India: Hundreds march in campaign to end LGBT discrimination

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Hundreds of gay rights activists marched through the streets of New Delhi recently in a demand to end LGBT stigmatisation and discrimination in India.

Associated Press reports there was a carnival-like atmosphere on Sunday, as activists sang songs and carried rainbow flags and balloons while they marched the beat of traditional Indian drums.

The demonstration comes four years after a colonial-era law criminalising same-sex sexual relationships was overturned.

Campaigners urged for an end to all forms of discrimination, as well as demanding that trans people be allowed to record their gender in the national census, voter identity cards, and other government documents.

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.

Earlier this year, the first ever gay candidate for general secretary at one of India’s leading universities called attention to LGBT discrimination on campus, including an incident where he was denied hostel accommodation because he was deemed too “effeminate.”

Also in September, in a letter to LGBT activist groups in India, the Archbishop of Mumbai has said he would advise priests to be more sensitive while referring to gay people in public sermons, affirming “to say those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong.”

In October, over a hundred people took part in Gujarat’s first ever gay pride march in the city of Surat.