India’s Gujarat state holds its first gay pride march

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Over a hundred people took part in Gujarat’s first ever gay pride march in the city of Surat on Sunday, although many of the marchers covered their faces with scarves and masks to hide their identity.

Organisers were granted permission by officials for the parade which saw people taking to the streets in colourful outfits and dancing to Bollywood music.

Organiser Swagat M Shah said that the main purpose of the event, scheduled to take place ahead of the 2014 Indian general election, was to make local politicians aware of Gujarat’s LGBT community and to let them know that they need to treat them as equals if they are to gain their votes.

Same-sex relationships were decriminalised in India in 2009 and gay people are slowly gaining acceptance in the country with pride parades held yearly in some cities, but being gay is still a taboo subject in much of India.