New Delhi, Nov.25 (ANI): Homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders took part in the Gay Pride Parade here on Sunday.
Legalising homosexuality has had little impact on the deeply entrenched homophobia in India, where thousands of gays still face discrimination and a lack of basic rights.
India's most prominent gay rights Anjali Gopalan was behind the change in India's colonial-era law which described homosexual lovemaking as 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature.'
In 2001, she filed a petition in the Delhi High Court calling for the law to be thrown out. Eight years later, the court overturned the statute in a landmark ruling hailed as a major victory by gay rights activists across the country.
For the participants the parade was an outlet to celebrate their sexual orientation. Dressed in bright colours, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender paraded in the National Capital showcasing banners and wearing masks.
"Every year in the last week of November we organise this Gay Pride Parade. The main purpose of organising this parade is to encourage people to come forward and talk about their rights. This is the sixth year and now we can see the difference that people are coming out and participating openly," said Vimal, an organiser of the Gay Pride Parade.
The beats of traditional Indian drums filled the parade with a mood of celebration and dance.
Several foreign nationals also took part in this Gay Pride parade.
"I am really proud to be here at the Delhi Pride Parade. I think it's really great that India is having this event and getting really proud," said, Sasha Cowen, an American.
India has moved faster than other countries in South Asia in legalising homosexuality, and there are more young people coming out. The country staged its first "Queer Pride Parade" in the capital in 2008, and has done so every year since.
But for most of the country's 2.5 million gays, social stigma is a daily reality. Many are unwilling to openly admit their sexual preferences and even forced to try reverse them.
Last year, the country's Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told a conference that homosexuality was "unnatural and a foreign disease."
This February, a senior government lawyer told the Supreme Court that gay sex was 'immoral' and 'spreads HIV'. (ANI)