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Parade in conservative Delhi calls for acceptance of lesbians, gays -report

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 28 Nov 2011 14:40 GMT
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NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) – Hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) took to the streets of India’s capital on Sunday in an annual “Queer Pride Parade,” demanding acceptance and an end to violence and discrimination, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.

Two years ago, India threw out a colonial-era law under which homosexuality was a crime, moving faster than several other countries where such laws remain in force. But many in Indian society still frown upon same-sex partners.

According to the report, New Delhi’s 4th Queer Pride Parade attracted around 500 people to the centre of town on Sunday, many clad in multicoloured robes and turbans and waving flags, calling for greater social acceptance.

"This parade is a celebration of the courage it took for me to come out to my family and friends,” the report quoted Kunal Talwar*, a participant at the march, as saying. “We are generally discriminated against by society, but this is a platform where all of us have come together to celebrate our different orientations."

The Delhi Queer Pride Community put forth several demands, including ending violence against LGBT community members by the police and families, an anti-discrimination law regarding gender identity issues, and the end of discrimination in educational institutes, hospitals and work places.

LGBT members face ostracism across much of India, and only in recent years some have opened up about their sexuality, especially in cities.

The 2009 court decision to decriminalise homosexuality drew criticism from Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious leaders. Swami Ramdev, a popular yoga guru, said it was a disease that could be cured by breathing exercises.

Last year, a professor was suspended from his university in the north Indian town of Aligarh after having been secretly filmed having sex with another man. The professor was later found dead at his home in an apparent suicide.

* Name has been changed

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