India celebrates second annual Pride events since decriminalisation

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Two of India’s largest cities held Pride events this weekend, with organisers saying it was a chance to “rejoice that we are here and will always be here”.

The organisers of Bangalore Pride also said they hoped the country’s Supreme Court would uphold the 2009 ruling which determined that laws against homosexuality violated the constitution.

In a statement, they called for the state to provide public services to the LGBT community without discrimination, especially to the transgender community with regard to voter IDs, driving licenses, pensions and old-age homes.

One man who attended the New Delhi event was accompanied by his family.

His grandmother told Asian Age: “I am 67 years old and I have come down specially to support this cause. I don’t understand why our society is still so rigid and prejudiced against queers.

“If a person wants to be queer, that’s his or her right and they deserve equal treatment just like any of us.”

2000 people attended the event in New Delhi last year.

In July, India’s health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, caused uproar by referring to homosexuality as an unnatural “disease” from the west.

Also this summer, a lesbian couple were granted 24-hour police protection after family members allegedly threatened to kill them.

The women, named as Savita, 25, and Veena, 20, from Manesar, near New Delhi, married and went to a court to ask for protection. They were reportedly granted a safe house and full-time police protection.

Section 377 was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj, in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at the time.