for transgenders. 6 Pack Band, which is being hailed as India's first transgender band, was launched by Yash Raj Films on January 6. The band, launched by popular Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam, comprises six members. Till date, the band has released two songs.
India's first LGBT radio taxi service
India's first radio taxi service for the LGBT community, Wings Rainbow, was flagged off in Mumbai on January 20. The initiative by Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust will have taxis chauffeured by the LGBT community members, and is expected to start functioning in 2017.
Kerala to launch G-Taxi for transgenders
In a first, Kerala is all set to have a taxi service, G-Taxi, owned and run by transgenders, giving a chance to the members of the community striving to find a place in the mainstream society to be entrepreneurs. The objective of ‘G-Taxi' programme is to provide a better means of livelihood for the minority group and to ensure non-discriminatory treatment in society. If everything goes as planned, the first fleet of G-Taxi cabs will be rolled out in the state this March.
India is a favourite destination for LGBT travellers
Going by the numbers provided by LGBT tour operators, several metros as well as smaller cities in the country have emerged as popular destinations for LGBT travellers. Places like Kerala, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Udaipur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, towns in the Himalayan foothills, Delhi, Goa and Kolkata are often visited by LGBT travellers. Travel boutiques like Indjapink, Pink Vibgyor, Planeta Rosa and Pink Escapes conduct special tours across the country for the community members from around the world.