Great start but still a long road, say LGBTIQ actvists

LGBTQI activists celebrate in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. DH Photo/R Krishnakumar

"I’m not a criminal any more," Prijith P K said with a wry smile.

A few hours after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in a historic verdict, Prijith and his friends are preparing for a round of celebration.

Manaveeyam Road in Thiruvananthapuram, the venue, has seen many protests over the years but on Thursday, the mood is not of dissent – it’s of joy, it’s of hope.

Prijith, president of Queerythm, an organisation that works for the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) community said courts have been sending out positive signals and Thursday’s verdict comes as the most decisive one.

"This is the real pride day. But we also know that there’s more to be done. There are issues that remain unaddressed, like marriage rights. A bill that provides protective rights can only help build on this great start," he said.

The rainbow flag will soon fly across the country, said Syama S Prabha, state project officer of the Transgender Cell under the Directorate of Social Justice.

For Syama, the apex court verdict also signifies a change in perception – “There was a time when we were humiliated by some of our policemen. It’s good to see that today, they are also joining in as we celebrate here.”

As the activists and supporters join in for some impromptu dance moves, Prijith says “celebration” of the LGBTIQ identity has been a key factor in the community’s relentless efforts to integrate with the “mainstream”.

Another group of LGBTIQ activists is just winding up celebrations and distributing pastry around.

Prijith said the next round is about sensitising the public. “Beyond court rulings, there’s a huge social angle to the issue. It’s time to take this verdict as a base and work toward change in people’s perception and attitude,” he said.

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Great start but still a long road, say LGBTIQ actvists

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