New Delhi played host to hundreds of people dancing, singing and cheering in a gay pride parade this Sunday, the first such celebration since the country's top court reinstated a ban on gay sex in the world's largest democracy. Colourful balloons, masks and wigs, a huge rainbow flag and a St. Bernard dog ushered in the seventh Delhi Queer Pride parade, with many shaking a leg to drum beats. Participants were chanting "Azaadi" (freedom) and shouting slogans like "I'm gay, that's OK" and carried banners and placards demanding their right to love.
In December last year, the Supreme Court had quashed a 2009 ruling by the Delhi High Court that had decriminalized gay sex, saying only thje parliament had the power to repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which bans sex against the "order of nature". The British colonial law is widely interpreted to mean homosexual sex, and can be punished with up to 10 years of jail. Interestingly, the law itself is no longer operative in England, the country of its origin. But in India, the hangover still continues and many choose to hide their sexuality for fear of discrimination.
Some participants had little faith that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government would revoke Section 377, despite having a majority in Lok Sabha.