On February 2nd, 2019 over 15,000 people joined the Mumbai Gay Pride to celebrate the freedom of homosexuality. It was the first time after India’s Supreme Court decriminalized Section 377 in September 2018, a colonial law that declared gay sex to be illegal. The parade that started from Mumbai’s August Kranti Maidan – where Mahatma Gandhi began the Quit India Movement against the British occupation in 1942 – included 27 events to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community and educate people about it. We selected some of the most colorful and powerful pics of the gay pride event in India with more than 15,000 participants sharing the love and success of the openly queer event Mumbai Pride 2019 on Couple of Men.
by Sarah Tekath | Main Photo © QGraphy
‘Nobody was wearing masks to hide’ at Pride 2019
After the decriminalization of gay sex by the Indian Supreme Court in September 2018, members of the LGBTQ+ community – along with their families and friends – used the chance to celebrate their new freedom during Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride (Mumbai LGBTQ+ Pride 2019) on February 2nd, 2019. Without any fear of legal consequences (under Section 377 gay sex was punishable with prison up to ten years), the record attendance of 15,000 people celebrated the year’s theme ‘Pride for All’ without anybody wearing masks to hide their identity for the very first time. ‘‘Not only activists but everyone at the parade. They could say they were LGBTIQ+ without any fear’, co-organizer Ankit Bhuptani told Gay Star News.
Strong Support: Local Community & Straight Allies
Among the LGBTQ+ community members were also many local communities and straight allies to support the first Pride after the ruling out of Section 377. According to Bhuptani also doctors associations, teachers, colleges and education associations, Indian and multinational companies were there marching for Pride. Business Insider India pointed out numerous parents ‘who shun out stereotypes and walked with their children, fearless and free’. Part of the Pride were also 27 events to inform and educate people and raise awareness for the LGBT community.
LGBT Rights India: More battles to fight after Mumbai Pride
The fact that Mumbai Gay Pride did not face any hate crimes and that people no longer needed to conceal their identities in public are considerable success stories. But there are two more things India’s LGBTQ+ community will keep fighting for to finally achieve equality. The first will be an anti-discrimination law, especially for LGBT people. So far, the law in India protects religious minorities, for example. LGBTQ+ community members are not explicitly mentioned, though. Furthermore, the second battle will be to have the rights of transgender and intersex people recognized. During the Pride Event in Mumbai, Activist Harish Iyer commented: “We won Section 377. Regarding LGBTQ+ rights in India, it is only one battle won. There are more battles to be won. I don’t see why any right that is given to the heterosexual community should be denied to the homosexual community.”
Sarah & Karl & Daan.