Section 377 Verdict: Mumbai's queer celebrate, play the country dhol

Sep 07, 2018, 07:57 IST | Arita Sarkar

Mumbai was swathed in rainbow colours, as the LGBTQ community celebrated the Supreme Court verdict

Section 377 Verdict: Mumbai's queer celebrate, play the country dhol
LGBTQ activists take an historic selfie at Carter Road after the SC decriminalised consensual same-sex relations. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The rainbow flag of the LGBTQ community took pride of place in the city yesterday, as Mumbaikars rejoiced the Supreme Court's momentous ruling. At least 200 people had gathered at Carter Road to celebrate the long-awaited verdict, wearing looks of part relief and part jubilation on their faces.

At Vakola, Santacruz, 'azaadi' was the common chant among members of the LGBTQ community and activists from the NGO Humsafar Trust. They celebrated on the road, playing the country dhol as they walked till the University of Mumbai campus in Kalina.

Vivek Raj Anand, CEO of Humsafar Trust, celebrates the verdict at Santacruz. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Vivek Raj Anand, CEO of Humsafar Trust, celebrates the verdict at Santacruz. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Vivek Anand, founder of Humsafar, congratulated the community and recounted the reaction they had after the SC's 2013 verdict. "After the 2013 judgment, the community came forward and so many petitions were filed. The Supreme Court had then said that we're a minuscule minority. But that's not true," he said. He added that after the verdict, he feels respected. "I see a rainbow right in front of us, and this is just the beginning. I'm feeling so motivated today. We will now count on the youngsters to take the movement forward," said Anand.

Even as emotional hugs were exchanged, the revellers were mindful of the fact that the verdict is just the beginning of their fight for equal rights. But, as Anand said, this judgment now means that the community can finally talk about their rights. "We hope for the reduction of stigma and discrimination. We're going to work as equal citizens and will request the government to work with us," he said.

Chitra Palekar

Chitra Palekar,
'I accepted my daughter as a lesbian [when she came out in 1993]. But when I met her friends from the community, I realised that their parents didn't accept them as easily. With this verdict, community members have gotten their dignity and they can live their lives as they wish, and have partners they wish to have. It's my dream that everyone will accept their children as they are'

Sushant Divgikar

Sushant Divgikar,
Drag queen and Mr Gay India 2014
'We've been fighting the good fight for a long time. The SC realised that it's about time. I came out to my family about 10 years ago. I was 18 when I was on TV for the first time. I noticed that many people who were talented didn't want to come out, because they felt it would hamper their profession. But now they be unabashed about it. We need more representation not only in the media, but elsewhere as well. We need more role models to showcase their talents'

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