People from across India at Pride March

People from across India at Pride March

The city on Sunday witnessed the LGBTQ community take out its first major procession after the scrapping of Section 377

A procession asserting the rights of the sexual minorities, organised by Namma Pride (Bengaluru) and Karnataka Queer Habba, went through the heart of the city on Sunday.

It began at Lokmanya Tilak Park, went through Majestic and continued till Town Hall, and hosts said it was the longest route in the country for such a march.

It was also the first ever event of its kind friendly to the disabled, they reckoned.

The march didn’t have a theme, unlike last year which was ‘Be Proud to Be You’. “We are legal now, and that itself is a theme,” declares Ayaan Syed, organiser and LGBT activist.

Scheduled earlier for November 25, the march was deferred following the death of actor Ambareesh.

Marchers told Metrolife the verdict was a step forward but a lot more needed to be done.

“After the judgment, I have seen a lot of my friends coming out of the closet; their parents turned out extremely supportive,” says Ayaan.

He feels the social stigma is still a problem though. “What we are currently working on is social acceptance. Until and unless we are accepted by the majority, there is no point in having the right,” he says.

Activist and writer Rohan Susha Mathews is happy about the legal recognition but says it is not enough.

“It was comparatively easy to use logic and reason to convince the court to accept us. What about society where the majoritarian section still lives with a Victorian mindset? What can or should we do to help them accept us? In a country where mob lynching is illegal and yet is celebrated, how excited should I really be?” he says.

He is waiting for a day when he no longer feels like a criminal. “This is that one day where I get to shout out who I am along with my community and not fear the brunt of social ‘morality’,” he says.

For 22-year-old queer Debasmita Das, nothing much has changed after the judgment. “We knew Section 377 as a hurdle, and now that it’s gone we have to start questioning where we go next, what we fight for, and how we do it. There’s also a sense of unease that maybe for the least privileged among us, the struggle remains as difficult as it was before,” she opines.

Though the verdict legally liberated the LGBTQ community, there are still matters concerning the right to property, and right for adoption that need to be settled.

The march is organised every year in Bengaluru, and this is the 11th edition.