PinkNews Awards 2018: Indian campaigners honoured after decriminalisation of gay sex

Campaigners who fought to decriminalise gay sex in India have been honoured with the Campaigner of the Year prize at the 2018 PinkNews Awards.

On September 6, the Indian Supreme Court struck down Section 377, a British colonial-era law banning gay sex. The ruling decriminalised homosexuality for the country’s population of 1.3 billion people.

The PinkNews Awards recognised the dedicated work of the Indian LGBT+ activists who brought the legal challenge to the law, and kept years of pressure on the political establishment to embrace reform.

Home Secretary Sajid David presents Indian-born campaigners Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar with the award for Campaigner of the Year at the 2018 PinkNews Awards (Paul Grace)

The Campaigner of the Year award was picked up on behalf of all the people involved in the legal case by Indian-born gay couple Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar.

The pair, who met in India, spoke about the landmark step towards equality in the country.

They said: “This goes to the thousands of the grassroots of campaigners across India, and the millions of people who suffered because of who they were.

“That suffering gave us the courage to say enough is enough, and we have to fight back. Thank you very much.”

Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar

The other shortlisted nominees were Carla Ecola, Frank Mugisha, Jason Jones and Peter Laverack, John O’Doherty, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Shon Faye, Vicky Beeching, and campaigners for marriage equality in Australia.

The ruling in India has had an impact in a number of other countries with British colonial anti-gay laws.

The precedent has already been cited in lawsuits in a number of other countries. Campaigners in Kenya and Jamaica are leading fresh challenges to their respective anti-gay laws.

The sixth annual PinkNews Awards ceremony was hosted at Church House in Westminster.

Speakers at the event included Home Secretary Sajid Javid, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Read more: The complete list of winners of the PinkNews Awards 2018

The PinkNews Awards is supported by Lloyds Banking Group.