Bengaluru celebrates love and liberty after decriminalisation of Section 377 by Supreme Court
In the bright sunny Sunday afternoon on 9th December 2018, the members LGBTQ+ community of Bangalore celebrated the 11th year of Namma Pride March and Karnataka Queer Habba, organised by Namma Pride Organising team and CSMR (Coalition for Sex workers, Sexual & Sexuality Minorities’ Rights (CSMR), Bangalore.
It was also the first Namma Pride March, after the decriminalisation of section 377 of IPC, by Supreme Court of India on 6th September 2018. Members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends gathered at Tulsi Park and set off on their march till Town Hall. The march stared with the music of drums and cheering of the crowd. The happiness and vibrant colours of the rainbow could be seen and feel throw out the crowd marching towards the Town Hall. This was their first March as free, legal citizens of the country.
In the earlier years, Pride march has many themes as a sign of protest. Last year the theme was, “Be Proud and Be You.” This year has no theme as this year it was more of celebrating along with protest. Ayaan Sayed, LGBTQ+ Right Activist and member of Namma Pride Organising Committee said, “This year’s Namma Pride’s theme was the perfect blend of celebration and protest.”
While the music, dance, and laughter of the community members brighten the march with the energy of the march, there were also slogans shouted out by the happy faces.
“My body, my rights! 1, 2, 3, 4, Open up the closet door! 5, 6, 7, 8, don’t assume your kids are straight!” – were the slogans shouted out and cheered by the crowd.
Gautam Gayan, a student of Christ University said, “Namma Pride 2018 was my first pride after the decriminalisation of same-gender consensual reading down IPC section 377. This judgement was a landmark in Indian history and just it was the pride after 3777. I felt much more liberated and free as a human. The next step is of course towards legalisation and equal human rights. There is no going back and we shall keep fighting. India is changing I hope the mentality of the few Indians changes too.”
Rohan Susha Mathew, a student, and an activist said, “I’m glad that all of us finally have legal recognition, but am I really excited about the judgement? I don’t think so.
I’m happy that I’m legally no longer a criminal but I await the day I no longer feel like a criminal for being who I am.
So this is what pride stands for to me, visibility, celebration, and fight for justice. This is that one day where I get to shout out who I am along with my community and not fear the brunt of social ‘morality’.”
With all the cheering for the decriminalisation of section 377 and energy to fight against the social stigma, the Namma Pride crowd reached its destination, the Bangalore Town Hall.
It was an energy-filled day and match, where more than 3500 people joined the Namma Pride crowd. Not only people from Bangalore, but also from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and cities from Kerala had joined the march.